View on Amazon[Cross-posted from New Books in History] I have a friend who, as a young child, happened to meet Herbert Marcuse, by that time a rock-star intellectual and darling of the American student movement.
The Prime Minister recently criticised what he called 'state multiculturalism' and said it had failed, arguing that Britain needs a stronger national identity. Is it time to turn our backs on the multi-cultural idea? And what would a stronger national identity mean to people who feel at the cultural margins of our society? As the politicians debate, Laurie Taylor speaks to Britain's leading cultural theorist and sociologist, Stuart Hall. They discuss culture, politics, race and nation in a special edition of Thinking Allowed. (Worth spending 30mins to listen and learn).
It seems clear to me that philosophy is truly an unvoiced song, with the same feel for movement music has. Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations.
Rightly or wrongly, Deleuze has been labelled a snob for his high-brow taste in music, art and literature. For the most part, Deleuze depicts the popular as the undesirable other, or worse, an enormous homogenising machine depriving art of its place and value in contemporary society. 1 In this respect, at least, Deleuze is very much like Adorno, utterly modernist.
Yet I believe Deleuze's work, despite his personal taste, can account for the peculiar events and phenomena of popular culture if we can disentangle popular cultural texts and practices from the amorphous matrix of capitalism Deleuze identifies them with, and treat them with the same respect and affection he accords to Kafka's writing, for instance. This would amount to the discovery and articulation of a form of creativity unique to mass culture.
Rather than contrast art and popular culture, and rehearse a procedure Deleuze is known to have loathed, what needs to be found is a way of avoiding such distinctions altogether, something Deleuze himself made his life's work. His way out of dialectics was abstraction, or the discovery of the artistry of any text. This is particularly necessary in the case of popular music, because to many it is nothing but a giant exercise in money-making, and thereby completely devoid of aesthetic value. 2 In other words, it stands in need of abstraction.
While it may be true that Kafka never intended publishing his work, and can rightly be said to have written for himself not profit, it is nevertheless also true that he wrote from within a capitalist milieu. Kafka could not avoid thinking about capitalism, no matter how much he might have tried. The most important claim in the whole of Deleuze & Guattari's book on Kafka states Kafka was intrinsically anti-capitalist in his mode of writing. 3 What it does, which I cannot but find curious, is subordinate Kafka's writing to gesture, namely his refusal to publish; curious because it deforms the complexity of Kafka's response to his environment in a way that it is against the grain of Deleuze's thought.
To begin with, it makes the artist all but impervious to the vagaries of everyday life in a socio-historical sense, as though to say, not only did Kafka write for himself, but he also worked from within himself; this, in turn, allows Deleuze and Guattari to pursue the psycho-dynamic indices in Kafka's writing with the same relish and hermeneutic flexibility Freud enjoyed (and which they chide him for). In the end, this excision puts too much emphasis on the significance of capitalism and not enough on the relation between the writer and his world....
"« La démocratie est de ses mots qui s’écrivent au singulier, qui vont de soi et dont chacun a une idée », écrivent les auteurs au seuil d’une traversée passionnante et très documentée de tous les courants de la pensée antidémocratique ou seulement critique. Démocratie libérale, représentative, directe, participative, délibérative, bourgeoise ou populaire, les innombrables versions de ce régime politique disent assez sa congénitale polysémie, sa nature tout à la fois universelle et particulière dans ses applications concrètes. Le plus souvent accouplée à l’idée de Nation, non moins difficile à cerner, elle trouve dans cette redondance moderne – un peuple, une nation – la substance de ses incarnations."
The Sunni-Shia rivalry goes some way to explaining why the Arab Spring won successes in North Africa that it has not achieved east of Egypt. Each side has been led by religiously inspired states, Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have struggled for supremacy in the region for 30 years. Embattled regimes and their insurgent enemies automatically gain allies. The Assad government might be isolated, but not quite to degree that Muammar Gaddafi was before his fall. Iran will do almost anything to keep its most crucial ally in the Arab world in power. By the same token Iran's many enemies, unable to overthrow the government in Tehran, are determined to weaken it by changing the regime in Damascus.
Liquid Theory TV is a collaboration between Clare Birchall, Gary Hall and Peter Woodbridge designed to develop a series of IPTV programmes. (IPTV, in its broadest sense, stands for all those technologies which use computer networks to deliver audio-visual programming.) The idea behind the Liquid Theory TV project is to experiment with IPTVs potential for providing new ways of communicating intellectual ideas, easily and cheaply, both inside and outside of the university. We want to do so not so much in an effort to have an impact outside of the academy, be it economic, social or cultural; nor to connect with an increasingly media-literate audience that books supposedly cannot, or can no longer, reach. Rather we want to experiment with IPTV in order to explore the potential for different effectivities that different forms of communication have - to the extent of perhaps even leading us to conceive of what we do as academics, writers, artists, media theorists and philosophers differently (see Wise, 2006: 241).
The second episode in the series takes as its focus Gilles Deleuzes short essay Postscript on the Societies of Control. While this episode is being made available for the first time in an issue of Culture Machine which has the theme of creative media; and while Liquid Theory TV could be described as a creative project, to the extent it is concerned with producing alternative, rival, or counter-desires to those currently dominant within much of society (at its simplest, a desire for philosophy or more broadly theory, rather than for the creations of Richard Branson, Simon Cowell or Rupert Murdoch, say), this does not mean that either the series, or this particular episode, should be regarded simply as an attempt to perform Deleuzes philosophy. The critical and interpretive aspects of scholarly work remain important to us here, even if they are being undertaken in a medium very different to the traditional academic journal article or book.
Criminological research has historically been based on the study of men, boys and crime. As a result, the criminal justice system’s development of policies, programs, and treatment regimes was based on the male offender.
Je ne suis pas intellectuel, mais je faisais partie de ceux qui ont dénoncé avant qu'elle ne commence la campagne occidentale de Libye. Pour quelques raisons qui rejoignent celles exposées par cet essai mais également, je l'avoue, par d'autres raisons plus "historico-ataviques" ...voire des Français survoler et bombarder un pays du Maghreb, qu'ils avaient avec leurs collègues de coalition par ailleurs maintenus dans l'état où il était tant que cela servait leur intérêts, m'était assez insupportable.
Malik Berkati [MaB]
Tzvetan Todorov a été l'un des rares intellectuels à s'opposer à la guerre en Libye. Dans « les Ennemis intimes de la démocratie », à paraître le 23 janvier, il expose les raisons philosophiques de son opposition au droit d'ingérence.
La guerre de Libye a détruit trente années de clivages au sein de l'intelligentsia française. Le consensus a été total : le raid sur Benghazi devait prétendument racheter les lâchetés de Munich et de Kigali. Brusquement, Hubert Védrine était d'accord avec André Glucksmann et Jean-Pierre Chevènement, avec Pierre Lellouche : il fallait envoyer notre armée de l'autre côté de la Méditerranée pour empêcher un tyran de massacrer son peuple, « protéger les populations civiles libyennes » et, au passage, implanter dans le désert la démocratie. Qui pouvait se mettre en travers d'un objectif aussi noble ? Qui ? Avec l'ancien président de Médecins sans frontières Rony Brauman, Tzvetan Todorov a été l'un des seuls à semer le doute sur l'efficacité de l'opération. Neuf mois plus tard, le philosophe n'a pas changé d'avis et a même élargi sa réflexion. Venu en France à l'âge de 24 ans pour échapper aux pratiques liberticides de sa Bulgarie natale, il constate aujourd'hui que le néolibéralisme a plus de points communs que prévu avec le communisme (réel, en tout cas, mais en existe-t-il un autre ?) : comme lui, le néolibéralisme est plus vulnérable vis-à-vis de ses ennemis intérieurs que des menaces extérieures, qui n'existent plus ou presque plus.
Qui sont donc ces ennemis intimes de la démocratie pointés par Todorov ? Le premier est le « messianisme politique » qui prendrait sa source en Occident chez un prêcheur du Ve siècle, Pélage, considéré comme un hérétique par l'Eglise de son temps. L'erreur de celui-là ? Penser que Dieu ne forge pas la destinée tout entière des hommes et que tout ce qui arrive sur Terre résulte aussi de leur volonté et de leur action. Pélage serait ainsi l'ancêtre de Descartes et des philosophes des Lumières qui inspireront, bien des siècles plus tard, la Révolution française. On sait de quelle façon celle-là chercha à s'exporter, via les guerres napoléoniennes, et Todorov rappelle utilement une phrase de Saint-Just aux connotations très actuelles : « Le peuple français vote la liberté du monde.» De là à penser qu'elle est au bout des baïonnettes... « Les grands traits du messianisme politique, écrit Todorov, se mettent en place : programme généreux, répartition asymétrique des rôles, sujet actif d'un côté, bénéficiaire passif de l'autre — dont on ne demande pas l'avis —, moyens militaires mis au service du projet. »
Le projet communiste reprend le flambeau, il devient au XXe siècle l'incarnation du progrès humain en marche, le sens de l'histoire. La mort de Staline entame son déclin, achevé avec la chute du mur de Berlin. Dès lors, la victoire de la démocratie libérale inspire un nouveau paradigme dont Todorov nous montre à quel point il est en continuité avec les logiques impériales-révolutionnaires et communistes. Désormais, la démocratie entend imposer ses lumières au monde entier, y compris par la force. Au fond, le Kouchner qui invente le droit d'ingérence est moins différent qu'on ne l'imagine du Kouchner jeune rédacteur en chef du journal communiste Clarté. Les deux croient que des hommes peuvent, par leur action, précipiter la marche de l'humanité vers le bien.
Est-il possible de rassembler dans la même perspective théorique et méthodologique, d’un côté, l’analyse du discours centrée autour de la production, de la diffusion et de la circulation d’un ensemble anonyme et impersonnel d’énoncés et, de...
Coming together against far-right groups, Scots have marched to condemn rightists' rhetoric against Muslims and attempts to capitalize on rage against a film defaming Prophet Muhammad to simmer racial tensions. "People are here today to show that the streets of Edinburgh belong to all our diverse communities, and that these communities help keep our cities vibrant," Luke Henderson, coordinator for Unite Against Fascism, told Scotland Herald.
Sweeney defines 'three types of nationalism: state, civic and ethnic; 'ethnic nationalists' who stress culture and descent, 'civic nationalists' who stress culture and territory but not descent, 'state nationalism' which asserts the dominance of a...
"At its very worst, nationalism can be the attempted extermination of a minority. So, let’s be aware, let’s be very aware, that this is the power that identity has over us.
...with fascism, the national identity is all too easily mythologized, frozen historically and idealised; it is imagined as being passed on by elders of the community, while in reality, in fascist states it is churned out as indoctrination from government committees sitting on high and charged with maintaining ‘culture’. This is somewhat removed from a real cultural identity, which is by contrast changing, diverse, typically shaped at the grass roots and constantly being challenged from within.
Fascism has the paranoid habit of declaring (violent) war on everything that is not itself.
Racism is the belief in the superiority of one racial, ethnic or cultural grouping above all others. Though few people believe this implicitly, racism nevertheless plays out in overt ways such as the reasoning that indigenous people (usually the majority and usually not the first indigenous group) deserve better protection and service from the state. This kind of racism is always blind to its discrimination, instead arguing, like nationalists and fascists, that their rights of entitlement arise simply from ‘belonging to the family’.
People are generally cognizant of the fact that the competition is a game. Some, however, appear not to have been let in on the act.
Racism as an ideological position chooses to ignore competition and diversity within its own nation’s walls and rather argues that one race, culture or ethnicity is somehow intrinsically better than another. As with fascism and nationalism, identity is considered to be fixed, historical, given and inherently good. It seeks to install one national/ethnic grouping into the permanent role of ‘winners’ in relation to all others, not because they succeed through merit or through citizenship rights, but rather, by right of birth into a very specific family grouping. And such a cultural identity is so strong that in countries where institutional racism is rampant it must nevertheless be constantly maintained, through classroom indoctrination, through controlled or self-censored media, and through a vehement opposition to anyone who would dare to question such natural entitlements.
The links between racism, nationalism, fascism and populism should be obvious. They each feed off each other and the common theme of ‘them and us’, with its various degrees of hostility towards the ‘us’, ranging from mild to severe."
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