Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism

We live in an epoch of personal choice, hyper-mobility, celebrity-worship and fiercely competitive labour markets. But this is also the age of networked communication, of global culture, of Occupy and the new politics of ‘the Commons’.

What are the connections and tensions between such apparently diverse tendencies, and do they help democracy to develop, or render it impossible?

This public seminar, marking the launch of Jeremy Gilbert’s book Common Ground (Pluto Press),  will discuss the relationship between collectivity, individuality, affect and agency today, asking whether personal freedom is the great achievement of our era — or if individualism is actually forced on us by capitalist culture, fatally limiting our capacity to solve the problems that we can only solve together.What forms of politics, culture and philosophy might take us beyond the limits of traditional conservatism or banal individualism?

At: Brilliant Corners, 470 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London, E8 4AE

Speakers: Anthony Barnett, Lisa Blackman, Mark Fisher, Jeremy Gilbert

Chair: Niki Seth-Smith

Talks and discussion will take place 6-8pm. Refreshments will be available courtesy of the fantastic bar and kitchen of Brilliant Corners, and music will be played into the evening on a full audiophile vinyl playback system.

All welcome, no need to book.


Speaker Bios:

Anthony Barnett has been one of the UK’s most important political commentators and activists for many years, founding both Charter 88 and open Democracy. His publications include This Time: Our Constitutional Revolution (Vintage 1997). 

Lisa Blackman is Professor in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths and is one of the most innovative theorists currently working at the intersection between cultural theory and critical psychology, working on issues of affect, embodiment and subjectivity. Her most recent book is Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation (Sage 2012) and she is editor of the journals Body & Society and Subjectivities.

Mark Fisher is a leading cultural and political commentator, critic and theorist. He leads the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths s the author of Capitalist Realism (Zero 2010) and Ghosts of My Life (Zero 2014)

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and editor for publications including, London Review of Books and The Independent. She is interested in gender, democracy and nationality.

Jeremy Gilbert is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory, UEL. He has written widely on politics, music, culture and theory and is the current editor of New Formations. His other publications include Discographies: Dance Music, Culture and the Politics of Sound (With Ewan Pearson, Routledge 1999) and Anticapitalism and Culture (Berg 2008).

Presented by Pluto Press and CCSR 

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