Saturday, 3 October 2009

Reprogramming the doomsday machine

Appropriate I think after the posting on "The Coming Insurrection". I'm finding Adbusters "Thought Control in Economics" issue particularly rewarding as they foreground many alternative economic models. In light of our discussions of late derridata, can I ask you if you have checked out Sage's Review of Radical Political Economics (?). I'm trying to come to terms with an edited collection on political sociology at the moment too. The more I see these kinds of things out there, it makes me wonder why the Lacanian pop cultural criticism that dominates the contemporary scene apparently fails to engage with these traditions. I'm bemused by Zizek who is known to comment that his work has "nothing to do with sociology" (thanks to Goran Therborn's alert on this), but given his Eastern European background, I wonder at the opportunism of this statement. What about, for example, the so-called Budapest School of Heller et al that had to leave because of state repression of their work (one of whom ended up in the sociology department of my old Alma Mata)? Has Zizek ever been favorably disposed towards other theorists, such as Erik Olin Wright? Somehow I doubt it. Anything that smacks of "policy proposals" is not Zizek's remit it seems. Theorists in the blogosphere preoccupied with the abstract nature of capital seemingly aren't willing to break with Zizek's reading method either (no sociology/radical economists to speak of).

Unsurprisingly though, I found it relatively easy to find clips exemplary of the pop Lacanian approach in action, and I still have to admit they are not without their charms (in demonstrating that advertising is based on making you feel "lack"/inadequate, which in turn stimulates desire to buy as a solution). But we'd still like to see a broadening of the critical approach as well, inclusive of its institutional base in the university. In that respect I am willing to give some assent to the Paul Bowman stuff you sent me, by way of the kickitover manifesto.

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