work in progress in social theory and cultural sociology

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

reactionary anti-capitalism

07.28.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve always found the ease with which some who would count themselves towards the radical left take to Schmitt’s “critique of democracy” or Heidegger’s “critique of technology”. Johannes Thumfart highlights a very worrying example in die tageszeitung – English version at signandsight. Thumfart sums up the anonymous (and at least in France and Germany celebrated) ...

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The Voice of Sanity

07.26.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

An excellent article by Alan Johnson on the world after Oslo in World Affairs Journal. Here is his conclusion: When the terrible news broke, I recalled the summers I spent at the British Labour Party Young Socialist summer camp in the beautiful Forest of Dean, working-class kids drowning in honey as surely as Evelyn Waugh’s ...

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The fatal attraction of Jacobinism: Žižek as Robespierre

07.24.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

The world we’re going down into, the kind of hate-world, slogan-world. The coloured shirts, the barbed wire, the rubber truncheons. The secret cells where the electric light burns night and day, and the detectives watching you while you sleep.’ (Orwell 1990) Totalitarianism is en vogue again, it seems, as the internationally acclaimed philosopher/psychoanalyst Slavoj Žižek ...

The Fear of the Fairtrade Consumer – An Informed Guess on a Form of Consumer Anxiety, Post-colonial Guilt and Anti-conquest

06.19.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

[Presentation at the Research Workshop “Emerging Issues in Uncertainty and Ethical Consumption”, 13th June 2011, University of Glasgow]  pdf Why Fairtradeand Fear? When first encountering the concept of consumer anxiety in connection with fair trade I was sceptical: It seemed all too vague and not quite clear what consumers are afraid of. The uncertainties said ...

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Consumerism as End of Eternity (In Defence of the Unhappy Consumer’s Pursuit of Infinity)

06.17.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

As this will sound like an all round defence of consumerism, I should start by saying that this is not my aim. So straightaway: consumer capitalism is a problem in terms of its ecological consequences and if those consequences can be mitigated by more social control over the production of consumer goods (aka socialism), I’m ...

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Is the Cult of Health our New Religion?

05.24.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Here’s my answer Health may well have become “our new salvation” (Williams 1998: 440), which we try to achieve through consumerist rituals that are imbued with magical powers. In this respect the healthy body has indeed become a major new religious territory. But there are important differences to traditional religiosity. The new consumerist self-religiosity of ...

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Žižek on fairtrade and charity

04.25.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Sometimes you can’t not have an opinion, however hard you try. One thing you can’t not have an opinion on if you’ve written about ethical consumption is Žižek’s denunciation of it. I’ve tried, but got asked so often whether I’ve seen his talk and what do I think that I now have taken the five or ...

Discontented with Happiness

04.12.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Today I’ve woken up to the news that the UK branch of the Action for Happiness was launched. What a coincidence – I’ve just finished reading Isaac Asimov’s The End of Eternity, which is a great book – and also a great manifesto against engineering “happiness”. Mind you – I don’t have anything against the ...

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Ethical selving determined?

01.11.2011 · Posted in Uncategorized

Apparently I am a “macro-structural” determinist now. I wasn’t aware of that , but according Reijonen 2011 (in an article titled ‘Environmentally friendly consumer: from determinism to emergence” in the section on “macro-structuralism”) my article on “Ethical selving in cultural contexts” makes me just that: Several scholars advocate a particular type of dominant social paradigm (Kilbourne ...

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