Open Access

Most of Gary's work is freely available to read and download either here, in the OA archive CSeARCH or in Coventry University's online repository CURVE here 

performative project Janneke Adema has put together, based on our ‘The Political Nature of the Book: On Artists’ Books and Radical Open Access’ article for New Formations, Number 78, Summer, 2013. 

Radical Open Access network

Monday
Apr272015

Post-Welfare Capitalism and the Uberfication of the University I: Socialism for the Wealthy, Capitalism for the Rest 

(Post-Welfare Capitalism and the Uberfication of the University is a series of 3 posts. Together they constitute the draft of an essay, which is itself the first part of a larger project on capitalism and inhumanism)

 

At first the financial crisis that began in 2008-2009 looked as if it was going to constitute a major a threat to the credibility and long-term viability of neoliberalism. After all, how could the majority of people continue to have faith in free-market capitalism and its ability to deliver growth and prosperity, when it had so visibly brought the world to the brink of economic disaster? Viewed from the vantage point of only a few years later and things have taken on a very different hue. Now what the financial crisis seems to have done is given the champions of neoliberalism an opportunity to carry out, with renewed vigour, their programme of privatisation, deregulation, and reduction to a minimum of the state, public sector and welfare. 

We are thus faced with a situation in which the debt of the 1% – the banks having been bailed out to the tune of over £1 trillion of public money in the UK – is being paid off through a process of social austerity, with the debt of the rest of society, the 99%, enlarged to apply to even the most basic aspects of life: healthcare, social welfare and education. The National Health Service (NHS), firefighters’ pensions and local authority libraries are thus all included on the list of things we can apparently no longer afford to pay for as a society.   So bad has the situation become that the British state has actually refused to take responsibility for feeding its own population. That role now falls to the charities running the food banks. As a result, the Red Cross is engaged in food aid in the UK for the first time since World War Two. The success of large discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl (who in the last five years have doubled their portion of the British supermarket spend to 10%), Poundland and Primark provides further evidence of the impact of austerity and high levels of household debt on living standards. Yet not only is the degree of risk and debt born by the 99% being enlarged, it also is being extended into the future. This is occurring most notably in the form of the student debt created by the introduction of tuition fees. According to the latest estimates, many of today’s undergraduates will owe around £44,000 by the time they graduate.  

Public money that might otherwise have been spent on food, healthcare, welfare and education (not to mention art and culture) is thus being cut because of the proclaimed need for austerity. Instead it is used to pay to cover for the failures of privately owned businesses. With over 400 people at Barclays Bank alone earning more than £1 million (compare this to Japan, where fewer than 300 executives are paid that amount nationally), it is clearly not the bankers in the UK who are being punished for the mistakes of financial capitalism.  It is the students, users of public healthcare, trade union members, and those sections of the population who rely on benefits or are on low incomes: the in-work poor, as they have come to be known. Indeed, because of deregulation, the weakening of the power of the trade unions, and the flourishing of insecure forms of self-employment along with part-time, hourly-paid and zero-hour contracts (there are currently 700,000 people in the UK who are working in jobs that don’t have guaranteed hours), many citizens fall into both categories as a result of not being paid enough to live on.  

Thanks not least to the way privately owned businesses, including both the banks and the rail operators, continue to receive substantial handouts and subsidies from the taxpayer, this approach to governing society has been characterised as ‘socialism for the already wealthy corporations, and capitalism for everyone else’. It is a portrayal of our current political situation that finds support in the fact that, as Owen Jones points in his book on The Establishment, ‘while the poorest 10 per cent pay 43 per cent of their income in taxes, the richest 10 per cent pay just 35 per cent’.  Indeed, many multinational companies, assisted by banks with arms in Switzerland, aggressively (if legally) avoid paying corporation tax in the UK at all – which of course only serves to increase the tax burden on the rest of UK society, including those businesses that are less wealthy and less powerful.  

Yet for all this two-facedness, nowhere is contemporary capitalism’s ability to adapt and refresh itself in greater evidence than in some of the more apparently community-minded developments that have arisen in recent years. Take the emergence from the mid-2000s onwards of what has come to be known as the sharing economy. 

Tuesday
Apr142015

New Culture Machine Live interview with historian of piracy and the book Adrian Johns

A new Culture Machine Live interview with historian Adrian Johns, conducted by Janneke Adema, is available here:

http://culturemachinepodcasts.podbean.com/e/recursive-historiographical-work-and-the-responsibility-of-the-historian-adrian-johns-1428923430/

This interview focuses on historical efforts to redefine print's past, on the  relationship between technology, science and knowledge, and on our responsibility and performativity as historians. The interview was conducted on March 20, 2015, at the Total Archive Conference at Cambridge University, UK.

Culture Machine Live is a series of podcasts looking at a range of issues including  internet politics, the digital humanities, cultural theory, open access,  and the future of cultural studies and philosophy. Interviewees and speakers include Johanna Drucker, N. Katherine Hayles, Geert Lovink, Alan Liu, Chantal Mouffe, Ted Striphas, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.

You can find the whole Culture Machine Live podcast series at: http://culturemachinepodcasts.podbean.com

The series is curated by Janneke Adema, Clare Birchall, Gary Hall & Pete Woodbridge. 

For more information about the online, open access journal Culture Machine, visit www.culturemachine.net

 

Monday
Mar302015

‘Technogenesis and Media Specific Analysis: N. Katherine Hayles’ - Culture Machine Live

Culture Machine Live, a series of podcasts which consider a range of issues including the digital humanities, internet politics, cultural studies, cultural theory and philosophy, is pleased to announce its latest episode:

 

 

This interview with literary scholar N. Katherine Hayles by Janneke Adema focuses on Hayles's concepts of technotext and intermediation, her views on technogenesis and agency, and her proposal for media specific analysis. The interview was conducted on March 20th 2015 at the Total Archive Conference at Cambridge University, UK.

 

 

You can find the whole Culture Machine Live podcast series at: http://culturemachinepodcasts.podbean.com

 

The series is curated by Janneke Adema, Clare Birchall, Gary Hall & Pete Woodbridge

 

For more information about the online, open access journal Culture Machine, visit www.culturemachine.net

 

Monday
Mar232015

Plastic Bodies - new book from OHP by Tom Sparrow

Open Humanities Press is delighted to announce the latest book in Graham Harman and Bruno Latour's New Metaphysics series: Plastic Bodies: Rebuilding Sensation After Phenomenology by Tom Sparrow (foreword by Catherine Malabou).

 

Sensation is a concept with a conflicted philosophical history. It has found as many allies as enemies in nearly every camp from empiricism to poststructuralism. Polyvalent, with an uncertain referent, and often overshadowed by intuition, perception, or cognition, sensation invites as much metaphysical speculation as it does dismissive criticism.
 
The promise of sensation has certainly not been lost on the phenomenologists who have sought to 'rehabilitate' the concept. In Plastic Bodies, Tom Sparrow argues that the phenomenologists have not gone far enough, however. Alongside close readings of Merleau-Ponty and Levinas, he digs into an array of ancient, modern, and contemporary texts in search of the resources needed to rebuild the concept of sensation after phenomenology. He begins to assemble a speculative aesthetics that is at once a realist theory of sensation and a philosophy of embodiment that breaks the form of the 'lived' body. Maintaining that the body is fundamentally plastic and that corporeal identity is constituted by a conspiracy of sensations, he pursues the question of how the body fits into/fails to fit into its aesthetic environment and what must be done to increase the body’s power to act and exist.
 
The pdf and online versions of the book are of course available for free:
 

 

Friday
Mar132015

Pirate Capitalism

Abstract for my talk at Besides the Screen 2015: Piracy in Theory and Practice, AHRC Network event, Coventry University, April 9-10, 2015.
 
In The Enemy of All, an account of the shifting place of piracy in the history of legal and political thought, Daniel Heller-Roazen shows that to be counted within what the Roman philosopher Cicero terms the ‘immense fellowship of the human species’, one is required to ‘belong to a community tied, like the Roman polity, to clearly delimited territory’. In other words, one needs to live precisely ‘a sedentary life on land’. If one does not do this, if one lives a more fluid life – say, at sea – then one is at risk of being considered a pirate, this being one name for those whom we cannot necessarily treat as proper political adversaries. ‘For a pirate is not included in the number of lawful enemies’, Cicero declares, ‘but is the common enemy of all’. In fact, according to the theory of monstrosity of the 17th century philosopher Francis Bacon, as ‘the common enemy of human society’ pirates are deserving of extermination.  Of course, today, it is multinational corporations that do not belong to a community tied to a clearly delimited territory and that remain stateless. Moreover, some of them (with a little help from banks in Switzerland), have proceeded to use their statelessness to avoid paying taxes in the UK – and have been dubbed ‘pirate capitalists’ because of it.
 
In this talk for Besides the Screen 2015: Piracy in Theory and Practice, I will show some of the ‘practical’ screen-based ‘pirate’ projects I am involved with, projects that are indeed often fluid and liquid in nature. I will also explain some of the ‘theory’ behind these projects: why a number of activist scholar collaborators, myself included, are willing to risk being considered monstrous as a result of acting something like ‘pirate philosophers’ in a context where it is the multinational corporations who now appear to be ‘the common enemy of all’.  

 

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