Category Archives: Forthcoming Events

The Last Days of Neoliberalism

What is  the nature of the current historical conjuncture?

Does Brexit mark the limit point of the the 30-year phase of neoliberalisation, or a new intensification of the long hegemony of the Right?

 

Two Events in One Week (at different location):

Who Broke Britain?

Presented by the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London  as part of the Culture, Power, Politics series

December 12th 2016 6:30-8:30 pm (or a bit later…)

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With Ayeisha Thomas-Smith (Compass), Anthony Barnett (open Democracy) and Jeremy Gilbert (UEL)

Open School East

The Rose Lipman Building
43 De Beauvoir Rd
London N1 5SQ

All welcome – no prior booking required

This seminar will be the latest occasional instalment in the ‘Culture, Power and Politics‘ series, bringing together many of the conceptual themes discussed over the past year to understand what is happening to British politics, society and culture at the end of a tumultuous year.

In the 1970s the politics of the New Right created an unlikely fusion between anti-state individualism and authoritarian social conservatisim.  Today, the contradictory effects of these agendas have driven the country to breaking point. The UK is falling apart, as England votes for Brexit while the rest of the country, including London, looks on aghast and wonders if there is a way out. A 40-year campaign of misinformation by the popular press has carried our political culture into the age of ‘post-truth politics’ . The inability of the technocratic elite to manage post-democratic societies has been brutally revealed by Brexit. How did we get here and where are we going?

The End Of Neoliberalism?

15th december: 10am-5pm

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City university, college building, room a130

272-278 St John St, London EC1V 4PB

Free, all welcome, no need to book

Presented by 

The Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries at City, University of London

&

The Centre for Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London

In 2016, almost a decade after the worst financial crisis for eighty years, it seems there are signs that neoliberalism is finally in retreat. The ruling common sense of policy makers, economists, business people, and mainstream journalists on a global basis since the 1980s, neoliberalism had seemed all but indefatigable. Yet a series of signs today point towards a radical shift. From the rise of new populist political movements on the left and the right, to the seeming reversal of global trade, and the calamitous brexit vote in the uk, the existing state of neoliberal affairs is in a process of transition. Underpinning many of these indicators is a shift in political logic, from one which placed the market at the centre of human life, to one which is focused on preservation of the border. The questions that arise from this confluence of events are multiple:

  • Is this the end of neoliberalism, or a point of inflection towards a new mutation?
  • Is neoliberalism merely equivalent to the process of globalisation, or not?
  • Is this a global ‘hegemonic crisis’?
  • What happens to existing neoliberal regimes and modes of governance once the border takes precedence over the market?
  • Can this transformation be said to have been generated by neoliberalism itself?
  • How is this shift inflected by particular local cultural, social, political, and economic conditions?
  • Is the future one of ethno-nationalist fascism or some other form of authoritarianism?
  • What does rising nationalism look like in an era of global technological communications?
  • What are the prospects for contending this crisis from the left?

With:

Christine Berry: principal director for policy & government, New Economics Foundation.

Aditya Chakrabortty: senior economics commentator for The Guardian.

William Davies: reader in political economy at goldsmiths, university of london and author of The Limits Of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty And The Logic Of Competition.

Sara Farris: senior lecturer in sociology at goldsmiths, university of london. She is currently a member of the editorial board of historical materialism and international book review editor for critical sociology.

Alan Finlayson: professor of political and social theory at the university of east anglia. He is also chair of the editorial board of the political journal Renewal.

Jeremy Gilbert: professor of cultural and political theory at the university of east london and the editor of New Formations.

Jo Littler: reader in the centre for cultural industries in the dept of sociology, city, university of london. Her new book Against Meritocracy will be published next year.

James Meadway: economic advisor to the shadow chancellor.

Catherine Rottenberg: marie sklodowska curie fellow in the sociology department, goldsmiths and senior lecturer in the department of foreign literatures and linguistics and the gender studies program, ben-gurion university of the negev, beer sheva, israel. Her most recent publication is

“neoliberal feminism and the future of human capital” forthcoming in Signs.

Alex williams: lecturer in the centre for culture and the creative industries, in the dept. of sociology at city, university of london. He is the author of Inventing The Future: Postcapitalism and A World Without Work.

Please forward to anyone who might be interested.

Introduction to Cultural Studies: Culture, Technology & Power Free Course at Open School East

Introduction to Cultural Studies: Culture, Technology & Power – Free Course at Open School East

Taking place over 9 Tuesdays, 6.30-8.30pm (check schedule below for exact dates)

Click HERE for location
29 September – 15 December 2015

Who has power in our cultures and how does it work? How do the ideas we have about what is ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ influence our decisions? What exactly is technology and how does it affect social change? Cultural Studies makes use of techniques from philosophy, history, sociology, human geography, anthropology and political and critical theory to examine these questions in the context of contemporary popular cultures.

This course is an introduction to the subject taught by senior academics moonlighting from their day jobs at the University of East London. The course is free because we believe not only that education should be free but that knowledge is a crucial weapon in the war against all forms of inequality.

If you’ve never been to university, have been but miss the critical debates or are curious about who decides what counts as knowledge in the first place, we’d like to meet you.

There is no set reading (although we’ll recommend some if you’re interested) and no essay assignments, exams or deadlines (although we’ll set some if you want to challenge yourself). All the classes are interactive and give you the chance to think about everyday life in the context of the history of ideas. We’ll provide the learning environment. The rest is up to you.

The course is written and delivered by Dr Debra Benita Shaw and Dr Stephen Maddison, Co-Directors of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. For more information on the Centre and the University of East London click here.

Course outline

Session 1: Tuesday 29 September
‘Making Meaning: Introduction to Semiotics’

We make meaning from everything we see around us every day, but what informs our decisions about what ‘things’ mean? This session will introduce you to the work of the French Philologist Ferdinand de Saussure who gave us the tools to understand the role of ideology in how we make sense of everyday life.

Session 2: Tuesday 13 October
‘Workers of the World Unite: Marx for Beginners’

Karl Marx is famous for predicting a workers’ revolution in Britain and, as some politicians will gleefully tell you, for being wrong. But Marx wrote a lot of books and said a lot of things that are still startlingly relevant to how we think about the organisation of social life and the role of economics in determining how we think about ourselves. In this session, we’ll develop our understanding of ideology and think about the relationship between bodies, machines and going shopping (with a little help from Johnny Cash).

Session 3: Tuesday 27 October
‘Culture Consuming Itself?’

Why has consumption become so central to the cultures of capitalism? This session will apply key concepts from Marxism to a discussion of ideas of identity, taste and cultural meaning. Why do we define ourselves through our shopping choices? Can we ever achieve individuality? How does semiotics help us to understand culture as representation?

Session 4: Tuesday 3 November
‘Sometimes it’s Just a Cigar: The Surreal World of Sigmund Freud’

Sigmund Freud is another towering figure of the twentieth century who gets a bad press. But, like it or not, he gave us the language that we use when we speak about our personalities, early childhood development and mental health (he also provided PR and ad agencies with effective strategies for persuading us to, yes, go shopping). In this session, we’ll look at psychoanalysis as cultural theory; as a way of thinking about what we dream about, how we behave and how we learn to distinguish ourselves according to the roles we’re expected to play.

Session 5: Tuesday 17 November
‘Popular Interests: Antonio Gramsci and Hegemony’

Antonio Gramsci was the leader of the Italian Communist party after WW1 and spent a lot of time in prison. Happily for us, it gave him plenty of time to think. In this session we’ll study his theory of ‘hegemony’ which helps to explain why we consent to be governed by people that really don’t have our best interests at heart.

Session 6: date TBC (this session will be set on a Saturday)
‘How to Get Interpellated: Louis Althusser (with Intro to Jacques Lacan)’

The French nearly had (another) revolution in 1968 but, ultimately, it failed. Louis Althusser was one of the post-’68 theorists who set himself the task of working out why people give in to authority, even when it would be better for them to not do so. We’ll be studying how he made use of the post-Freudian theory of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to explain why we all consider ourselves guilty until proven innocent.

Session 7: Tuesday 24 November
‘Monsieur Foucault and the Prison of the Self’

Michel Foucault was another post-’68 theorist whose work has had wide ranging consequences for how we think about power and its effects on how we understand ourselves and others. This is the first of three sessions where we’ll explore his ideas and their relevance to contemporary culture. We’ll be examining the design of an eighteenth century prison and how it gives us a model for understanding why we think some things (and people) are ‘abnormal’.

Session 8: Tuesday 8 December
‘Perverse Pleasures: Foucault and Sexuality’

One of the most important things that Foucault helps us to understand is that sexuality has a history. Although he disagreed with Marx about the way that power works, he had a similar interest in historical change and its effect on our private lives. In this session, we’ll examine how our attitudes to sexual practices are deeply entangled with the power afforded to certain institutions by vested economic and political interests.

Session 9: Tuesday 15 December (note this session is a week after the last one)
‘Racial Mythologies: Edward Said and Orientalism’

Foucault’s ideas have considerable implications for how we understand racism and its effects in contemporary culture. In this session, we’ll discuss the work of Edward Said who applied Foucault’s insights about history, language and self-identity to understanding how racial stereotypes come to be accepted as ‘truth’.

Culture, Power and Politics: An Open Seminar

 

Culture, Power and Politics  is a regular open seminar on…culture, power and politics. It is convened by Jeremy Gilbert of CCSR.

What will it do?

It mainly explores ideas from the traditions of cultural studies and radical theory, considering their relevance to understanding contemporary political issues, struggles and campaigns, as well as key themes in political history.

Who is it for?

Ideally, it’s for anyone who is interested. The idea for the seminar has come out of discussions amongst members of the New Economy Organisers’ Network and Compass. Our hope on launching the series in May 2015 is that the seminars will be useful and relevant both to political activists and organisers and to others simply interested in exploring the ideas.

We also hope that they will work for people who have no prior knowledge of the subjects and for those who may be world-class experts, and everyone in between. If you don’t know anything about  these subjects then feel free to come and find out. If you’re an expert – then come and join in the discussions to help others learn and to deepen your own understanding through conversation with others. We believe that all learning is collective!

For more details click HERE