work in progress in social theory and cultural sociology

Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’

Le nez rouge de Durkheim

02.15.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Red Nose Day again soon  – which comes as a reminder of just how closely the quasi-religious culture of celebrity and consumer sainthood and the discourse of humanitarianism and human rights are interlinked (see Goodman 2009). In an earlier post I have suggested that we can see the discourse of human rights as quasi-theological ...

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sufi and cinematic imagination

01.21.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

Slowly making my way through Elif Şafak’s Pinhan I’ve come across these lines, in which the protagonist’s favourite Sufi teachers are described thus: ‘Kul Hüseyin ile Budala Tosun dudaklarından tebbesüm eksik olmayan, ağızlarından bal damlayan, kimsenin kusurunu görmeyen dervişlerdi. Adeta tüm ömürlerini, dâr-ül hayal ile dâr-ül hakikati birbirinden ayıran hatt-ı fasılı silmeye vakfetmişler.’ (Şafak 2001: ...

ironies of the microelectronic revolution: the scandal of tantalum mining

11.08.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

The enthusiasm for the microelectronic revolution is dampened if one considers the social and environmental cost of the mobile phone – especially at the source: tantalum mining is a mired in exploitation, rape, and civil war. Alongside blood diamonds we should talk of “blood mobiles”. The irony? The mobile phone is the very device that ...

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Stonier’s “microelectronic revolution” – a forgotten concept?

06.15.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

I came across this more by accident (partly because I’m not greatly attracted to the author’s cosmic theories…), but Tom Stonier’s 1983 text on the “Microelectronic Revolution” not only predicts the crumbling away of the Soviet Empire when faced with the possibilities of new communication technologies, but also outlines the pattern that recently brought down ...

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Fatwa against Shahin Najafi – Rushdi all over again or desperation of the militant anti-secularists?

05.10.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

The Iranian Revolution in 1979 and particularly the aftermath of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1989 fatwa calling for the killing of Salman Rushdi spelled, for many, the end of Western style secularisation. Clearly the religious revival in the Islamic world and its political repercussions meant that religion was still a factor in world politics – and within ...

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socialism and consumer choice

04.17.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

A voice from the past, which I came across when reworking my consumerist critique of capitalism for publication: Douglas Jay – often misread as an advocat for paternalistic state planning (Richart Toye’s got more on this here) – in his 1938/1947 book The Socialist Case has this to say: ‘Socialists have been inclined to depreciate ...

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Veblen in the Inner City: On the Normality of Looting (2)

12.02.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

… just out in the latest Sociological Research Online … http://www.socresonline.org.uk/16/4/22.html Abstract: Drawing on Veblen’s concept of ‘pecuniary prowess’ I will argue that the August riots can be understood not so much in terms of protest but as an appropriation of the underlying acquisitive logic of capitalism. The violent realisation of that logic across class ...

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Towards a Consumerist Critique of Capitalism (and a Socialist Defence of Consumer Culture)

11.16.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

update 19th may 2013 slightly improved version now published in ephemera http://www.academia.edu/1303458/towards_a_consumerist_critique_of_capitalism_and_a_socialist_defence_of_consumer_culture   Introduction To suggest a ‘consumerist critique of capitalism’ sounds quite oxymoronic – and even more so a ‘socialist defence of consumer culture’. Consumerism is widely seen as the cultural expression of developed capitalism and Marxist analyses from the 1970s onwards have tried to ...

Names, Mystics, and Consumer Immortality

09.21.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

(updated 9th November 2012) Daniel Smith has an interesting piece on vlogging celebrity in which the issue of subjectivity fetishism and, related to this, how what’s in name is quite important in terms how we construct selfhood. I have already put down some of my thoughts about the implications of the subjectivity fetish, referring to ...

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Veblen in the Inner City: Sense of Entitlement and the Normality of Looting – A Reply to Iain Duncan Smith

09.18.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

update 2nd december 2011: an expanded version of this is now published in sociological research online – available here: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/16/4/22.html The London Riots have been interpreted as symptoms for what went wrong with our society in many ways – as an anomaly. It has been suggested that they are the expression of consumerism gone mad ...

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