work in progress in social theory and cultural sociology

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 ...

new: the journal of democratic socialism

10.21.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

here’s the agenda The aim of of journal is to carry discussion of democratic socialism in theory and practice, but also democratic socialist views of the world. We welcome art as well as social and political commentary. We welcome journalistic writing as well as academic submissions. We encourage submissions, from academics, whether employed or students, from ...

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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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A neoliberal sense of entitlement

09.14.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

I think Hall (see previous entry) is wrong on the neoliberal programme of Cameron and Osborne in at least one respect. It is not about simply about cutting back government influence and interference so that the wealthy are free to dispose of their wealth as they please. Just as the New Labour before them they ...

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Hall on Cameron and Osborne

09.13.2011 · Posted in social justice

Stuart Hall has (in yesterday’s Guardian) come out with a condemnation of the Coalition agenda as a “March of the Neoliberals” – a straightforward implementation of neoliberal ideology: Neoliberalism is grounded in the “free, possessive individual”, with the state cast as tyrannical and oppressive. The welfare state, in particular, is the arch enemy of freedom. ...

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Commerce of the Soul – a Mevlevi line

09.11.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

The following is a line from the small Turkish section of the Rebâbnâme of the sufi poet Sultan Veled (son of Mevlânâ), followed by my feeble attempt at transliteration and E. J. W. Gibb’s translation: كندوزندن يوز صورت بر جان الر *  شهر الر بازار الر دكان الر (Gibb 1909: 2) Kendüzinden yüz surat bir ...

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Consumer eccentricity and subjectivity fetish

As I am gearing up to re-working my paper on Plessner’s notion of eccentricity and Campbell’s analysis of romantic consumer selfhood I notice that a reference to Sennett’s Fall of Public Man is not quite contemporary enough to highlight the concerns about the dissolution from ceremonial division of (mostly public) roles and the (mostly private) ...

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Tolerance – veering off into a socialist defence of consumer culture…

09.03.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

[this post is a bit of a mess – it’s initial occasion was Emre Kongar’s article (see below) on tolerance and secularism. My reaction to it got, somehow, entangled with my plan to write a socialist defence of consumer culture…] A distant colleague of mine is fond of saying that he will dance on the ...

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İnce Memed and Paternalism

09.01.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

I just found out that somebody (from behind a pseudonym) has accused me of engaging in “fascist cultural production” – mainly on the basis that I reject “paternalistic systems of domination”  which my accuser identifies with “all non-capitalist relations”. That’s nonsense, of course, as fascist cultural production is, for the most part, precisely this: a ...

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