anagnori

Posts Tagged ‘society’

Anaïs Nin on Why Understanding the Individual is the Key to Understanding Mass Movements by Maria Popova

In books, humanities, psychology, society, sociology on January 1, 2013 at 19:09

From: Anaïs Nin on Why Understanding the Individual is the Key to Understanding Mass Movements by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, http://www.brainpickings.org

There is an opacity in individual relationships, and an insistence that the writer make the relation of the particular to the whole which makes for a kind of farsightedness. I believe in just the opposite. Every individual is representative of the whole, a symptom, and should be intimately understood, and this would give a far greater understanding of mass movements and sociology.

Also, this indifference to the individual, total lack of interest in intimate knowledge of the isolated, unique human being, atrophies human reactions and humanism. Too much social consciousness and not a bit of insight into human beings.

Read the post

Reposted with permission from: Brain Pickings

Advertisements

Breaking the Silence by Pratap Bhanu Mehta

In Asia, ethics, government, philosophy, politics, sociology on October 24, 2012 at 22:32

From: Breaking the Silence. Why we don’t talk about inequality—and how to start again By Pratap Bhanu Mehta, The Caravan, http://www.caravanmagazine.in

The Principle of equality is having a revolutionary effect on life in contemporary India.” This was the considered assessment of the eminent American political scientist Myron Weiner, writing for Foreign Affairs in 1962. In a society still marked by egregiously obscene forms of inequality, the term “revolutionary” seems extravagant, even five decades after Weiner pronounced his judgment. But determining what constitutes “revolutionary” social change depends on how that change is measured—and in the second decade after Independence, the distance that India had travelled from its starting point would have indeed seemed immense. Political equality had been enshrined in the Constitution, untouchability had been delegitimised, political representation was widely shared, zamindari had been abolished, a new development paradigm was instituted, and the state defined its goals in terms of common welfare.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: The Caravan

What keeps societies together by Richard Sennett and Richard David Precht

In anthropology, civilisation, community, philosophy, society on October 7, 2012 at 03:53

From: What keeps societies together by Richard Sennett and Richard David Precht, CafeBabel, cafebabel.com

Last night the anthropologist Richard Sennett talked to philosopher Richard David Precht on the main stage in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele about his new book Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation. The event took place as a part of the International Literature Festival and brought together many people curious to experience the scholars in person and to find out more about the nature of cooperation as a social process and about the exclusively human problems of living together on a daily basis.

The conversation was held in two languages and translated simultaneously. It clearly pointed out to the differences of academic discourses within these two cultural and linguistic environments. Sennett spoke slowly and always made his points very clear using examples from other disciplines and arts. Precht spoke fast, made use of monster compounds and long sentences typical for the German language and drew many references to the history of mankind and philosophical theories. Both of them showed their sense of humor and made it a highly interesting and very inspiring hour and a half.

“If I was to write the book a year later, I would have written about the European crisis” started Richard Sennett when introducing his newly published work. So it would have been about the crisis because it perfectly illustrates the theory that our societies are characterized with lack of social understanding of the Other and of what cooperation is about. One of his main points is that cooperation is founded in natural behavior and that it is not ethical – i.e. we need to cooperate in order to survive. We would not be able to learn anything if we did not cooperate with our teachers. Our skills of cooperation tend however to be very weak if we have to use them towards people who are different than ourselves. It is easy to be nice to people who are like us, claims Sennett but what is a real challenge is to develop a skill to cooperate in order to cross cultural borders. According to him, this very skill is a bridge, a mediator between the natural and the cultural. Cooperation does not equal ethical behavior, nor is it based on altruism (which does not involve an exchange and which is not dialogic) and insofar it is against the principles of protestant ethics.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: CafeBabel

Traditional Values and Human Rights in Africa by Leo Igwe

In Africa, culture, ethnicity, gender, politics, religion, society on October 1, 2012 at 01:39

From: Traditional Values and Human Rights in Africa by Leo Igwe, IEET, http://ieet.org

On March 24 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution titled, Promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind in conformity with international human rights laws.’

This resolution, which was proposed by Russia and supported by the OIC states and the Arab League, has been generating heated debates and criticisms mainly because of its ‘grave’ implications for universal human rights.

For instance, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights described the adoption of the resolution as ‘highly dangerous’.  ‘Such a concept’, its states, ‘has been used in the Arab region to justify treating women as second class citizens, female genital mutilation, honor crimes, child marriage and other practices that clearly contradict with(sic) international human rights standards. Does this resolution now mean that such practices are acceptable under international law? I really think it does. Some states have also voiced concerns over the resolution citing that it could lead to cultural relativism. They said it could be used to justify human rights abuses particularly the rights of minorities.

Read the article

Reposted with permission from: IEET

Mental Disorder or Neurodiversity by Aaron Rothstein

In biology, books, nature, psychology, research, science, society on September 30, 2012 at 03:52

From: Mental Disorder or Neurodiversity by Aaron Rothstein, The New Atlantis, http://www.thenewatlantis.com/

One of the most famous stories of H. G. Wells, “The Country of the Blind” (1904), depicts a society, enclosed in an isolated valley amid forbidding mountains, in which a strange and persistent epidemic has rendered its members blind from birth. Their whole culture is reshaped around this difference: their notion of beauty depends on the feel rather than the look of a face; no windows adorn their houses; they work at night, when it is cool, and sleep during the day, when it is hot. A mountain climber named Nunez stumbles upon this community and hopes that he will rule over it: “In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King,” he repeats to himself. Yet he comes to find that his ability to see is not an asset but a burden. The houses are pitch-black inside, and he loses fights to local warriors who possess extraordinary senses of touch and hearing. The blind live with no knowledge of the sense of sight, and no need for it. They consider Nunez’s eyes to be diseased, and mock his love for a beautiful woman whose face feels unattractive to them. When he finally fails to defeat them, exhausted and beaten, he gives himself up. They ask him if he still thinks he can see: “No,” he replies, “That was folly. The word means nothing — less than nothing!” They enslave him because of his apparently subhuman disability. But when they propose to remove his eyes to make him “normal,” he realizes the beauty of the mountains, the snow, the trees, the lines in the rocks, and the crispness of the sky — and he climbs a mountain, attempting to escape.

Wells’s eerie and unsettling story addresses how we understand differences that run deep into the mind and the brain. What one man thinks of as his heightened ability, another thinks of as a disability. This insight about the differences between ways of viewing the world runs back to the ancients: in Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates discusses how insane people experience life, telling Phaedrus that madness is not “simply an evil.” Instead, “there is also a madness which is a divine gift, and the source of the chiefest blessings granted to men.” The insane, Socrates suggests, are granted a unique experience of the world, or perhaps even special access to its truths — seeing it in a prophetic or artistic way.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: The New Atlantis

Auguste Comte – High Priest of Positivism by Caspar Hewett

In Europe, history, humanities, research, science, society, sociology, writers on September 23, 2012 at 07:21

From: Auguste Comte – High Priest of Positivism by Caspar Hewett, The Great Debate, http://thegreatdebate.org.uk

Auguste Comte [1798 – 1857] was the father of Positivism and inventor of the term sociology. He played a key role in the development of the social sciences and was highly influential on thoughts about progress in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Comte believed that the progress of the human mind had followed an historical sequence which he described as the law of three stages; theological, metaphysical and positive. In the first two stages, attempts were made to understand the nature of things through supernatural and metaphysical explanations. In the positive stage, by contrast, observation and experiment became the principal means to search for truth. Applying the law of three stages first to the development of the sciences, Comte later claimed that it applied to human intellectual development in general and that it held the key to the future progress of humanity.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: The Great Debate

Detropia with Amy Goodman and Rachel Grady

In community, documentary, economics, film, interview, media, North America, politics, society on September 19, 2012 at 04:34

From: Detropia: New Doc Takes Intimate Look at Detroit’s Struggle with Manufacturing Collapse, Urban Decay with Amy Goodman and Rachel Grady, Democracy Now!, http://www.democracynow.org

Once known as the Motor City, where the middle class was born, Detroit’s auto industry and manufacturing sector have collapsed. Today the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, facing a thinning population and massive cuts to basic services. The new film “Detropia” takes an intimate look at at some of the city’s former members of the middle class as they struggle to make ends meet and refuse to abandon hope. We’re joined by the film’s co-director, Rachel Grady, a private investigator turned filmmaker who, along with her co-director Heidi Ewing, has made several films, including the Academy Award-nominated “Jesus Camp.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the PBS station WGVU. I’m Amy Goodman, as we turn now to a new documentary about one of Michigan’s hardest-hit cities, Detroit. Once known as the Motor City, where the middle class was born, Detroit’s auto industry and manufacturing sector have collapsed. Today the city is on the verge of bankruptcy, facing a thinning population and massive cuts to basic services.

Well, the new film Detropia takes an intimate look at some of the city’s former members of the middle class as they struggle to make ends meet and refuse to abandon hope. I want to turn for a moment to a clip of Detropia.

REPORTER: This is the downsizing of Detroit. You’re watching it live. These are houses that are never coming back. It’s going back to the prairie, and these houses are just disappearing from the landscape.

GEORGE McGREGOR: I want to show you something. All this is empty. They built a new plant in Mexico and took all the work to Mexico.

NICOLE: For factory support, which is the guys that are making $14.35, their new proposal is $11 an hour, which means they would lose $3.35 an hour on their wage.

AUTO WORKER: Why? What do you think you’re going to feel every day going into work?

REPORTER: One of the big hot-button issues in Detroit is the layout of the city, and right now there’s questions about what parts of the city may be shrunk.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I don’t know if y’all understand, but they’re shutting down schools. They’re shutting down futures, basically.

DETROIT RESIDENT: We’re not going to accept any more downsizing. We want to hear about upsizing, big-sizing, super-sizing Detroit.

MAYOR DAVID BING: It’s going to be difficult. The city is broke. I don’t know how many times I have to say that.

STEVE COY: I mean, we looked at Baltimore. We were looking into New York City. And Detroit came up. We can experiment here.

TOMMY STEPHENS: What happened in Detroit is now spreading throughout. There’s no buffer between the rich and the poor. Only thing left is revolution.

Watch the video

Reposted according to copyright notice from: Democracy Now! website

 

Featured Essay: The Sea by John Zerzan

In civilisation, ecology, Featured, literature, nature, philosophy, poetry, society, writers on September 8, 2012 at 01:01

I have a special post for you today. Throughout the ongoing process of communicating with websites in the hope of receiving permission to repost their content, I had a few wonderful exchanges with writers and researchers. One of them was John Zerzan, author and philosopher, who sent me his latest essay for publication on this website. Enjoy the essay and feel free to comment.

HG

Featured Essay: The Sea by John Zerzan

Last remaining lair of unparalleled wildness. Too big to fail?

The whole world is being objectified, but Melville reminds us of all that remains. “There you stand, lost in the infinite series of the sea.”i What could be more tangible, more of a contrast with being lost in the digital world, where we feel we can never properly come to grips with anything.

Oceans are about time more than space, “as if there were a correlation between going deep and going back.”ii The Deep is solemn; linking, in some way, all that has come before. Last things and first things. “Heaven,” by comparison, is thin and faintly unserious.

“Over All the Face of Earth Main Ocean Flowed,” announced the poem by John Milton.iii Given its 71 percent predominance on this planet, why is our world called Earth instead of Sea? Much of the land, in fact, could be defined as littoral areas where land and sea meet.iv The sea is a textured place, infinite in its moods, forms, energies—and not so easily de-textured. But we see what happens when culture is privileged over place. The sea, where all life began just this side of four billion years ago, must still sustain us. Not only are its waters the original source of life, it also shapes the climate, weather, and temperature of the planet, and therefore the status of terrestrial species.

Read the rest of this entry »

Men in Suits: Fine and Dandy by Paul Sweeten

In civilisation, history, society on August 31, 2012 at 03:57

 

From: Men in Suits: Fine and Dandy by Paul Sweeten, The Oxonian Review, http://www.oxonianreview.org

According to Baudelaire, the Dandy “must live and sleep before a mirror”. The Dandy must always be alert, attentive and fussing over his look because to be a Dandy, as Albert Camus noted, is to be “always in opposition” (a pursuit far more demanding than to be always conforming). In challenging the herd mentality of fashionistas, Dandies were required to be stubbornly unfashionable. Here we find a familiar paradox shared by many “alternative” subgroups. From Dandies to punks, the discord between the libertarian and mimetic compulsions of a group’s members has drawn its associated clothing as both uniforms as well as an antidote to uniformity. The suit has always straddled this divide, and though it remains occasionally daring, it has suffered the transition from innovative style to requisite dresscode in the three centuries of its evolution.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: The Oxonian Review

A rear view of Alfred Hitchcock by Alan Saunders

In culture, film, interview, philosophy, visual arts on August 21, 2012 at 21:39

 

From: A rear view of Alfred Hitchcock by Alan Saunders, The Philosopher’s Zone, ABC Radio National, http://www.abc.net.au

Alan Saunders: Now the action of the movie occurs naturally, given the single-take effect; it occurs more or less in real time, which means that the murder is committed by daylight, and as the time goes on, is discovered at night after a party attended by the parents of the boy they’d murdered. What does this move from daylight to night, what does this have to tell us about the moral world of the movie?

William A. Drumin: The meaning that Hitchcock, as the director, seeks to ascribe to a film, philosophic or otherwise, is how he films it. Now my view is that see these two young killers want to cut themselves off from society, they regard themselves as above society, and that apartment, that closed-in compartment that’s kind of a separate world, as if it said they are the gods of this world you see, disposing of things by their superior intellects, and that kind of thing. So by filming continuously, I feel that Hitchcock is acting to break, to oppose the attempt of those killers. To say, No, you are wrong, society will re-assert its authority. You cannot arbitrarily cut yourself off from the social relationships you see.

You remember at the end of the film how Jimmy Stewart opens the window and fires the three gunshots out of the window? And then you hear the noises from the street filtering up, and the sound of the police siren and so on. That’s a liberating act, because this closed apartment has kind of been a vision of hell, where God and morality has been shut out, and now continuity has been re-established. So I think that in filming continuously, he establishes his stance towards the action of the film.

Listen to the broadcast / read the transcript

Reposted with permission from: ABC Radio National

The ideal of community: belief without proof (Arendt, 1929) by Philippe Theophanidis

In community, philosophy, sociology on August 18, 2012 at 05:37

 

From: The ideal of community: belief without proof (Arendt, 1929) by Philippe Theophanidis, aphelis, http://aphelis.net

Though this equality is only implicit in the earthly city it permits us to understand interdependence, which essentially defines social life in the worldly community. This interdependence shows in the mutual give and take in which people live together.12 The attitude of individuals toward each other is characterized here by belief (crederer), as distinguished from all real or potential knowledge.13 We comprehend all history, that is, all human and temporal acts by believing―which means by trusting, but never by understanding (intelligere). This belief in the other is the belief that he will prove himself in our common future. Every earthly city depends upon this proof. Yet this belief that arises from our mutual interdependence precedes any possible proof.14 The continued existence of humankind does not rest on the proof. Rather, it rests on necessary belief, without which social life become impossible.15

Read the post

Reposted with permission from: Philippe Theophanidis

The Role of Authority by Scott Hershovitz

In philosophy, society, sociology on August 6, 2012 at 20:54

 

From: The Role of Authority by Scott Hershovitz, Philosophers’ Imprint, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/phimp

The most influential account of authority – Joseph Raz’s service conception – is an account of the role of authority. Most philosophers hold that authority (of the practical sort) consists in a right to rule, such that subjects are obligated to obey. But they disagree over what it takes for a person to qualify as an authority in that sense.

Read the essay

Assemblages: Félix Guattari and Machinic Animism by Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato

In anthropology, culture, nature, philosophy, psychology, society on July 28, 2012 at 18:36

 

From: Assemblages: Félix Guattari and Machinic Animism by Angela Melitopoulos and Maurizio Lazzarato, e-flux.com

There is a certain very particular “animist” sensibility that one could call delirium. Of course it is a delirium by our standards; it is something that cuts psychotics off from a social reality that is completely dominated by language—that is, from social relations—thus effectively separating them from the world. But this brings them closer to the other world from which we are totally cut off. It is for this reason that Félix maintained this laudatory view of animism—a praise of animism. And obviously this leads us to speak about art. For Félix, art was the strongest means of putting something such as the Chaosmos into practice.

Read the discussion

Marilyn Monroe’s Unpublished Poems by Maria Popova

In books, poetry, psychology, society on July 28, 2012 at 18:20

 

From: Marilyn Monroe’s Unpublished Poems: The Complex Private Person Behind the Public Persona by Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, http://www.brainpickings.org

Her personal library contained four hundred books, including classics like Dostoyevsky and Milton, and modern staples like Hemingway and Kerouac. While she wasn’t shooting, she was taking literature and history night classes at UCLA. And yet, the public image of a breezy, bubbly blonde endures as a caricature of Monroe’s character, standing in stark contrast with whatever deep-seated demons led her to take her own life.

Read the post

Water by John Protevi

In government, history, philosophy, society on July 10, 2012 at 01:15

 

From: Water by John Protevi, rhizomes.15 winter 2007, http://www.rhizomes.net

[3] For Deleuze and for Deleuze and Guattari, being is production. The production process (intensive difference driving material flows resulting in actual or extensive forms) is structured by virtual Ideas or multiplicities or “abstract machines.” Multiplicities are composed of mutually defined elements with linked rates of change [“differential relations”] peppered with singularities. In mathematical modeling of physical systems, singularities are points at which the graph of a function changes direction. Singularities in models represent thresholds in intensive processes, where a system undergoes a qualitative change of behavior.  Being as production is symbolized in Difference and Repetition by the slogan, “the world is an egg” (251). What this means is that “spatio-temporal dynamisms” or intensive processes are that which actualizes or “differenciates” Ideas. These processes, however, are hidden by the constituted qualities and extensities of actual products. The example of embryology shows this differenciation of differentiation, as the dynamic of egg’s morphogenesis implies a virtual Idea unfolding in such a way that there are things only an embryo can do or withstand. The world is thus a progressive determination going from virtual to actual. Thought, however, is vice-diction or counter-effectuation: it goes the other way from production. It is a matter of establishing the Idea / multiplicity of something—”constructing a concept”—by  moving from extensity through intensity to virtuality.

Read the essay

Women less likely to endorse independence in gender-unequal societies (phys.org)

In anthropology, culture, gender, politics, society on July 3, 2012 at 18:08

 

From: Women less likely to endorse independence in gender-unequal societies, phys.org, http://phys.org/news

Women in countries with great gender inequality are more likely than men to support authoritarian values, according to a new study of 54 countries. The shift away from beliefs in independence and freedom is the result, social psychologists say, of authoritarianism helping such women cope with a threatening environment.

“If a person is authoritarian, they are more likely to follow what group leaders ask them to do, and to follow the crowd more generally,” says Mark Brandt of DePaul University in Chicago, a co-author of the paper just published online in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Prior research has found that adopting authoritarian beliefs gives people a sense of connection to others and protection against threats. “It might be one way to compensate for the social devaluing that is associated with being a member of a disadvantaged group.”

Read more

What Is Normal? by Simon Critchley

In economics, philosophy, politics, society on July 2, 2012 at 18:32

 

From: What Is Normal? The surprising power of the political imagination by Simon Critchley, Adbusters Magazine, http://www.adbusters.org

We are living through a dramatic and ever-widening separation between normal state politics and power. Many citizens still believe that state politics has power. They believe that governments, elected through a parliamentary system, represent the interests of those who elect them and that governments have the power to create effective, progressive change. But they don’t and they can’t.

We do not live in democracies. We inhabit plutocracies: government by the rich. The corporate elites have overwhelming economic power with no political accountability. In the past decades, with the complicity and connivance of the political class, the Western world has become a kind of college of corporations linked together by money and serving only the interests of their business leaders and shareholders.

Read more

 

The Objectification of Women. A Conversation with Martha Nussbaum by Patricia Gras & Rose Mary Salum

In civilisation, ethnicity, gender, interview, philosophy, psychology on July 1, 2012 at 02:24

 

From: The Objectification of Women. A Conversation with Martha Nussbaum by Patricia Gras & Rose Mary Salum, LITERAL, http://www.literalmagazine.com

… I have studied the emotion of disgust a lot. Research on disgust shows that all of us are uncomfortable with the signs that mirror animals, that show we are mortal. And so the bodily fluids, the corpse, all of those things that psychologists call “animal reminders,” are heavily avoided. They are viewed as contaminating and they are stigmatized. In a second step, people who somehow come to represent those stigmatized things, fluids, decay and so on, are subordinated as a result. Now, in many cultures it seems pretty arbitrary how those groups get constructed in that role, maybe it is because of fear or anxiety, sometimes it is Jews, sometimes it is lower castes in Indian society, sometimes Muslims in India today, but women, in more or less all cultures, come in for that kind of projected disgust, as I put it. That is to say they are associated with the things about the body that are feared and viewed as contaminating because they give birth but also because they are seen as sights of fluid, the menstrual period, they are also seen as the receptacles of male semen, which is something that males feel anxious about. For all these reasons, the researchers who work on disgust think that misogyny is connected ultimately with people’s own anxiety about their own bodies.

Read more

Hegel on Marriage by Slavoj Žižek

In gender, humanities, philosophy, sexuality, sociology, writers on June 18, 2012 at 21:58

 

From: Hegel on Marriage by Slavoj Žižek, e-flux, http://www.e-flux.com/

The limitation of Hegel’s notion of sexuality is clearly discernible in his theory of marriage (from his Philosophy of Right), which nonetheless deserves a close reading: beneath the surface of the standard bourgeois notion of marriage lurk many unsettling implications. 1 While a subject enters marriage voluntarily, surrendering his/her autonomy by immersing him/herself into its immediate/substantial unity of family that functions with regard to its outside as one person, the function of family is the exact opposite of such a substantial unity: to educate those born in it to abandon (their parental) family and pursue their path alone. The first lesson of marriage is that that the ultimate goal of every substantial ethical unity is to dissolve itself by way of giving rise to individuals who will assert their full autonomy against the substantial unity that gave birth to them.

This surrender of autonomous individuality is the reason Hegel opposes those (Kant, among others) who insist on the contractual nature of marriage: “Though marriage begins in contract, it is precisely a contract to transcend the standpoint of contract, the standpoint from which persons are regarded in their individuality as self-subsistent units. The identification of personalities, whereby the family becomes one person and its members become its accidents (though substance is in essence the relation of accidents to itself), is the ethical mind.”

Read more

War minus the shooting: Russia vs Poland at Euro 2012 by Zygmunt Dzieciolowski

In history, news, politics, society on June 16, 2012 at 00:19

 

From: War minus the shooting: Russia vs Poland at Euro 2012 by Zygmunt Dzieciolowski, openDemocracy, http://www.opendemocracy.net

‘War minus the shooting’ was George Orwell’s definition of sport, unpleasantly brought once more to mind during the recent battles between Russian and Polish football fans. There is a long history of animosity over sporting events between the two countries, but there could be a way forward, says Zygmunt Dzieciolowski.

The streets of Warsaw turned into a battlefield on Tuesday night, as Russian and Polish football fans clashed before, during and after a Euro 2012 group stage match. The scale of the violence was such that Vladimir Putin took the unusual step of phoning Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to appeal to his sense of responsibility, and to remind him that, as host country, Poland was under an obligation to guarantee the safety of all football fans who came to watch the championship. Putin also sent his special envoy, Mikhail Fedotov, to Poland to help Polish authorities investigate the clashes.

No other match at Euro 2012 has produced such tensions and emotions as this clash between Poland and Russia. But that perhaps is of little surprise, given the often unhappy history between the countries and the fact that for weeks before the game the Polish media had been so full of speculation about it.

After the match, Poles had many questions. Why were Russian fans allowed to use old Soviet symbols on their flags and t-shirts? Should the hammer and sickle motifs not be read as incendiary communist propaganda? And should the Russian fans be allowed to organize a patriotic march on their way to the Warsaw National stadium to celebrate Russia’s Independence Day (the anniversary of the Russian Supreme Soviet declaration of Independence passed on 12 June 1991), which unfortunately coincided with the match day?

Read more

A Theater Full of Bikers: What Would You Do? by Jay Livingston

In psychology, society, sociology, video on June 15, 2012 at 22:34

 

From : A Theater Full of Bikers: What Would You Do? by Jay Livingston, The Society Pages, http://thesocietypages.org

So sociological point one is that we are social animals.  Excluded we feel fear, accepted and included we feel comfort.  Point two is that laughter is social.  Here (and in many other situations) it’s a kind of tension-meter.  There ad had no joke that I was laughing at.  It was just a release from tension.  No tension, no laughter.

The ad also illustrates “definition of the situation.”  The rigged set-up shatters the couples’ standard definition of going to the movies. They are anxious not just because they are different but because they nave no workable definition and therefore no clear sense of what to do.

Finally, the ad raises the issue of stereotypes.  Stereotypes may actually have some general statistical accuracy.  The trouble is that the stereotype converts a statistical tendency to absolute certainty.  We react as though we expect all members of the stereotype to be that way all the time or most of the time.  Is it reasonable when you see 148 bikers to be fearful even to the point of leaving (I think some of the couples didn’t take the available seats)?

Read more & watch the video here

Frontline Debates “Four Horsemen” by Jim Treadway

In economics, film, politics, society, video, visual arts on June 13, 2012 at 22:56

 

From: Frontline Debates “Four Horsemen” by Jim Treadway, Frontline Club, http://www.frontlineclub.com (watch the debate on the website)

Daniel Ben-Ami journalist and author of Ferraries for All: In Defense of Economic Progress, argued that the documentaries biggest mistake was to underestimate the role of the state in today’s crisis. Emeritus economics professor Victoria Chick, meanwhile, commented on the documentary’s suggestion that we return to the gold standard.

“I sort of flinched,” she said. “Everything I’ve always known about the gold standard was so repressive, and it was a very deflationary regime. [I] like the courageous quality of Minsky who said, ‘alright, I know banks are unstable, but they’re worth it, because they provide productive investment.’ Well that was when they did lend for productive investment. And now they no longer do.”

Giving voice to the sentiment of the evening, Mark Braund author of Four Horsemen: The Survival Manual complained,

“We have democratic institutions which aren’t delivering democratic outcomes. And that’s because I think too few people are interested enough to engage with what are quite complex ideas about how the ecomony works.”

“X-box, cheap lager, and mass media” were Ashcroft’s culprits for the public’s malaise in the face of a system that he believes is increasingly stacked against them.

At several points, panelists emphasized that change would have to come “from the bottom up,” but as one audience member regretted, what change “from the bottom up” really meant seemed hard to elucidate.

Read more & watch the debate

 

America’s Problem of Assimilation by Bruce Thornton

In civilisation, culture, ethnicity, history, immigration, politics on June 8, 2012 at 21:08

 

America’s Problem of Assimilation by Bruce Thornto, A Hoover Institution Journal, http://www.hoover.org

The melting pot metaphor arose in the eighteenth century, sometimes appearing as the “smelting pot” or “crucible,” and it described the fusion of various religious sects, nationalities, and ethnic groups into one distinct people: Ex pluribus unum. In 1782, French immigrant J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur wrote that in America, “individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, whose labors and posterity will one day cause great changes in the world.”

A century later, Ralph Waldo Emerson used the “melting pot” image to describe “the fusing process” that “transforms the English, the German, the Irish emigrant into an American . . . The individuality of the immigrant, almost even his traits of race and religion, fuse down in the democratic alembic like chips of brass thrown into the melting pot.” The phrase gained wider currency in 1908, during the great wave of Slavic, Jewish, and Italian immigration, when Israel Zangwill’s play The Melting Pot was produced. In it, a character enthuses, “America is God’s Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re-forming!”

Read more here

Intellectuals and power: A conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze

In interview, philosophy, society on June 2, 2012 at 07:34

 

Intellectuals and power: A conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze – Joseph Kay – libcom.org

DELEUZE: Precisely. A theory is exactly like a box of tools. It has nothing to do with the signifier. It must be useful. It must function. And not for itself. If no one uses it, beginning with the theoretician himself (who then ceases to be a theoretician), then the theory is worthless or the moment is inappropriate. We don’t revise a theory, but construct new ones; we have no choice but to make others. It is strange that it was Proust, an author thought to be a pure intellectual, who said it so clearly: treat my book as a pair of glasses directed to the outside; if they don’t suit you, find another pair; I leave it to you to find your own instrument, which is necessarily an investment for combat.

FOUCAULT: Isn’t this difficulty of finding adequate forms of struggle a result of the fact that we continue to ignore the problem of power? After all, we had to wait until the nineteenth century before we began to understand the nature of exploitation, and to this day, we have yet to fully comprehend the nature of power. It may be that Marx and Freud cannot satisfy our desire for understanding this enigmatic thing which we call power, which is at once visible and invisible, present and hidden, ubiquitous. Theories of government and the traditional analyses of their mechanisms certainly don’t exhaust the field where power is exercised and where it functions. The question of power re- mains a total enigma. Who exercises power? And in what sphere? We now know with reasonable certainty who exploits others, who receives the profits, which people are involved, and we know how these funds are reinvested.

Read more here

“On Madness” by Leon Tolstoy, 1910

In philosophy, psychology, society on May 22, 2012 at 06:56

 

“On Madness” by Leon Tolstoy, 1910 – APHELIS

On one hand, communication is destruction: this has been the case from the first use of a biface stone all the way to Georges Bataille. On the other hand, communication is helpful. This aspect appears in Tolstoy’s quote: together, we’re working very hard to forget our “own madness”. This property of the communication process is very clearly identify in this quote from Vilém Flusser:

The purpose of human communication is to make us forget the meaningless context in which we are completely alone and incommunicado, that is, the world in which we are condemned to solitary confinement and death: the world of “nature.”

Human communication is an artistic technique whose intention it is to make us forget the brutal meaninglessness of a life condemned to death. By “nature,” man is a solitary animal, because he knows that he will die and that his community will not matter in the hour of his death: everyone must die alone. Moreover, every hour is potentially the hour of death. Certainly, no one can live with the knowledge of this fundamen- tal solitude and meaninglessness. Human communication spins a veil around us in the form of the codified world. This veil is made from sci- ence and art, philosophy and religion, and it is spun increasingly denser, so that we forget our solitude and death, including the deaths of others whom we love. In short, man communicates with others. He is a “politi- cal animal,” not because he is a social animal, but because he is a solitary animal who cannot live in solitude.

Read more here

Who owns your genes?

In ethics, medicine, philosophy, society on May 21, 2012 at 05:30

 

Who owns your genes? – Justin Oakley & Alan Saunders – The Philosopher’s Zone, Radio National

Alan Saunders: Now, when it comes to confidentiality, we have to ask, don’t we, whether genetic counsellors can breach patient confidentiality to disclose the results of genetic tests, say to, in the case of genetic disorder, to relatives who are likely to be affected by the same genetic disorder.

Justin Oakley: Well, that’s right, and this is interesting because I guess we often assume that genetic information is our own personal information, that we kind of own it and that we as individuals should be able to have control over who gets access to that information, but of course in a lot of these conditions, say in the case of an inherited predisposition for bowel cancer, it can also be an indication that perhaps a relative, like a parent, might also have a gene for that condition, and so in the kinds of cases where it’s particularly difficult for genetic counsellors to know what to do, they’re the cases where perhaps an adult, perhaps a young adult in their twenties, has obtained a test for perhaps bowel cancer and the test results have come back and indicated that they do have the gene that predisposes them for that, but that that adult’s relationship with, say, their father has broken down and so perhaps the patient is not keen for the information to be passed on. It’s in that kind of situation where the genetic counsellor faces an ethical dilemma about whether or not to pass on the information to the father perhaps early enough so that the father can obtain some kind of treatment for it.

Read more here

The hijab or the bikini: the shaping of young girls’ sexuality

In culture, gender, society, sociology on May 17, 2012 at 11:05

 

The hijab or the bikini: the shaping of young girls’ sexuality – Rahila Gupta – opendemocracy.net

Dr Anat Scolnicov, a law academic, demonstrates that ‘parents have a presumptive right to determine their offspring’s religious identity’ by analysing legal approaches to adoption, an extreme case scenario when the child loses its connection with the birth family, and yet attempts are made to retain its original religious identity. In Britain, social workers are obliged to take into account ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious factors. Scolnicov argues that ‘Protection of religious identity is rarely protection of the exercise of individual choice.’  It is about protection of group rights over individual rights. In some rare cases such as the children of the Australian aboriginal community or Native Americans, who have been decimated by genocide, the community might cease to exist if their children were consistently adopted by outsiders. But these are ethnic and cultural questions rather than religious ones. However, the argument that the community will be decimated is used by some Muslims in support of their right to veil their children. A Muslim mother fears that, “Our enemies understand only too well that our children represent the future of Islam in the West, a future they wish to extinguish. So it’s not surprising, that in this war on Islam our enemies attack our children and their right to Islam”.

Read more here

Sociologists Take the Times – Alex Casey

In society, sociology on May 16, 2012 at 00:08

 

Sociologists Take the Times – Alex Casey – The Society Pages

This increasing tendency to hire professionals to take on personal tasks, Hochschild writes, has some unexpected consequences. She describes our ever-increasing relationship with the free market as a self-perpetuating cycle:

The more anxious, isolated and time-deprived we are, the more likely we are to turn to paid personal services. To finance these extra services, we work longer hours. This leaves less time to spend with family, friends and neighbors; we become less likely to call on them for help, and they on us. And, the more we rely on the market, the more hooked we become on its promises.

Read more here

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, A Rebellious World or a New Dark Age?

In economics, political science, society on May 9, 2012 at 03:50

 

A Rebellious World or a New Dark Age? – Noam Chomsky – TomDispatch.com

The fact is that, in a country whose security forces are up-armored to the teeth from the Mexican border to Union Square, just behind any set of marchers, you can feel the unease of those in power, edging up to fear.  And no wonder.  We remain in a “recovery” that’s spinning on a dime.  Let the Eurozone falter and begin to fall, the Chinese housing bubble pop, or the Persian Gulf go up in flames, and hold onto your signs.  Like Bloomberg in the Big Apple, many mayors sent in their paramilitaries (with a helping hand from the Department of Homeland Security) to get rid of the “troublemakers.”  Only problem: their real problems run so much deeper and when the next “moment” comes, Occupy could look like a march in the park (which, in many inspirational ways, it largely was).  In the meantime, the streets increasingly belong to the weaponized.  Americans who protest blur into the “terrorists” who, since 9/11, have been the obsession of what passes for law enforcement.

So the world is now indeed splitting into a plutonomy and a precariat — in the imagery of the Occupy movement, the 1% and the 99%. Not literal numbers, but the right picture. Now, the plutonomy is where the action is and it could continue like this.

Read more here

%d bloggers like this: