petej + society   135

Corbyn is chiming with the times. But no one can predict anything any more | John Harris | Opinion | The Guardian
We will remember this summer for the rest of our lives. It is starting to feel like a whole decade compacted into mere weeks: despair followed by joy followed by yet more despair, while political certainties that recently seemed rock solid suddenly fall away.

After 10 years of pain, austerity might just be in retreat. The idea of England and Wales as some monochrome expanse, full of nostalgia and nastiness and people content to watch as their social fabric is serially wrecked, has been drastically weakened. The horrors at Grenfell Tower are obviously part of the same moment: a hesitant national awakening in which a sense of dread and worry about where we are headed has been intensified by a sudden realisation about the country we have become.
UK  politics  economics  society  austerity  generalElection  ge2017  LabourParty  CorbynJeremy  GrenfellTower  Corbynism 
june 2017 by petej
Lynsey Hanley: how I became middle class | Books | The Guardian
"’ve spent my working life looking at the ways people are kept apart, and keep themselves apart, by the methods we use to sustain class in society. I have tried to show the impact of class segregation, through housing and schooling, on minds and relationships that are being formed. I want to illustrate the shortcomings of a political narrative that places the onus for social mobility – for “getting out” of the working class and into the middle class – on individuals, rather than making it possible for everyone, regardless of occupation, to live comfortably. Governments of every stripe encourage individuals to move upwards, to change their class, to trade up, while never acknowledging the emotional costs of doing so. I can only speak in this way because I have been through this process myself. I have undertaken that risky, lonely journey from one class to another, and every day I feel a mixture of gratitude and elation to have had the chance to do so, because it has given me the life I have now.I am grateful to my parents for giving me a level of confidence in myself and my abilities that they didn’t always have in themselves. I feel elated because I somehow got to the other side, to the place where life is easier, in one piece. But what about those who try, and don’t?

Or those who, rightly, don’t see why they have to choose sides in the first place? Until we recognise the psychological impact of class, social mobility will always be double-edged. Learning, art and culture can be catalysts for forging connections between the classes. They can be used to unite as well as to divide, to liberate as well as to limit, but only if we are included, and have the confidence to include ourselves, in their creation."
UK  society  class  childhood  schools  music  PetShopBoys  workingClass  middleClass  socialMobility 
july 2016 by petej
Everyone I know is brokenhearted. | Zenarchery
"But the reality is that the three generations who ended the 20th century, the Boomers, their Generation X children, and Generation Y, have architected a Western civilization that’s kind of a shit show."

"Everything they told you about how to live in the world when you were a kid is a lie. Education doesn’t matter, not even on paper. Being ethical doesn’t matter. Being a good person doesn’t matter. What matters now is that you’re endlessly capable of the hustle, of bringing in that long green, of being entertaining to enough people that somebody will want to give you money or fuck you or fund your startup. We’re all sharks now; if we stop swimming for just a little too long, we die. We lose followers. We’re lame. We’re not worth funding, or fucking. Because all that matters is the endless churn, the endless parade, the endless cycle of buying and trying to sell and being bought and sold by people who tell you that they’re your friends, man, not like those others. "

" I do think rage is a component that’s necessary here: a final fundamental fed-up-ness with the bullshit and an unwillingness to give any more ground to the things that are doing us in. To stop being reasonable. To stop being well-behaved. Not to hate those who are hurting us with their greed and psychopathic self-interest, but to simply stop letting them do it."
USA  culture  society  politics  technology  Internet  postFordism  capitalism  consumerism  work  labour  alienation  subsumption  despair 
august 2014 by petej
James C. Scott reviews ‘The World until Yesterday’ by Jared Diamond · LRB 21 November 2013
"There is plenty of violence in the world of hunter-gatherers, though it is hardly illuminated by resorting to statistical comparisons between the mortality rates of a tiny tribal war in Kalimantan and the Battle of the Somme or the Holocaust. This violence, however, is almost entirely a state-effect. It simply cannot be understood historically from 4000 BC forward apart from the appetite of states for trade goods, slaves and precious ores, any more than the contemporary threat to remote indigenous groups can be understood apart from the appetite of capitalism and the modern state for rare minerals, hydroelectric sites, plantation crops and timber on the lands of these peoples. Papua New Guinea is today the scene of a particularly violent race for minerals, aided by states and their militias and, as Stuart Kirsch’s Mining Capitalism shows, its indigenous politics can be understood only in this context. Contemporary hunter-gatherer life can tell us a great deal about the world of states and empires but it can tell us nothing at all about our prehistory. We have virtually no credible evidence about the world until yesterday and, until we do, the only defensible intellectual position is to shut up."
book  review  DiamondJared  anthropology  hunter-gatherers  society  culture  state  history  violence  dctagged  dc:creator=ScottJames  LRB 
november 2013 by petej
6 reasons radicals might find party politics helpful | Bright Green
"Finally, and perhaps most importantly, canvassing is how I charge up my belief in human goodness. We live in a world where adverts and newspapers attempt to divide us. Capitalist realism – the doctrine that there is no alternative – depends on the trope of the lonely left winger. We are forever persuaded to believe that people are the tabloids they read: selfish and cruel and, most of all, right wing.
You only need to knock on the doors down any street in the country I have ever visited to discover that this is a lie. People are awesome. And kind. And funny. And on many issues – many of the most important issues – they are significantly more left wing than the mainstream would ever let on. On other issues – such as immigration – people have been persuaded by reactionaries. But they are remarkably easy to sway: they wish, most of all, to be kind. Humans are instinctively solidaristic. Nudge them onto an explanatory track along which they can be, and they will be. Or that’s my experience."
politics  TheLeft  UK  activism  canvassing  communication  culture  society  dctagged  dc:creator=RamsayAdam 
november 2013 by petej
The self is not a territory | Marginal Utility Annex
"The social backdrop for our individuality limits the potential self we can become; it opens up a bounded field in which identity can play. That concept of individuation nullifies the premise that we can become whatever we want to be with “hard work,” as if luck and privilege don’t play into shaping the scope of opportunity. It also ideally opens up a different conception of what human thriving looks like: rather than a deepening of the soul, a territorial expansion of some inner field of being; it may be a richer network made of bonds of respect and empathy. Social media networks offer the increased density of connection, but the individualist attitudes we carry into them — about the importance of personal reputation and growing our brand — arguably corrupt our usage of them (along with the commercial intentions of the platforms’ designers and owners), subtracting “respect” from the linkages they foster.

Another way of saying that is there is no “private self” — the self doesn’t exist in private. It has no meaning in social isolation. The self only coheres in attempts to communicate. It only appears through processes, practices. Trying to form a self in private is like trying to invent a language no one else can speak. It’s not really a language anymore."
privacy  identity  control  technology  surveillance  society  socialMedia  relationships 
november 2013 by petej
LENIN'S TOMB: Myths of class
The emphasis on culture in this sense, that is on status, is what distinguishes these official classifications from the marxist explanation of class as a relationship to the means of production. The census wording later explained that what was important about occupational groupings was "the general standing within the community of the occupations concerned" - that is, their status and their cultural prestige.

Building on the official conceptions of social class, sociologists also concerned themselves primarily with class-as-status, either in the sense of esteem, or in the sense of lifestyle. In this treatment, class is not only a descriptive (as opposed to explanatory) category, it is also static (as opposed to fluid and antagonistic). Nichols argued: "in so far as it concerns itself with hierarchic notions of social stratification (something which, incidentally, ties in with the stress on social mobility and studies of the recruitment to elites), it does not treat class relations as historical forces of explanatory power. Sociology gives us ‘social class’ in plenty, but along with political parties, race/ethnicity and various status rankings (for instance those based on educational qualification)—in fact it gives us many potential and actual bases of power, without the prior situation of these into class relations."
class  socialClass  culture  society  lifestyle  sociology  dctagged  dc:creator=SeymourRichard 
april 2013 by petej
New Left Project | NLP Blog | The BBC class calculator: “Like they left some Bourdieu out in the sun and it went off”
"Bourdieu offered us these symbolic capitals to look at the way social inequalities were expressed, established, exchanged, maintained, replicated and accumulated even in places where money didn’t seem to be a dominant force. In comparison, this new study seems to use them very passively to describe, almost using the focus on culture to obscure economic differences. As one of those social and emerging cultural capital expressing Twitter users put it: “it's like they left some Bourdieu out in the sun and it went off”."
class  socialClass  symbolicCapital  culturalCapital  Bourdieu  UK  society 
april 2013 by petej
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