juliusbeezer + theory   110

Sociology as the post-truth science
My own way of dividing the ‘truthers’ and the ‘post-truthers’ is in terms of whether one plays by the rules of the current knowledge game or one tries to change the rules of the game to one’s advantage. Unlike the truthers, who play by the current rules, the post-truthers want to change the rules. They believe that what passes for truth is relative to the knowledge game one is playing, which means that depending on the game being played, certain parties are advantaged over others. Post-truth in this sense is a recognisably social constructivist position, and many of the arguments deployed to advance ‘alternative facts’ and ‘alternative science’ nowadays betray those origins.
sociology  agnotology  media  science  theory 
11 weeks ago by juliusbeezer
An Oasis of Horror in an Internet of Boredom | Angela Nagle
Chan culture became what you might call the unwanted gift, a twist on Mauss’s The Gift that early Internet theorists used as a central metaphor for the non-instrumental culture of sharing that it nurtured. In The Revolution of Everyday Life by the Situationist thinker Raoul Vaneigem, Mauss’s principle of the gift, originally used to describe reciprocal gift-giving systems in pre-modern societies, was celebrated on the grounds that only the purity of motiveless destruction or ruinous generosity can transcend instrumentalism. The Situationists’ critique of “the poverty of every day life,” like Baudelaire’s “An oasis of horror in a desert of boredom,” articulated a common sentiment—found from the Romantics through to contemporary online cultures of transgression—that ennui, boredom, and inertia requires a counterforce of extreme transgression. But while the Situationists had a better world in their hearts, the nihilistic application of the transgressive style already took shape in the sixties counterculture. “The Manson murders,” Reynolds and Press argue in their book The Sex Revolts, “were the logical culmination of throwing off the shackles of conscience and consciousness, the grim flowering of the id’s voodoo energies.”
theory  politics  philosophy  transgression 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
The New Man of 4chan | Angela Nagle
On men’s rights sites and in some geeky subcultures, “beta male” is a common term of identification, one of both belonging and self-mockery. It has become a popular meme on 4chan’s recreationally obnoxious /b/ board, a precursor to /r9k/ that produced hacker collectives such as Anonymous while also incubating scores of anti-feminist online attacks in recent years. Know Your Meme records the earliest use of the term “beta uprising” in 2011, on the men’s rights movement blog Fight for Justice. From around 2013, the beta-male uprising was a regular topic among 4chan users...
In response to the attacks, Sierra closed down her blog and withdrew from speaking engagements and public life. In the time since the attack, weev has since become famous for hacking a phone company—a maneuver that triggered a Twitter-based #freeweev campaign, which gained support from prominent progressive endorsers such as Laurie Penny and Gabriella Coleman. Embarrassingly for those who expressed the view, fashionable in the heyday of the Occupy movement, that 4chan/b/ is a “counter-hegemonic space” and that trolls in the 4chan/b/ vein are, as Coleman argued, inheritors of the Dadaist and Situationist traditions, weev is a fascist sympathizer with a swastika tattoo on his chest. Penny claimed to be unaware of his far-right views, while Coleman not only continues to defend his rights as a hacker, but also presents him as an endearingly impish figure in her latest book.
politics  racism  theory  feminism  internet  transgression 
august 2017 by juliusbeezer
1995: The Year the Future Began, or Multimedia as the Vanishing Point of the Net | transmediale
Returning to 1995 with a more nuanced perspective than that of Campbell, that year also marks a point in time that is very much defined by what Wendy M. Grossman called the “net.wars” in her 1997 book of the same name, which chronicled different struggles between control and freedom in the early days of (inter-)networked mass communication (concentrating on the early to mid-1990s). In those years, many of the digital culture debates that are taking place today on a global scale and in the wider public sphere, through mainstream politics and media outlets, were just being established. These concerned, for example, intellectual property, privacy, data collection, and online social behavior. Such topics were initially discussed mostly within a Euro-American discourse, with a bias toward the US euphoria about the endless transgressive possibilities of our virtual lives in cyberspace, as well as the promises of global entrepreneurial freedom on what the Clinton/Gore administra­tion famously referred to as the “information superhighway.” It would be all too easy, however, to present the 1990s as the years of digital euphoria and the dot-com bust that followed as a shift from utopia to dystopia. More reflective and critical voices on the topic were certainly also there in the mid 1990s
internet  theory  history  media 
july 2017 by juliusbeezer
'Strong and stable leadership!' Could Theresa May's rhetorical carpet-bombing backfire? | Politics | The Guardian
A good reason for the continued omnipresence of “strong and stable” is that most people in the country are yet to hear it. A YouGov poll last week suggested that only 15% of the public are familiar with the phrase, and that “the message has yet to cut through to everyday people”. This viral gobbet of persuasion is not, obviously, aimed at sophisticated politics junkies, but at the average voter who thinks about politics for only four minutes a week (according to Jim Messina, who managed Barack Obama’s campaign and is now reportedly working for May). If you want to make sure your message squeezes in to those four minutes, you had better make sure it is totally unavoidable.
politics  uk  reception  attention  theory 
may 2017 by juliusbeezer
The Courage of Hopelessness by Slavoj Žižek review – how the big hairy Marxist would change the world | Books | The Guardian
But The Courage of Hopelessness is also a pratfall staged at the end of Barack Obama’s underwhelming multicultural road show; for, inasmuch as he demands to be taken seriously, Žižek does so with his trousers down, and in the guise of a farceur. Yes! Life’s too short to read superannuated Marxists, especially those whose theoretical toolkit deploys the left-handed dialectical spanner and the right-handed Freudian screwdriver (with some “Lacanian” modifications) at one and the same time. At least it would be, if it weren’t for the jokes – and the comic timing.
zizek  theory  politics 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Perspective: It’s Not a War on Science | Issues in Science and Technology
a warning not to confuse political strategy with winning a war. Winning requires true understanding of your opponents, their resources and capabilities, and especially their motives and objectives.

What appears to be a war on science by the current Congress and president is, in fact, no such thing. Fundamentally, it is a war on government. To be more specific, it is a war on a form of government with which science has become deeply aligned and allied over the past century. To the disparate wings of the conservative movement that believe that US strength lies in its economic freedoms, its individual liberties, and its business enterprises, one truth binds them all: the federal government has become far too powerful.

Science is, for today’s conservatives, an instrument of federal power. They attack science’s forms of truth-making, its databases, and its budgets not out of a rejection of either science or truth, but as part of a coherent strategy to weaken the power of the federal agencies that rely on them. Put simply, they war on science to sap the legitimacy of the federal government. Mistaking this for a war on science could lead to bad tactics, bad strategy, and potentially disastrous outcomes for both science and democracy.
science  philosophy  politics  us  theory 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Openness as social praxis | Smith | First Monday
Open source. Open access. Open society. Open knowledge. Open government. Even open food. Until quite recently, the word “open” had a fairly constant meaning. The over-use of the word “open” has led to its meaning becoming increasingly ambiguous. This presents a critical problem for this important word, as ambiguity leads to misinterpretation.

This paper builds on their argument, and offers an alternative approach to understanding the multiple meanings of open. We argue that the starting point for attempting to disambiguate openness is inherently problematic. This is because the majority of uses of open refer to open artefacts (or things), such as open data or open knowledge. These artefacts [1] have specific characteristics that make them open. For our alternative approach, we argue that it is more useful to conceptualize openness as social praxis — the act of doing or instantiating theory in action, which manifests as processes and practices [2]. We propose that openness as social praxis can be broken down into three processes: open production, open distribution, and open consumption. Each process shares two traits that make them open: you don’t have to pay (free price), and anyone can participate (non-discrimination) in these processes.

We argue that the social praxis approach helps to tackle a variety of problems that result from the current attempts to define openness. In particular, we show how it allows for a more bottom-up, context-sensitive understanding of openness, rather than top-down definitions that may or may not apply in different arenas. Furthermore, we also argue that openness as social praxis points to practice-specific theory which we believe helps build generalizable knowledge on what works (or not), for whom, and in what contexts.
open  theory 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Seeking Spatial Justice — University of Minnesota Press
An innovative new way of understanding and changing the unjust geographies in which we live

In Seeking Spatial Justice, Edward W. Soja argues that justice has a geography and that the equitable distribution of resources, services, and access is a basic human right. Building on current concerns in critical geography and the new spatial consciousness, Soja interweaves theory and practice, offering new ways of understanding and changing the unjust geographies in which we live.
theory  geography  justice 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Appel à contributions (n° 35) : Infrastructures – Tracés
Axe 1 : Épistémologie des infrastructures

Quels théories et cadres d’analyse pour l’objet politique que constituent les infrastructures techniques ? Ce premier axe invite tout d’abord à réfléchir sur les infrastructures en tant qu’objet de recherche pour les sciences humaines et sociales, et en particulier la manière dont leurs effets structurels sont étudiés ou au contraire mis à distance ou encore tout simplement oubliés.
pqpc  writing  geography  theory 
april 2017 by juliusbeezer
Vincent Goulet, Médias et classes populaires. Les usages ordinaires des informations
Sa contribution, issue d’une thèse de sociologie préparée sous la direction de Patrick Champagne et saluée par le Prix de la recherche 2009 de l’Inathèque de France, est triplement innovante. D’abord, une approche des médias par les usages, qui met en oeuvre une démarche rarement pratiquée en France, l’étude de réception : l’auteur se donne alors les moyens d’éviter un « médiacentrisme » très commun qui, axé sur les seuls producteurs et productions, en infère des effets...
L’ouvrage structuré en trois parties (« Sociabilités populaires et circulations des informations » ; « Les fonctions sociales et identitaires des informations » ; « Construction du jugement et compétence politique populaires ») fait voyager le lecteur des lieux et pratiques de sociabilité populaire, vers les usages sociaux, et notamment identitaires des informations, pour aboutir aux productions et appropriations populaires des informations médiatiques, notamment politiques. Ce riche tableau de la culture médiatique populaire ouvre de nombreuses pistes de réflexion. On peut, à titre d’exemples, en retenir trois qui se présentent comme autant de réfutations de lieux communs sur les pratiques médiatiques et populaires, et contribuent salutairement à renouveler la sociologie des médias, la sociologie du populaire et la sociologie politique.
sociology  media  reading  theory  hermeneutics  réception 
february 2017 by juliusbeezer
Parkinson’s Law | Academic Irregularities
You feel for the students as they must now wonder what contempt was suppressed behind the Chancellor’s cap doffing at their degree ceremonies, because in the Daily Mail on 25th November 2016, under the perennial slur ‘Mickey Mouse media degrees are a waste of time’, Parkinson is quoted in an interview ‘They have them at Nottingham Trent [and] it seems to me that a lot of young people do it as they see it as a way of getting onto shows like I’m A Celebrity. They want to be famous. They are convinced by things like I’m A Celebrity and that is their idea of fame – that instant fame that makes you a hero on the internet”...
There is another type of media studies degree, though, that vice-chancellors are not so ready to defend, and have been rather fond of closing down. These are degrees which might once have formed a strand in an English degree, but in the 1980s fielded independent degrees housed in departments of cultural studies. These became a home for literary scholars, historians, modern linguists, sociologists, philosophers, ethnographers, social psychologists, and social geographers. To start with it was a peculiarly British development, but quickly attracted a large number of influential scholars from across the globe...
There has been enormously significant cultural ‘turn’ in the world of humanities scholarship. The discipline offers students a methodology of decoding texts, including visual texts, and the signs, beliefs, myths, narratives, structures and institutions which coalesce into ‘culture’. It has spawned postcolonial studies, subaltern studies, postmodernism, gender and queer theory – all no doubt disapproved of by the Daily Mail, but nevertheless productive paradigms of enquiry.
media  education  theory 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
The surprising origins of 'post-truth' – and how it was spawned by the liberal left
More than 30 years ago, academics started to discredit “truth” as one of the “grand narratives” which clever people could no longer bring themselves to believe in. Instead of “the truth”, which was to be rejected as naïve and/or repressive, a new intellectual orthodoxy permitted only “truths” – always plural, frequently personalised, inevitably relativised.

Under the terms of this outlook, all claims on truth are relative to the particular person making them; there is no position outside our own particulars from which to establish universal truth. This was one of the key tenets of postmodernism, a concept which first caught on in the 1980s after publication of Jean-Francois Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report On Knowledge in 1979. In this respect, for as long as we have been postmodern, we have been setting the scene for a “post-truth” era.
theory  politics  language 
november 2016 by juliusbeezer
Books about translation and writing | Thoughts On Translation
If you were to ask me to recommend only one book to those embarking on professional translation, it would be Brian Mossop’s ‘Editing and revising for translators’. Its concise discussion of revising translations cuts directly to the heart of the issue of what constitutes an acceptable translation. And what does not.

Honourable runners-up: Chesterman and Wagner’s Socratic dialogue ‘Can theory help translators?’ puts translation theory in its place; Hofstader’s ‘Le Ton Beau de Marot’ is a wonderful, playful exposition of creativity and variation in translation.

What did I actually read first? Impatient, Newmark’s aphoristic ‘Paragraphs on translation’.
translation  theory  dccomment 
october 2016 by juliusbeezer
Peter E. Gordon — The Authoritarian Personality Revisited: Reading Adorno in the Age of Trump | boundary 2
Just a few months ago, in mid-January, 2016, the online magazine Politico published a report with the title: “One Weird Trait that Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter.”

If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated? You’d be wrong. In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism. That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations...
And yet it seems fair to say that the very notion of an authoritarian personality or character worked against sociological explanation, discouraging an account of individual human psychology as a social artifact. Instead of enforcing a dialectical image of the relation between the psychological and the social, it tended to reify the psychological as the antecedent condition, thereby diminishing what was for critical theory a sine qua non for all interdisciplinary labor joining sociology to psychoanalysis. The recent work by MacWilliams (which reflects formidable research effort and should not be lightly dismissed) would appear to reflect this understanding of psychology as the prior explanatory variable because of the way it tries to isolate “authoritarianism,” as if it were a stable category for sociological analysis prior to other affiliations or identifying social factors...
It should not surprise us that the collaborative research team did not include these remarks in the published text of The Authoritarian Personality. For if Adorno was right, then the very notion of individual psychology had to be treated with deepest skepticism. Even psychoanalysis in his view promoted the model of an integrated and separable personality, but while this expressed the sociological truth of the nineteenth century bourgeoisie it was no longer adequate for understanding the dynamics of a fully integrated modern social order. In this respect even psychoanalysis was objectively false and, in cleaving to a model of autonomous depth, it was ideological in the technical sense.
philosophy  sociology  psychology  politics  theory  authoritarianism 
september 2016 by juliusbeezer
Melania Trump was just being creative: The case for plagiarism, from a celebrated poet who made a career out of it — Quartz
by using other people’s words, I’m able to deconstruct everything from authorship to media. And I’ve never even come close to being sued. Instead, these gestures foreground appropriation as a critical strategy—but I always admit this strategy from the outset. When you admit plagiarism, you unleash a series of complex questions that render simple binaries of right versus wrong, or good versus bad, inadequate.
goldsmith  copying  philosophy  theory 
july 2016 by juliusbeezer
metahaven - The Cloud, the State, and the Stack: Metahaven in...
To a degree the “City” chapter of The Stack works to suspend and unwind this distinction between the walled and the continuous.
I discuss how common infrastructure provides common citizenship. The notion of civis romanus sum, where the being inside the city was the condition of membership. The wall provides interiority and dwelling, and it can be physical or virtual. It can be a concrete barrier or an interface or a living skin. Mobile networks link one site to the other and let some people walk right through walls, and others right into new ones. Those networks substitute for “the wall” and also provide for new kinds of continuity and connection, or discontinuity and segregation. It is augmented by these non-linear links and gateways, as described by Deleuze’s late essay, Postscript on the Societies of Control. I would not say that this suggests the end of distinct polities, because there may well prove to be many more ways to subdivide the superimpositions of real and virtual walls, real and virtual continuities.
internet  theory 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Digital Revision | Electronic Book Review
Approaching the work of François Laruelle is a singularly disorientating experience. Billed in marketing blurbs and encyclopedia entries as a “philosopher,” Laruelle is difficult to place. Clearly indebted to the post-structuralist movement, with the verbal tics that run (through) his writing, but likewise also descended from (quasi-Althusserian) Marx, the most common characterization of his work is as “non-philosophy.” While this may summon images of Wittgenstein exhorting his readers to stop doing philosophy, Laruelle is of an entirely different breed, closer to Deleuze and his post-dialectical strain than any school of language philosophy, somehow clustered with Spinoza and the legacy of immanence, on the side of materialism but perhaps radically against empiricism.

Relatively unknown in Anglophone spheres at present and with English translations only recently surfacing, some have little time for his work. The same accusations of linguistic trickery and unsubstantiated claims that were leveled at Derrida (and even Deleuze) are to be found among the critics, with the less generous seeing the ultra-meta nature of Laruelle’s writing as “incomprehensible gobbledegook” (Brassier 2003, p.33)...

Bold and dangerously dense, the reader should be forewarned that Galloway’s book is not designed as an “introduction to Laruelle” and demands that the reader be pre-versed in much of its terminology. For those new to Laruelle’s thought, Galloway’s volume oscillates between summary passages and obtuse aphorism. It is not uncommon, for instance, to encounter sentences that, to the unversed, make little sense and seem predicated on a useless epistemology: “Laruellian objects are in fact black monads, smooth globes of an almost infinite flimsiness..."
theory  language  philosophy  attention  translation  funny  fren 
january 2016 by juliusbeezer
Traduisible/Intraduisible ? - Nonfiction.fr le portail des livres et des idées
Il participe de ce qu’on appelle désormais les translation studies, si on accepte de comprendre que les chercheurs ne s’y consacrent plus aux seules questions de fidélité linguistique et textuelle à l’original (avec ses idéaux d’adéquation, de commensurabilité, d’isomorphisme et de similitude), mais mettent, par exemple, l’accent sur les erreurs de traduction en temps de guerre, sur le rôle des conflits linguistiques et littéraires dans la formation du canon rhétorique, sur l’enjeu esthétique des expérimentations linguistiques qui s’écartent de l’usage standard de la langue. En un mot, comment prendre acte sérieusement des défaillances incontestables de la traduction, sans se réfugier dans le silence ou le monolinguisme ? ... Ces travaux nous introduisent à une question centrale : il ne suffit pas de déplorer l’hégémonie du global english, il faut tenir compte sérieusement de la manière dont d’autres langues de portée mondiale sont en train de modifier l’équilibre des forces dans la production de la culture mondiale...
... Il y est question des guerres linguistiques qui déterminent les politiques de traduction dans les médias, le marché littéraire et sur Internet, de la même manière qu’Ismaïl Kadaré écrit : « La guerre entre les langues n’est pas moins tragique que la guerre entre les hommes. » Autrement dit, le champ des translation studies s’est largement étendu : gestion du renseignement en temps de guerre, situation des langues minoritaires au sein des cultures d’État, controverses autour des « autres anglais », la traduction dans la diffusion et la préservation de l’héritage culturel, l’élargissement de la réception de quelques auteurs privilégiés dans les langues dominantes, la disparition des langues, ainsi que le risque toujours pris de fétichiser les langues patrimoniales à la faveur d’une politique de conservation...
Pourquoi des « zones » de traduction, ce concept central d’un ouvrage qui n’est pas aisément abordable sans de nombreuses connaissances littéraires, sinon pour désigner le seuil idéal de communication d’une communauté de locuteurs, sans doute en référence à l’utopie linguistique de Leibniz (un chiffre universel ?), voire de Humboldt ou de Habermas ? Souvenir, non moins important, d’un poème de Guillaume Apollinaire, la « zone » est un territoire psychogéographique où convergent le plus souvent des langues différentes
translation  theory  français 
december 2015 by juliusbeezer
Response to Controversy: Sam Harris
secular scholars refuse to take it at face value; they always look for the “deeper” reasons—economic, political, or personal—behind it. However, when given economic, political, or personal motives (e.g. “I did it because they stole my family’s land, and I felt totally hopeless.”), these researchers always seem to take a person at his word. They never dig for the religious motive behind apparently terrestrial concerns.
religion  theory  scholarly  us  politics  torture 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
Irish Left Review | At the Blunt Edge of a Cosh: Police Violence & The Student Protests
Homogeneity is to be distinguished from heterogeneity. Where the former is focused around a certain common law or measure under which all are commensurable, the latter is bipolar – combining both repulsion and compulsion. ‘[Heterogeneity] encompasses everything that is unproductive, irrational, incommensurable, unstructured, unpredictable, and wasteful.’ (Goldhammer, p169) Politically, heterogeneity is associated with the disordered, the violent and that which is subject to taboo. Thus, where the rule of law and capitalist forms rely on the possibility of common measure or homogenous order, the heterogeneous is disordered by nature. Importantly for us here, police violence, the ad hoc violence of the fascist mob or revolutionary violence are all heterogeneous. Bataille divides the heterogeneous into two: the imperative and the subversive. The imperative or sovereign heterogeneity is constructed in a hierarchical manner with authority stemming from ‘above’. There are two instances of this imperative heterogeneity: on one side the violence of the police who patrol the borders of liberal homogeneity; and on the other side the fascist or monarchist state which relies entirely upon the whim of the leader/king. We need not delve into the fascist use of imperative heterogeneity, nor the revolutionary ideas of subversive heterogeneity, we only want to see Bataille’s idea of police violence. He argues that modern liberal states set the heterogeneous violence of the police and army to work defending the boundaries of the rational homogeneity. The boundaries of the commeasurable must by policed, but this policing is by its nature external to that homogeneity. Sovereign violence hides behind the rational/legal façade of liberal states. We must not forget the true meaning of the definition of the state as that which holds the ‘monopoly of violence’ in the territory. The truth of ‘the monopoly of violence’ is landed at the blunt end of a police baton or cosh.
police  theory  politics 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age | .....
The Most Radical Gesture is the first major study of the Situationist International, a revolutionary movement of extraordinary ambition

The Most Radical Gesture is the first major study of the Situationist International, a revolutionary movement of extraordinary ambition and influence whose reflections on art, everyday life, pleasure, spontaneity, the city, and the spectacle have ensured it a vital, but largely hidden, role in the development of twentieth-century culture and politics. Revealing the extent to which situationist ideas and tactics have influenced subsequent political theory and cultural agitation, this book discusses a variety of specific movements and moments of contestation, including Dada, surrealism, the events of May ’68, the Italian autonomists, the Angry Brigade, and punk, placing the situationists in a line of impassioned antiauthoritarian dissent which also informs the work of writers like Lyotard and Deleuze and underwrites contemporary debates on postmodernism. It suggests that Baudrillard’s reflections on hyperreality are impoverished reworkings of the situationists’ critical analysis of capitalist society as a spectacle, and challenges postmodern denials of meaning, reality, and history by showing that postmodernism itself depends on a tradition which completely undermines the purposeless pessimism it promotes.
spectacle  Situationism  debord  theory 
november 2015 by juliusbeezer
What Makes Malcolm Gladwell Fascinating — Silicon Guild — Medium
In 1971, a sociologist named Murray Davis published a groundbreaking paper that opened with these two lines:

“It has long been thought that a theorist is considered great because his theories are true, but this is false. A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting.”

Davis argued that the difference between the dull and the interesting lies in the element of surprise. When an idea affirms what we already believe, we’re bored — we call it obvious. But when an idea is counterintuitive, we’re intrigued. Our curiosity is piqued, and we’re motivated to ask questions
theory  psychology  writing 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Common Rights Vs. Collective Rights
The true opposite of collectivism is not neoconservatism, but classical liberalism. The opposite of collective rights is not private rights purchased from the collective, but of common rights that precede the collective. The answer to attacking property as if it were privilege is not to defend privilege as if it were property, but to clearly distinguish between property and privilege. Most importantly, the answer to Marxist mythology is not to react with an anti-Marxist mythology, but to begin with principles of liberty and follow them wherever they might lead.
land  theory  politics  marxism  liberal  libertarian  social 
october 2015 by juliusbeezer
Deserting the Digital Utopia / CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective
Understood as a class, programmers occupy the same position today that the bourgeoisie did in 1848, wielding social and economic power disproportionate to their political leverage. In the revolutions of 1848, the bourgeoisie sentenced humanity to two more centuries of misfortune by ultimately siding with law and order against poor workers. Programmers enthralled by the Internet revolution could do even worse today: they could become digital Bolsheviks whose attempt to create a democratic utopia produces the ultimate totalitarianism.
politics  internet  history  theory 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Adolph Reed: Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism
The contemporary discourse of “antiracism” [and identity politics overall] is focused much more on taxonomy than politics. It emphasizes the name by which we should call some strains of inequality—whether they should be broadly recognized as evidence of “racism”— over specifying the mechanisms that produce them or even the steps that can be taken to combat them. And, no, neither “overcoming racism” nor “rejecting whiteness” qualifies as such a step any more than does waiting for the “revolution” or urging God’s heavenly intervention. If organizing a rally against racism seems at present to be a more substantive political act than attending a prayer vigil for world peace, that’s only because contemporary antiracist activists understand themselves to be employing the same tactics and pursuing the same ends as their predecessors in the period of high insurgency in the struggle against racial segregation.

This view, however, is mistaken. The postwar activism that reached its crescendo in the South as the “civil rights movement” wasn’t a movement against a generic “racism;” it was specifically and explicitly directed toward full citizenship rights for black Americans and against the system of racial segregation that defined a specific regime of explicitly racial subordination in the South.
politics  us  theory  philosophy  racism 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Building Norway: a critique of Slavoj Žižek | Idiot Joy Showland
The internal other is a parasite, a pathogen, or a cancer, a corrosive and polluting agent that brings death for the (healthy, homogeneous and homoeostatic) body it infects. Of course, this is on the level of the European reaction; he’s not himself making the comparison; it’s something that could be very plausibly dismissed as a little rhetorical pirouette. But it doesn’t bode well for what’s to come.

There are no great old Soviet jokes in this essay, no references to Hitchcock or Kung Fu Panda, and only a brief, perfunctory mention of Stalin. Crucially, there’s no Freud, Lacan, or Hegel; not even (surprisingly, given that the question of migration is ultimately one of hospitality) any citation of Derrida. Above all, there’s nothing that could be considered as Marxism. Which raises the question of what theory is actually for. Is it essentially just a game, a way of forming entertaining readings of pop-cultural ephemera,
zizek  theory  tzigane 
september 2015 by juliusbeezer
Project MUSE - Who Translates?: Translator Subjectivities Beyond Reason (review)
Robinson includes the example to ask, "What exactly is the ontological status of this talk of Shakespeare's permission?" (119) Here and elsewhere his intellectual forays help unravel the delicate strands of inspiration that bind us to a given text—translated or otherwise.

He demonstrates implicitly through a provocative selection of materials that the systems of faith undergirding our scholarly endeavors have more in common with religious traditions than we may care to admit. Robinson points out that Marx spends much of his writing distinguishing between the "spirit of the revolution" that is the Geist he urges people to move towards and the "ghosts of the past" that are the Gespenst he'd like people to leave behind, but in the end continues to be, as Robinson wryly puts it (after Jacques Derrida): "h(a)unted" (131). "We are all haunted," he avers, "by the spiritualist imagination" (31). Part of the problem he is at pains to describe is the very expectation of duality that reason forces on us. "The logic of the ghost," Derrida describes in The Specter of Marx, "points toward a thinking of the event that necessarily exceeds a binary or dialectical logic, the logic that distinguishes or opposes effectivity or actuality (either present, empirical, living—or not) and ideality (regulating or absolute non-presence)" (qtd. in Robinson: 121) That Robinson would liken these collective, post-rationalist "fantasies" to Jacques Lacan's notion of the Other or Louis Althusser's interpellated ideology may come as some surprise.
translation  theory  marxism  religion  hermeneutics  philosophy 
august 2015 by juliusbeezer
Library of Babel
Brooklyn writer attempts to implement Borges' Library of Babel
may 2015 by juliusbeezer
“Say Stupid Shit”: A French Philosopher Mutters to Himself
Have to be accountable. Yield to arguments. What I feel like is just fucking around. Publish this diary for example. Say stupid shit. Barf out the fucking-around-o-maniacal schizo flow. Barter whatever for whoever wants to read it. Now that I’m turning into a salable name I can find an editor for sure […] Work the feed-back; write right into the real. But not just the professional readers’ real, “Quinzaine polemical” style. The close, hostile real. People around. Fuck shit up. The stakes greater than the oeuvre or they don’t attain it […]
theory  philosophy  language 
may 2015 by juliusbeezer
Ream On - Kenneth Goldsmith's Theory of Anything - Publicide: Printing + Letterpress NYC
Ream On - Kenneth Goldsmith’s Theory of Anything

Conceptual writer Kenneth Goldsmith’s latest publication is Theory, a 500-page thought catalog assembled in a laserjet-ready 8.5 x 11 inch ream. The preview below courtesy of Jean Boîte Éditions:

Multiple columns of Theory simulate the look of a Brillo Box installation; its bubble gum wrapper sentiments are also reminiscent of the ironic quotes found in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B & Back Again). No coincidence there, as Goldsmith’s approach owes itself to Warhol’s practice: appropriating and styling already-existing content (The Weather; Seven American Deaths and Disasters) while fastidiously documenting the banalities of quotidian existence (Soliloquy; Fidget). Goldsmith’s Theory of Anything is printed Internet in an era of the letterpress business card customized for an app developer. Have your cake and tweet it, too:
goldsmith  theory  art  writing 
may 2015 by juliusbeezer
The Mystic Writing Pad
for Freud, is analogous to the way the psychic system which received sense impression from the outside world remains unmarked by those impressions which pass through it to a deeper layer where they are recorded as unconscious memory. Thus, "the appearance and disappearance of the writing" is similar to "the flickering-up and passing-away of consciousness in the process of perception" (SE XIX:230).

Freud's somewhat off-hand analogy of the way which the perceptive conscious passes experience through to the unconscious to a child's toy has had a curious career. In "Freud and the Scene of Writing," Derrida notes the father of psycho-analysis's dependence on metaphors of writing to describe psychological processes and concludes that this is no metaphor, that perception really is a kind of writing machine like the Mystic Writing Pad. Derrida in particular notes the fact that the marks on the pad are not visible due to the stylus leaving a deposit on the sheet of plastic (in the manner of a pen, ink and paper). The marks only become visible because of the contact the wax has on the reverse side of the sheet of plastic...
In hypertext, consciousness is displaced from the act of apprehension, from the act of reading, to experience of having been written.
internet  blogs  theory  psychology 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Project MUSE - Affect Theory Dossier: An Introduction
There is of course no single definition of affect theory. In one of its incarnations affect theory builds bridges between the humanities and biology or neuroscience. In another it looks back to Søren Kierkegaard and Baruch Spinoza (among others) to refresh our definitions of subjectivity. Some affect theory defends the therapeutic value of embracing unpleasant feelings such as shame, sadness, or loneliness. Its other branches highlight “ugly feelings” (to use Sianne Ngai’s phrase) as sources not of self-knowledge but of social critique. Affect theory can be a sociology of accidental encounters. It can be a psychoanalysis without end, both in leaving no stone unturned and in not caring to achieve a stable outcome. Affect theory can also refuse psychoanalysis and try to make feelings speak for themselves, as if they will best do so if the conscious mind does not interfere. Stylistically, it has encouraged intensely personal scholarship as well as scholarship that tries to do away with personality altogether.
theory  psychology  emotion 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Philosophical Disquisitions: Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks
In the remainder of this post, I outline the basic elements of that libertarian anti-internet argument.
As mentioned, the libertarian view I am going to work with is a fairly unsophisticated version of that presented by Robert Nozick in his classic book Anarchy, State and Utopia. Consequently, I must start by outlining some of the core features of the political philosophy defended in that book. As many readers will know, Nozick’s book was written in response to Rawls’s classic A Theory of Justice. In the latter book, Rawls defended an egalitarian model of political justice that supported the redistribution of property (wealth) from rich to poor, provided certain fundamental principles of justice were complied with. This in turn provided support for a big government, collecting taxes and engaging in certain acts of social engineering.

Nozick rejected this view in favour of the robust protection of individual property rights and a minimal state. Central to this view was his conception of individual rights, specifically individual property rights.
internet  theory  philosophy  politics  facebook  google  socialnetworking  socialmedia  economics 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Derrida: The Excluded Favorite by Emily Eakin | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books
Even Derrida claimed astonishment at the way his elusive and poetic glosses on Heidegger and Husserl were refashioned into a blunt, all-purpose tool—a kind of lethal deep-reading app—wielded by Americans determined to wage war on a canon they hadn’t always bothered to read.

Looking back on the tumult in 1997, he ventured a gentle rebuke:

“Deconstruction was becoming not only an act, an activity, a praxis, but it was becoming practicable, and, as they say in French, practical, in the sense of easy, convenient, and even salable as a commodity…. The paradox of this situation…is that what we were then trying to appropriate by making it possible, that is, functional and productive, was in any case that which had already shown itself explicitly as impossible.”

No doubt, some American uses of deconstruction were crudely literal. (One typical late-1980s feminist avowal: “The philosophical work of getting to the bottom of unjust power relations involves the desire to think outside the structures of thought and consciousness we have inherited. But because outside these structures there is no thought and signifying language, the very thinking that deconstructs them must also inevitably reconstruct them.”)
philosophy  theory  history  attention 
april 2015 by juliusbeezer
Book Review: The Philosophy of War and Exile by Nolen Gertz | LSE Review of Books
Citing the alienation and harassment of veterans who returned home from the war in Vietnam, and the mockery of drone operators who try to express their trauma, Gertz perceives that both traditional combatants and modern drone operators have been exiled from a society that severely misunderstands these experiences of war and which refuses to take due responsibility. Crucially, Gertz discerns that traumatic events are not recognised as having been made possible by a ‘peaceful’ society, and so they are placed in another, aberrant realm, thereby protecting the status quo: ‘The diagnosis of PTSD serves to treat what can be seen as our fears of having to face the truth of our everyday lives, rather than serving to treat what is seen as their fears of having to relive such “traumatic” events.’ (p. 121). This is not to ask ‘whether PTSD exists’ (p. 122), but rather, whether we should not instead be re-evaluating the ‘normality’ – the morality – that treatment of these symptoms seeks to return the veteran to.
war  psychology  sociology  theory 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
Translating Jurisprudence: How a Bad Translator Killed Law’s Empire |
Because Dworkin was an American thinker, Law’s Empire was written in my language, so I would never have even looked at a Spanish translation were it not for the fact that the seminar I am attending is in Spanish and three of the other participants (all lawyers) read the same Spanish translation, which apparently was so awful, that they spent at least 40 minutes from a two hour session discussing how the translator had killed Law’s Empire. Curiosity, of course, got the best of me and I just had to check out the translation for myself. Here are my thoughts
translation  philosophy  law  theory 
march 2015 by juliusbeezer
After Debord - Berfrois
The other path is détournement. As Keston Sunderland has shown, détournement was part of Marx’s own practice. Marx constantly copies and critically corrects the epigrammatic illuminations of his age. Détournement works first from the present situation, and only then selects cuts from the past and brings them into the present, copying and correcting in the direction of possibility. Practiced as scholarship, détournement can at least begin from the question of the historical situation. It is a matter of articulating a common task for this situation, and for that task to call out of the past the resources for organizing thought and action in the present. In the era of digital means of production, the twist on class conflicts that this brings, and the facts of the Anthropocene that can no longer be considered as secondary, must be drawn into the very heart of thought.
theory  spectacle  philosophy  zizek  marxism  history  debord 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Mqckenzie Wark on theory and climatechange
Perhaps the worn-out old names so endlessly recycled in grad school are not
going to be of much help to us. Are we really expecting, that if time
appears now in a very new way, that those who survived the old time and
became those who marked its tempo are going to talk about a time not their
own? What if Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger or Carl Schmitt had nothing
to say about the Anthropocene? When did humanists become the
arch-conservatives? Insisting on ever occasion that the answers are always
in the same old books? And always the same answers, no matter what the
On the one hand, it might be more interesting to pay attention to the
organic intellectuals emerging out of more or less consciously Anthropocene
practices. Woodbine thinks these are in two categories. Firstly, there’s
the insurrections and occupations. Secondly, there’s the cultures of
hacking, prepping, modding, which are often not ‘political’ in any overt
sense, but which tend to have a firm notion that we need new practices of
engaging with the world.
climatechange  theory  benjamin 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Let Us Now Stand Up for Bastards
we are also intent on resuscitating what we are calling postmedieval and pastmodern forms of publication (from breviary and commentary and florilegium to telegram and liner notes and inter-office memo, from the Book of Hours to the cassette mixtape).[33] Public-ation, then, as also salvage operation, the re-purposing of discarded objects, discarded forms, and discarded genres as a means for maximizing the possibilities for thinking. Forms matter. The forms of thinking matter. In the plural. Again, it is a commitment to excess, and a refusal of all austerity measures. punctum books is not interested either in the maintenance of specific genres or disciplines (is it literary theory? poetry? philosophy? art history? memoir? sociology? cybernetics? speculative fiction? code? who can tell?), and thus we take seriously Derrida’s belief in a university “without condition,” where we maintain that it is the humanities’ singular purpose to protect the right of anyone to publish anything, or as Derrida himself put it, the “principal right to say everything, whether it be under the heading of fiction and the experimentation of knowledge, and the right to say it publicly, to publish it.”[34]
s Derrida reminds us, in Plato’s philosophy it “is often the Foreigner (xenos) who questions. He carries and puts the [intolerable] question,” and thus he is the very “someone who basically has to account for [the very] possibility of sophistry.”[38] The “paternal authority of the logos” is always ready to “disarm” the Foreigner who nevertheless prevails as an important figure of Thought’s (difficult) natality. To welcome this xenos, this Foreigner, invites danger (the guest as enemy, the host as hostage) as well as a way forward, a way out of Authority, out of our settled (overly-professionalized) selves, and toward the wilder shores of vagabond (and free) thought.
breviaires  publishing  theory  freedom  digitalhumanities  philosophy  language 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
An interview with Naked Capitalism’s Phil Pilkington on our book ‘Modern Political Economics’ – Part A | Yanis Varoufakis
The essence of the economists’ inherent error is that they erred into thinking it is possible to tell a credible story about how values and prices are formed in complex (multi-sector) economies that grow through time. For decades economistsstruggled to produce such a narrative. But all their best laid plans for piecing it together crashed on the shoals of indeterminacy. Put simply, their mathematical models could not be solved. At that point economists did one of two things: Either they accepted that it could not be done, or they introduced hidden (and sometimes not to hidden) assumptions that ‘closed’ their model at the expense of credulity (e.g. an assumption that the economy comprises a lone Robinson Crusoe-like figure, or a single commodity, or that all exchanges occurred in a timeless universe and at a flash of a fleeting moment). The former scholars were forgotten by history, as their papers never saw the light of day. The latter built up careers, sometimes radiant ones. Alas, their economics were riddled with only thinly disguised ‘tricks’ the purpose of which was to disguise economics’ ‘inherent error’.
economics  theory 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
An interview with Naked Capitalism’s Phil Pilkington on the state of economics (and our Modern Political Economics): Part B | Yanis Varoufakis
The moment you introduce creativity and a capacity to subvert the rules that supposedly govern our behaviour, the whole theoretical edifice collapses. To illustrate this further, take again theory T.

Suppose Jack and Jill are negotiating and both are rational enough to know T. So, Jill expects Jack to expect her to behave according to T. Because she is human (i.e. not an automaton) she has the ‘right’ to ask a ‘subversive’ question that no algorithm can ask: “What will Jack think if I behave in a manner that T has not predicted (something I can do since I know what T predicts)? Is there no significant probability that Jack will panic, thinking that I am irrational (since I have diverged from T), and choose to yield to some of my demands more readily?”

There is, I wish to argue, nothing irrational about this question. Which means that it is possible that Jill will rationally diverge from the bargaining behaviour that theory T prescribes as the uniquely rational behaviour of Jill.
economics  psychology  theory 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Walter Benjamin and the "Tradition of the Oppressed" | ANTHROPOLOGICAL MATERIALISM
For Benjamin history is not based on a progressive flow of “homogeneous, empty time” directed to the future but on a disruptive constellation of the present and the past. The past is not simply gone; it can never be fully historicized. The medium in which the present is connected to all lost causes and struggles of those who lost their histories is called the “tradition of the oppressed.” Against the continuous temporality of the humanist idea of cultural heritage, “the tradition of the oppressed” forms a fractured medium the dialectics of which Benjamin discussed in two fragmentary notes.
history  benjamin  theory  time 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
Benjamin in Palestine | Benjamin in Palestine
With painful prescience, Benjamin, the essayist, philosopher and translator, authored the landmark essay “The Critique of Violence” (1921), in which he vigorously exposed the violence of the modern state and its jurisdiction, legislation, and executive forces. For the early Benjamin, it was clear that there was “something rotten in the law” – be it the law of monarchy, “normal” democracy or autocratic regimes. From Benjamin’s perspective of a radical critique of violence, justice and the law of the state remain irreconcilable.
Palestine  theory  war  politics 
february 2015 by juliusbeezer
New Ancestors: A Conversation with McKenzie Wark | e-flux
the winners of the race have generally been gruesome power-forms, like the Church or the Party dictatorship. In what you write, I sense the latent proposal that at this moment there is no credible border patrol that regulates contact with the Outside. And this makes our moment one of possibility, of being done with these portals altogether.

McKenzie Wark: It may be because, while a third generation atheist, I come from a Protestant culture. We don’t take kindly to authorities who claim to have been granted exclusive rights by the other to be its representatives, be they God-botherers or Lacanians.
theory  communication  religion 
january 2015 by juliusbeezer
jonone100 | blog: On Demurrage and Money Burning
Between you and me, technical and economic arguments about demurrage are just flimflam anyway; there's no way to accurately predict the effect of demurrage, its just not the sort of thing you can know. Having said this, next year (2015) I will be co-opting all positive demurrage flimflam to make a polemic case - a manifesto - for the greater money burning good. When I do, you'll have to forget I ever said it was flimflam. Ok?
finance  economics  graeber  theory 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Distracted by Attention – The New Inquiry
many have heralded the rise of the “attention economy,” in which views, clicks, and readers are not only integral to measuring consumption but also generate revenue with each hit or viewer.

But can attention even be understood in terms of an economy? Does it make sense to conceive of attention functioning like currency, or like a scarce resource? More important, do these ways of thinking about attention indicate that we have entered a new phase of capitalism in which attention itself produces value?
attention  theory  politics  business 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
the engine of fascism | blinking ti . me
When it’s time for our elite to recover from the economic implosion fascism’s inefficiency always leads to – an implosion which always ultimately affects even the elite itself (serving both as the real driver for recovery as well as the main motivator for a return to political and social justice) – there will be no coherently hard-won citizen-based memory of what we were before the fracture. The distracted economy will have made sure of that. Our distracted attention spans will have broken our ability to remain focussed. The elite will be as lost as the peasants whilst fascism reigned. They (the elites I mean) really won’t know where to turn.
politics  attention  culture  theory 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Life in the accelerated academy: how it’s possible for Žižek to publish 55 books in 14 years | Mark Carrigan
According to the Žižek bibliography on wikipedia, he has published 55 books since 2000. 55 books in less than 15 years. I was curious about whether this amounts to the sheer weight of writing that it would superficially appear to be. In assessing this I’ve excluded papers, letters, interviews, collections of his writing, things that are co-written, his joke book (!), edited collections and what is apparently a reprint of his doctoral thesis...Even so, he still writes a hell of a lot with a remarkable consistency. In spite of his self-presentation as dishevelled and chaotic, it seems rather unlikely that he’s a binge writer and that he instead has a very regular writing routine. The more I’ve thought about this, I’ve become really intrigued by the conditions of his working life and how they facilitate his prolific output. As part of the project me and Filip Vostal are discussing at the moment, looking at the acceleration of higher education and it’s implications for scholarship, I’m increasingly aware that I’d like to do a case study of Žižek as representing a mode of public intellectualism facilitated by the accelerated academy.
zizek  scholarly  writing  philosophy  theory  attention  jbcomment 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Marcuse Today | Boston Review
Here, the social controls exact the overwhelming need for the production and consumption of waste; the need for stupefying work where it is no longer a real necessity; the need for modes of relaxation which soothe and prolong this stupefaction; the need for maintaining such deceptive liberties as free competition at administered prices, a free press which censors itself, free choice between brands and gadgets.
work  attention  theory  philosophy 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
For someone who managed to live up to his early slogan “Never Work!” he was remarkably busy.

He is now something of a canonical figure in literature, cinema and the art world. It has become commonplace to refer to the media sphere as a spectacle, and the cut and mix practices of today’s aesthetics appeals to the apparently similar Situationist practice of détournement for legitimation. He has been, as he might say, recuperated back in to spectacular commodity production. Such is the fate of all avant-gardes.
spectacle  debord  theory  politics  art 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
Embracing Messiness | OPEN REFLECTIONS
In my opinion open access can and should be understood in similar terms: not as a homogeneous project striving to become a dominating model or force; not as a thing, an object, or a model with pre-described meaning or ideology, but as a project with an unknown outcome, as an ongoing series of critical struggles. One of the benefits of this vision would be that it would open up more space for radically different, messy, dissensual, critical and conflicting positions and perceptions on open access, where these different positions are often played down in the interests of strategy.
openaccess  theory 
december 2014 by juliusbeezer
What is a Hacker? — Backchannel — Medium
The modern hacker is different. He is not young, has access to vast, formless clouds of computers, and possesses a distinct modern cultural sensibility. To his eye, all the works of mankind — and maybe even the very laws of nature — are contraptions, just like computers once were. Law, ethics, society, the economy: they’re not sacred, they’re not proper ways of life. They’re codes. All systems of code can be disrupted, upgraded, improved without permission. Everything’s hackable.

People who realize this about our world are in the right. Lesser people are obscurantists, since they’re forced to rely on instructions, regulations, patents, ethics, public opinion and similar unhackerly crutches.

Obscurantists should be grateful when hackers point out the limits in their worldview. But the normals lack the hacker sensibility, and rarely are happy about being corrected. This creates friction.
theory  law  code 
november 2014 by juliusbeezer
Warsystems » Litwin Books, LLC : Piracy: Leakages from Modernity
While the pirates of Somalia seem a long way removed from Internet pirates illegally downloading the latest music hit or, it is the assertion of this book that such developments indicate a complex interplay between capital flows and relations, late modernity, property rights and spaces of contestation. That is, piracy seems to emerge at specific nodes in capitalist relations that create both blockages and leaks between different social actors.

These various aspects of piracy form the focus for this book, entitled Piracy: Leakages from Modernity. It is meant to be a collection of texts that takes a broad perspective on piracy and attempts to capture the multidimensional impacts of piracy on capitalist society today.
Includes: Set the Fox to Watch the Geese: Voluntary IP Regimes in Piratical File-sharing Communities, by Balázs Bodó.
copying  theory  scholarly 
november 2014 by juliusbeezer
CDC: CDC Keyword
Open is a term used across an array of digital and networked projects and artifacts, from government data initiatives and online teaching materials to software code and digital publishing. While the term has been in use in the contexts of political theory (Popper, 1962a; 1962b), philosophy (Bergson, 1935) and general systems theory (Bertalanffy, 1960) for a long time, contemporary uses of openness are often indebted to the open source software practices of the 1990s and the distinct but related Free Software Movement which preceded it. In this context, open as ‘open source’ was understood as a particular mode of software development (cf. Raymond, 2000) underpinned by ‘permissive’ intellectual property licenses. This legal framework ensured access to the human readable ‘source code’ of a program, thereby allowing anyone to contribute to a software project or to start a new project based on the pre-existing code. Transformations that took place on the web from the early 2000s onwards – variously described as increased participation, collaboration, the flattening of hierarchies, sharing culture, meritocracy, user-generated content, produsage, crowdsourcing, or commons-based peer production – either drew inspiration from the practices of open source software or were retrospectively likened to it, and this has led to a proliferation things described as open. Openness now simultaneously works across legal, technical, organizational, economic, and political registers. It is a core guiding principle of several of the most powerful players on the web (including Google and Facebook) and is increasingly taken up by governments to describe their modus operandi in a world transformed by digital networks. The Digital Humanities, which is here one domain among others, is no different. This from the Digital Humanities Manifesto (2008): “the digital is the realm of the open: open source, open resources, open doors. Anything that attempts to close this space should be recognized for what it is: the enemy.”
open  openaccess  opensource  openstandards  openscience  digitalhumanities  theory 
october 2014 by juliusbeezer
Why Academics' Writing Stinks - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education
English grammar is an enabler of the bad habit of writing in unnecessary abstractions because it includes a dangerous tool for creating abstract terms. A process called nominalization takes a perfectly spry verb and embalms it into a lifeless noun by adding a suffix like –ance, –ment, or –ation. Instead of affirming an idea, you effect its affirmation; rather than postponing something, you implement a postponement. Helen Sword calls them "zombie nouns" because they lumber across the scene without a conscious agent directing their motion. They can turn prose into a night of the living dead.
writing  scholarly  academic  publishing  theory  literature  philosophy  postmodernism  postgradology 
october 2014 by juliusbeezer
Specializing: a ticket to the high end of the profession? (Part Two)
Whatever may be going on as it were to the right of the decimal point, the general situation is clear: full-time academics aren’t, for the most part, very familiar with the highly specialized, highly paid, premium segments of the translation market. This does not mean that they aren’t good translators, of course, but it does mean that they have, collectively, a major blind-spot regarding the industry whose young practitioners they are supposed to be shepherding into the profession. Their default take on the profession, and particularly on the economics of the profession, is likely to be skewed to some degree towards a middle-to-low-end viewpoint.
translation  business  theory  education 
september 2014 by juliusbeezer
Fallen Angel by Ian Penman, City Journal Summer 2014
an unashamed intellectual, Benjamin spent large portions of his life reading, writing, editing, and researching. But he was also a devoted traveler (he believed in foreign jaunts as a cure-all for most writerly ills); something of a ladies’ man; a loyal aficionado of plush casinos; and an enthusiastic dabbler in drugs. He was, in short, a logjam of contradictions: part Jewish mystic, part Marxist firebrand; skeptical priest, polite libertine. A line that Jean Cocteau devised for Orson Welles could equally apply to Benjamin: “an active loafer, a wise madman, a solitude surrounded by humanity.”

Some of the current vogue for Benjamin may stem from our nostalgia for the vanished dream of grand European culture to which he belonged.
theory  benjamin 
september 2014 by juliusbeezer
David Hadbawnik
Conceptualism is hardly alone in that, but it’s been exceptionally savvy and procedural in its resistance to critique. The procedure is: You don’t get it. Which is what every poet has been saying in response to rejection from probably the first poet whose lines didn’t go over on the wall of a cave somewhere. But it’s a two-sided “you don’t get it” that flips according to the tone of the response. You don’t get it because you are taking it too seriously, you don’t have a sense of humor; or you don’t get it because you’re not smart enough, you haven’t read the theory and you don’t understand it. So you’re dumb or you’re humorless or both.
All of those theoretical approaches are valid in their own right but they are aimed at producing an academic paper on the poetry rather than learning how the poetry works, i.e. learning how to write poetry. As a student, you very quickly get sucked into this mindspace, learning not only how to talk about poetry in the academy but also how to produce poetry that can be talked about in an academic way. I’ve seen this happen over and over again, where a young poet is doing something very interesting, which is smart and experimental but also has a sort of vulnerability and innocence, and within a year or so of being in the academy all the vulnerability and innocence is gone, and they are going for the knowing laugh... Conceptualism attempts to carve out a space in the academy and the art world; it is aligned with the Big University, with Big Art. It does not really wish to trouble those institutions. It is not a kind of art you can take with you to the barricades... I re-read 1984 recently and Orwell’s idea of the “Fiction Department,” where novels are written by machines, is almost prescient in its description of things like Flarf and certain appropriative strains of conceptualism.
poetry  literature  goldsmith  orwell  education  writing  theory 
june 2014 by juliusbeezer
Rédaction Médicale et Scientifique
Les objectifs sont surtout la communication et les médias dans le porno "Porn Studies will publish innovative work examining specifically sexual and explicit media forms, their connections to wider media landscapes and their links to the broader spheres of (sex) work across historical periods and national contexts"

Il y aura 4 numéros par an, et je suis moyennenent convaincu par le premier numéro double (222 pages)
porn  theory  science 
april 2014 by juliusbeezer
A reader’s guide to the “ontological turn” – Part 2 | Somatosphere
On its surface the book is an introduction to central themes and keywords in the philosophy of science. In effect, it launches a programme of research that actively blurs the lines between depictions of the world and interventions into its composition. And it does so by bringing to the fore the constitutive role of experimental practices – a key leitmotiv of what would eventually become STS.

Hacking, of course, went on to develop a highly original form of pragmatic realism, particularly in relation to the emergence of psychiatric categories and new forms of personhood. His 2004 book, Historical Ontology, captures well the main thrust of his arguments, and lays out a useful contrast with the ‘meta-epistemology’ of much of the best contemporary writing in the history of science.
philosophy  history  theory  anthropology  ontology 
march 2014 by juliusbeezer
Why Is Academic Writing So Beautiful? Notes on Black Feminist Scholarship - The Feminist Wire | The Feminist Wire
For the black feminist tradition of academic writing I am describing, this has never meant simplifying one’s ideas, rejecting critical theory, or aiming for immediate accessibility; it has meant taking responsibility for one’s own language of complex thought and presenting ideas in a way that invites understanding. And—crucially—it has meant deciding to do so in the 1980s and 1990s, at the very moment when the specialized vocabulary and complex syntax of poststructuralist theory was in vogue. The fact that “difficult” academic writing has its own value and purpose is another subject. My point here is that before we engage in hand-wringing about the way academics are forced to write, we should recall black women critics who intentionally pioneered and sustain a tradition of understated, beautiful prose.
writing  theory  literature 
march 2014 by juliusbeezer
Cookie Cutters – The New Inquiry
Engaging with the advertising industry’s opt-out feature reveals troubling, dissociated entities. Unlike the kind of contract used in the Do Not Call List, the opt-out cookie is not an agreement between an end user and the advertising industry as a whole. Instead, it is between a user’s extended devices and a vast array of fragmented and dissociated technologies and organizations. This is a contract associating hundreds of cookies, inscrutable terms-of-service agreements, browsers, devices, more than 110 advertising networks, and the shifting layers of ownership as advertising firms merge and acquire one another. It is, in other words, a contract as a loose gathering of elements—two swarms—rather than as consent between two individuals.c-coverThis essay appears in TNI Vol. 26: Consent. Subscribe for $2 and get your very own

Ultimately, the online advertising industry benefits from this complexity. When it comes time for the advertising industry to consent to the user’s wish not to be watched online, the industry dissolves into a swarm. All the while, the user’s own technological dispersal allows for that contract to be undermined when that user changes any of the original conditions of consent. Once this fragile contract dissolves, tracking can recommence. Industry self-regulation becomes a joke in the face of this dissociation.
internet  advertising  privacy  surveillance  theory  philosophy  politics 
march 2014 by juliusbeezer
Peggy Kamuf on Jacques Derrida’s Death Penalty Seminar |
Derrida is notoriously difficult to translate. Did you confront any special challenges in your translation of this course?

There are always challenges on every page. And they are usually quite localized and particular, so it’s hard to generalize. But frankly, if these lectures were easy to translate, I’d be a lot less interested in doing it.
theory  translation  death_penalty 
march 2014 by juliusbeezer
Topograph: Bruno Latour on war and peace in a time of ecological conflicts
Latour has sought to cast himself as an ally of the climate scientists and the activists who seek a political solution to climate change. He even related last night how climate scientists, in France at least, have even started to seek out his advice on how to conduct a ‘debate’ against a well-funded, smartly coordinated campaign to sow doubt and ignorance about the causes and consequences of climate change.

To hear him speak last night was, then, an interesting opportunity to hear his thoughts on what science studies scholars might contribute to the politics of climate. His offering, which he has largely outlined elsewhere (see here and here) and relates closely to his most recent book, is not straightforward. In true Latourian style, it calls for a fundamental re-orientation of one of modernity’s most fundamental tenets.
climatechange  theory  philosophy  science 
february 2014 by juliusbeezer
On Translating a Translation | the Buenos Aires Review | Digital & Bilingual
For all the theories of translation one disavows or keeps tacked above the bed, there remain certain unscientific gut-level questions like: Have I gone too far? Have I gone far enough? During the year that I spent working on Hungarian writer Gábor Schein’s first novel, The Book of Mordechai, I approached my author often with such questions.
translation  theory  literature 
december 2013 by juliusbeezer
Pope Denounces Curiosity Because it Causes Confusion
It's easy to find examples of religious authorities rejecting skepticism and critical thinking, but attacks on the even more fundamental trait of curiosity is an order of magnitude worse. Yet that's exactly what Pope Francis seems to have done in a homily recently.
religion  theory  politics 
december 2013 by juliusbeezer
it's her factory: Notes On A Theory Of Multi-Racial White Supremacist Patriarchy, aka MRWaSP
Multi-Racial White Supremacist Patriarchy, or MRWaSP, is my term for early 21st-century globalized Western race/gender/sexuality/capitalist hegemony. I put a lower-case “a” in the acronym to both make the acronym something pronounceable to English speakers, and to echo the older acronym WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). You say it like “Mr. Wasp”--emphasis on the “mister” shows that this is not just about white supremacy, it’s also about patriarchy.

MRWaSP is an upgrade on WASP. As critical theorists of race have been arguing, white supremacy has retooled itself to work more efficiently in and for globalized, neoliberal hegemonies. Not only are exclusion and border-patrolling resource-intensive, they’re also not the most efficient ways of promoting nationalist, capitalist, patriarchal interests. As Jared Sexton argues, contemporary multiculturalism/multiracialism is a “protest less against the genocidal objectives of Anglo white supremacy than the inefficiency of unrestrained violence as the means of its accomplishment”
politics  theory 
december 2013 by juliusbeezer
Paris Review – Pharmacopornography: An Interview with Beatriz Preciado, Ricky Tucker
B. toggles between a personal account of using topical testosterone, Testogel, as a kind of performative homage to a fallen queer friend, and a cultural analysis that investigates how pharmaceutical companies politicize the body– down to the molecule. The idea is that Testo Junkie picks up where Foucault’s The History of Sexuality left off, a chronicle of sex in an ever increasingly consumerist and pornographically identified modernity. Its mix of personal narrative and theory softened my point of entry
drugs  sex  theory 
december 2013 by juliusbeezer
In His Latest Film, Slavoj Žižek Claims “The Only Way to Be an Atheist is Through Christianity” | Open Culture
“The only way to be an atheist is through Christianity.” This is the argument Žižek makes in his latest film, The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. In the clip above, over footage from Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Žižek claims:

Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism, which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless it retains a certain trust into the Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution, or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within the harmonious whole of evolution, whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is again that there is no Big Other, no point of reference which guarantees meaning.
zizek  philosophy  theory  religion 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot's prison letters to Slavoj Žižek | Music | The Guardian
Dear Nadezhda,

I felt deeply ashamed after reading your reply. You wrote: "You should not worry about the fact that you are exposing theoretical fabrications while I am supposed to suffer the 'real hardship'." This simple sentence made me aware that the final sentiment in my last letter was false: my expression of sympathy with your plight basically meant, "I have the privilege of doing real theory and teaching you about it while you are good for reporting on your experience of hardship …" Your last letter demonstrates that you are much more than that, that you are an equal partner in a theoretical dialogue. So my sincere apologies for this proof of how deeply entrenched is male chauvinism, especially when it is masked as sympathy for the other's suffering, and let me go on with our dialogue.
zizek  theory  politics  russia 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
John Searle on Foucault and the Obscurantism in French Philosophy | Open Culture
Today we thought we would keep the conversation going with a fascinating audio clip (above) of philosopher John Searle of the University of California, Berkeley, describing how Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu–two eminent French thinkers whose abilities Searle obviously respected–told him that if they wrote clearly they wouldn’t be taken seriously in France.

Searle begins by reciting Paul Grice’s four Maxims of Manner: be clear, be brief, be orderly, and avoid obscurity of expression. These are systematically violated in France, Searle says, partly due to the influence of German philosophy...
Michel Foucault, who was more hostile to Derrida even than I am, and Foucault said that Derrida practiced the method of obscurantisme terroriste (terrorism of obscurantism). We were speaking in French. And I said, “What the hell do you mean by that?” And he said, “He writes so obscurely you can’t tell what he’s saying. That’s the obscurantism part. And then when you criticize him, he can always say, ‘You didn’t understand me; you’re an idiot.’ That’s the terrorism part.”
agnotology  attention  france  writing  philosophy  theory  funny 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Obscuring Capitalism: Vivek Chibber’s Critique of Subaltern Studies |
Subaltern Studies rose to prominence in the 1980s and was part of a wave of postcolonial critique of an ongoing essentializing gaze used when discussing formerly colonized cultures. Chibber formulates his critique of the critique (by way of Karl Marx) through the affirmation of Enlightenment universals. He argues that we are all endowed with reason and that this is not merely a “Western” construct. It was a book that he did not want to write, as he admits in the preface, believing that there was no space in “intellectual culture” for a “serious engagement with postcolonial theory.” But he wrote it all the same. The result is not without its ironies: parts of Chibber’s language and arguments are not so far from the postcolonial theory he attacks. His text, both engrossing and at times infuriating, mounts an eminently useful barrage of arguments against Subaltern Studies and raises the stakes of the debate. It is not the first such attack, but it is maybe the most forceful in its curious combination of erudition and, on the other hand, a tendentiously narrow definition of the subject matter.
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Teach It, And They Will Come | The Disorder Of Things
As another term approaches its zenith, we at The Disorder engage in a novel public service: making available a range of our module reading lists. Ready-made bibliographies, crib-sheets, self-help guides, or just objects of curiosity, to do with as you will. We have focused on our more specialised courses, on the assumption that there is a relative dearth of taught programmes on these issues, or taught from these perspectives. Most of the readings remain inaccessible online, although there are libraries still in existence where they may be found. You will also miss out on our great personal charms. Nevertheless, enjoy.
theory  MOOC 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
This Space: Kafka: The Years of Insight, by Reiner Stach
Over the decades there have been innumerable readings of Kafka's fiction named under various scholarly disciplines, each one underwriting his stories with a theoretical rigour lacking in everyday communication. This guarantees at least three things: that Kafka's fiction can be contained by structured analysis, has value only insofar as it confirms the premises of that analysis, and that the stories are capacious enough to accommodate an infinite number of disciplines. The first and second are full of promise for the reader keen to learn and use fiction as proof of theoretical authority. They also nullify the superstitious power of the object while allowing it to live like an insect quivering in a spider's web. However, these guarantees are possible only insofar as one is able to deal with the inherent bad faith of the third: why choose the Freudian reading over the Marxist? Or, if you think the Existentialist reading fails, what do you think of Gnostic one? In bringing social esteem to the daydream of fiction, analysis raises fiction to new heights or depths of impenetrability, leaving the third guarantee full of despair because the number and variety of readings demands a decision, sending the reader back to the beginning of the search, only this time in the shadow of an entire library.
literature  theory  attention 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Arcades Awakening | a hypertextual extension of Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project
When I first read Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project I was struck (as most people probably are) by its beauty and depth, but also its enormity, its density and its difficulty. I wanted so badly to get to the meat of his ideas, but the linearity of reading it on paper made wading through his ideas difficult, when ultimately they were modular — more like a constellation than a simple chain.

And so, through this project I intended to overlay the convolutes with hypertext to sate my urge to read it as a non-linear constellation. I wanted to wander through the work like a flâneur, drifting slowly through on a whim
text  internet  web  theory  literature 
november 2013 by juliusbeezer
Emily Apter | Against World Literature | Review -Sydney Review of Books
For a book that sets out to deflate ‘the expansionism and gargantuan scale of world-literary endeavors’, Against World Literature has some sizeable ambitions of its own. Even when Apter talks about literature, it is usually at one or two removes. Often, the real object of her attention is the theoretical exegesis of a work, rather than the work itself. It is a hectic journey through such a wilfully eclectic range of intellectual terrains that it is sometimes unclear how we came to be discussing the point in hand, and for what purpose. The density of the prose does not make it any easier to follow the thread. It is no small feat to write a gloss that is more opaque than the quotation from Jacques Derrida it is intended to explicate... What saves the book from entropy is the central concept of the Untranslatable... one of the chief rallying points of these related movements is a critique of the anthropocentric view of the world implied by the ‘linguistic turn’. Levi Bryant argues in The Democracy of Objects (2011) that an excessive focus on signs, culture, semantics and the symbolic is a ‘hegemonic fallacy’, a reductionism structurally similar (though opposite in content) to a vulgarised Marxism that admits no causes for any social phenomenon outside economics. He suggests, by contrast, a ‘flat ontology’ that does not ignore discourse or ideology, but does not privilege them either, placing them on an equal footing with the many other factors that shape our world: technological, ecological, social, physical...The contradictory traditions that make themselves felt in Against World Literature are divided by a fault line that goes far deeper than any quarrel between comparatists. Various and varied positions with a universalist tendency (Hegel, Marx, Badiou) have, throughout modernity, been in tension with the hermeneutic tradition (Heidegger, Gadamer) and its legacy in poststructuralism (Derrida, Deleuze). It would not be too much of a stretch to see in this conflict an echo of Plato’s hostility to the Sophists. A satisfactory reconciliation of the insights of both traditions is yet to be achieved (Giani Vattimo and Santiago Zabala’s Hermeneutic Communism is a flawed attempt that may nevertheless provide some pointers)
translation  theory  philosophy  ontology 
october 2013 by juliusbeezer
Speculative Diction | Between borders – How and why do we define academic territory? | University Affairs
For me the important point about CUS [Critical University Studies] is that this work, which has the goal of critiquing the existing university system, is of course being enfolded and constructed by the same processes it criticises: the need to stake out academic territory and build upon it the infrastructure that will mesh with existing systems of assessment and professional advancement. A new field has been designated, but it’s one that should logically begin with a critique of the conditions of its own creation; can such a field transcend or violate those conditions and still “survive” within the institution? What are the consequences of survival?
education  theory 
august 2013 by juliusbeezer
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