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Radical Hospitality by Danya Lagos

In philosophy, politics, society, sociology on March 24, 2015 at 19:51

From: Radical Hospitality by Danya Lagos, Hypocrite Reader, http://www.hypocritereader.com

Hospitality, or the art of welcoming and caring for others, must be rescued from its current entanglement in stratification and alienation. Today’s approach to hospitality invites people into a hosting paradigm that emphasizes the host’s ability to provide “whole,” “fresh,” “slow,” and “local” food experiences. This school of entertainment emphasizes the artisanal, the crafted, and the shared enjoyment of these as an extension of the host’s character and ethical standing. It nods towards feel-good liberal politics with a concern over GMO labeling, fair trade (!!!) products, and a kinder, gentler way of slaughtering animals for our consumption. We have created entire industries devoted to certifications of all sorts, to verify precisely how humanely that leg of lamb was slaughtered, precisely how kosher the cheese is, and precisely how genetically unmodified those lentils are. Under this new technology of hospitality, the host is no longer one whose primary concern is to invite and attend to the other. The host has become a producer and hoarder of cultural capital, and guests have become mere instruments in this venture—even if they often serve as critics or evaluators. Large, open gatherings are increasingly replaced by smaller, rarer, highly exclusive dinner parties. Guests are carefully selected, excluded, and engaged. At best, they are partners in a cultural wealth-generating exchange. At worst, they are excluded altogether from our kitchens and dining rooms if they cannot contribute to or be willing, passive, assenting consumers of this performance of class.

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Reposted with permission from: Hypocrite Reader

Here’s to being here by Lars Mensel

In philosophy, photography, society, technology on March 24, 2015 at 19:41

From: Here’s to being here by Lars Mensel, The European, http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com

The staggering number of smartphone images is of course due to the omnipresence of camera-enabled phones. A popular saying among photographers goes: “The best camera is the one you have with you”, and so the increased number of photos and videos is simply true to the fact that people can easily reach for a camera whenever the opportunity presents itself. It is also due to the emergence of what writer Craig Mod has dubbed “networked lenses” – smartphone cameras that allow for instantaneous sharing with the world. They have enabled a willingness on many peoples’ parts to always keep cameras rolling. In the New Yorker, Nick Paumgarten wrote about how this trend is changing our experience of reality. “Life is footage”, he remarks.

Which brings us back to the smoke-filled cabin of Welch’s flight. What does it mean that his first impulse was to start documenting? As the examples show, constantly filming and taking photos is a development many people have noticed and discussed. But the reactions have been all too predictable: They are often a call to be more mindful in the face of technological progress, to consciously make room for the analogue world in a digital time

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Reposted with permission from: The European

Rebelling against the neoliberal university by Andrew Stones

In education, Europe, society, universities on March 24, 2015 at 19:28

From: Rebelling against the neoliberal university by Andrew Stones, ‘cafébabel’, http://www.cafebabel.co.uk

Higher education across Europe is becoming increasingly marketised. Universities are becoming centres for profit rather than education. Recent events at universities in England and the Netherlands have shown that students are trying to push back against this tide of bureaucracy and unaccountability.

Two scenes of student activism in the UK – in 2012, at the height of Occupy Wall Street, a group of students at the University of Warwick in England stage their own occupy protest on the lawn of the university’s Senate House. A tent is erected and several academics from almost every department agree to speak on subjects ranging from Marxism to poetry.

The response from the university’s security staff is a mixture of a strange paternalism and bafflement – they drink tea in their polyester uniforms, unsure of what is really happening or what their job supposedly is. Fast-forward two years – a similar group of students are sitting in the foyer of the same building, quietly discussing a national demonstration held earlier that day. The same security staff arrive in specially modified vehicles with sirens and hi-vis paint jobs; they explain the police have been called for a separate incident so no one is that alarmed. Seconds later the police do come – only it’s unclear what they want as they immediately start pushing the students, spraying OC gas in their faces and holding tasers above their heads.

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Reposted with permission from: ‘cafébabel’

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