Category Archives: writing

Hybridity again

Great to see old stuff taken up in religious studies – where after all, I had my first job, thanks max Charlesworth and Purushottoma Billimoria, so a sort of return:

This below is from:

Peter Taehoon Lee and Godfrey Harold 2019

‘Potential or Threat?: Adopting Cultural Hybridity as a Concept for Diaspora Missiology’
October 2019, Project: Reflexivity and Missiology

One of the main concerns about hybridity is that the concept is too ambiguous and yet loaded with too many different ideas that its usage, if not careful, can easily become inconsistent and contradictory (Hutnyk 2015, 2005; Kraidy 2005, 2002; van der Veer 2015). It means that hybridity if covering too many angles at once, can become what John Hutnyk (2005:79–80) calls “a usefully slippery category” which is conveniently invoked to be an easy answer for all kinds of social and cultural situations. For example, if we state that everything is hybridised and everyone is hybrid, we are making the term lose much of its currency as a tool for social analysis. The same mistake can be made in missions if we conclude that certain religious traditions or cultural practices are hybrid without
looking at particularities of the specific hybrid phenomenon and how it differs from other hybrids and why it may be different.

 

And in case it is at all useful. Some texts discussing hybridity are:

Hybridity from Ethnic and Racial Studies 2005;

The chapatti story: how hybridity as theory displaced Maoism as politics in Subaltern Studies  from Contemporary South Asia 2003;

Hybridity Saves: Authenticity and the Critique of Appropriation Amer-Asia 1999;

Adorno at Womad from Postcolonial Studies 1998;

and you can get the book Diaspora and Hybridity, by Raminder Kaur, Virinder Kalra and me (its on book4you.org for example).

Back cover copy for the 25th-anniversary edition of Rumour of Calcutta?

Highly unlikely, but if there were to be a collection of quotes for such an edition, this fine example would do very well as a back cover quote alongside the old ones. It is from a very fine-looking book by Nabaparna Ghosh – A Hygienic City-Nation: Space, Community, and Everyday Life in Colonial Calcutta 2020 Cambridge. I am excited to read the rest of the book, as I’ve only seen an early part so far. Of course, I mean the second part of this paragraph, though great to again be in the company of Arturo, and earlier Chris Pinney and others. This is on page 9:

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.17

 

The book itself – out in stores soon I believe (you can have a sneaky peak and read about 20 pages on Google books).

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.53Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.05Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.17
Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.50.17Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.05Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 22.51.17

 

Recent stuff to read

Robinsonades: we are all a bit Robbo now.

Several Robinsinades are coming soon.

But folks seem a bit confused about which Daniel Defoe to get into right now. As the world splutters towards total collapse,  I mean, do you read his notes on the plague year first, or go for a refresher course on self-isolation in Robinson?

RobbinsonTV

I’ve articles in the works on this, and have been translating an excellent essay from German on Crusoe/Croix/Kreutznaer/Kreutzer by Wulf Hund. But today, recognizing the new viral potency of the Crusoe effect, I am stumbling through a new version. We are all Robbo now.

Centrifugal Citation Conformity Machine

I was recently in an information briefing (which was very useful) about Web of Science and citations/searches. Here are some thoughts on how the system at present breeds conformity. Or at least, this is what I said, pretty much. very slightly odified to remove some names:

On Metrics as Tools

My concern – something I have discussed with a few others – is how there are some serious gaps in the Web of Science coverage for some areas of the social sciences and humanities.  I wonder if you are interested in this discussion as well. I think there are a few important things to consider, or if they have been considered, make the thinking clear as to how they have been handled.

I work (and think) in a variety of different ways that sometimes seem to me to be specifically designed to fall between the cracks of the indexes. This started with noting that the journals I really admire, were not making it from ESCI to SSCI, or rather, some were even choosing not to. I don’t think I should say which ones, but a few I have had some reviewing or editorial exchange with have said they are pulling out of the indexing ‘game’ as metrics was both too blunt and too normative. There are also a few things, discussed especially, that were not being indexed. Smaller magazines for example, museum catalogues and artist books, visual research (I had taught ethnographic film for many years) and political pamphlets are falling by the way in the face of a normative centrifugal force.

The blunt version of the argument here is that the new Incites tools do not ‘incite’ enough – but rather encourage heading in the same direction that everyone else is heading in – collaborate with those who are most likely to collaborate with you, cite those who cite you, read those who read you etc. Sure, that perhaps has its merits in terms of group cohesion, but academic work should surely be, at one level at least, not about that at all. It is disagreement and difference we should seek, not everyone heading towards the same spiral of universal chanting “ISI ISI” as if a group of characters from a Thomas Pynchon novel had spring off the page in full riot gear. Doesn’t the tendency to seek out the most popular make it harder for new and novel ideas to get a hearing? At what point do the top citations, top metrics, top index procedures need to be disrupted by ideas might not even be recognised by ‘metrics’? Ideas that disrupt the play of uniformity, conformity, safety and repetition? Obviously, I am setting this out starkly to make the point clear, but I think there is a fundamental problem when we have 50 million papers that are there because, as you said, ‘we want to make the world a better place’ but some could argue that the world is demonstrably becoming less better, or at least a significant set of indicators would suggest that. maybe the 50 million need to not refer more and more to the centre, but seek more and more the alternative, angular, oblique and even opposite/oppositional ideas. Ahh, we are communist after all (though in communism there is also a tendency to centralisation, of course – as I said, overstating to make the point).

What mechanisms can be demonstrated within your presentation, or within the tools, that cater for the need to engage in a ‘ruthless criticism of everything’ as old beardo would have us do. The old man with a beard also saw himself as on the road to science, but that it was no easy path, there was work to be done. What could be entered into the search algorithms to ensure the critiques of normative and even hegemonic ideas in each area are challenged? What mechanisms in the search can be dysfunctional for the ongoing business model that is, frankly, no longer really fit for purpose in a degraded and entropic world…

I would love (ironic and hysterical laughter – cackle cackle hee hee hee) to see some explicit attention to how critical disruptive thinking could be built in as potions for the indexing process. I know indexing cannot be neutral, but can the biases run the other way sometimes? can you say how these questions might be addressed? And what great possibilities would be there if 100 flowers contended with 100 schools of thought in bloom…

cheers

Just to confirm that referentiality takes all kinds, my most often cited ISI works (ISI articles cited by ISI journals) show interesting trends. (All available on the download texts link in the sidebar).

Authors:  John Hutnyk 

Authors:  John HutnykSanjay Sharma Published:Jun 2016 in THEORY, CULTURE AND SOCIETY DOI: 10.1177/02632760022051211

Authors:  John Hutnyk  Published:Jun 2016 in THEORY, CULTURE AND SOCIETY DOI: 10.1177/0263276406062700

Authors:  John Hutnyk  Published:Jul 2016 in CRITIQUE OF ANTHROPOLOGY DOI: 10.1177/0308275X9801800401

Authors:  John Hutnyk Published:Feb 2002 in FUTURES DOI: 10.1016/S0016-3287(01)00032-5

What did you do in the war Pop?

Your article, What did you do in the war? Revisiting the WW2 memoirs of Stoker Thomas Mouat Tate, published in History and Anthropology, Volume 30 Issue 5, is now available for you to access via tandfonline.com.

Have you used your free eprints yet?
Now you’re published, you’ll hopefully want to share your article with friends or colleagues. Every author at Routledge (including all co-authors) gets 50 free online copies of their article to share with their networks. Your eprint link is now ready to use and is:

https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/HXQMUQEXDSEJEPAXUGJH/full?target=10.1080/02757206.2019.1626853

histanthr

Critique of Anthropology

This journal deserves your support – it has always been the go-to place for anthropology as it is now. Owes much to John Gledhil and the much-missed Steve Nugent.

My bits in CoA have been:

Bataille’s Wars 2008

Clifford’s Ethnographica 1998

Media Research Politics Culture 1996

Comparative Anthropology 1990

There is a vast amount of work goes into any journal, most of it without payment by a phalanx of younger anthros (they do not all march in step – more’s the better).

 

downloads

WordPress started counting text downloads of articles in July this year. Interesting stat.

So the books get quite a few

56 for Rumour of Calcutta 1996  (buy here)

26 for Pantomime Terror 2014

But just the occasional hit for individual papers  like:

10 for British Asian Communism (2005)

6 for Semi-Feudal Cyber Colonalism (on the multimedia super corridor 1999)

and just the 1 for poor old The Authority of Style (first serious essay published 1987)

Unfortunately, Icannot easily cut and paste all the totals, but some are in the hundreds (thanks) and most of the papers are here.

Global South Asia On Screen: India only edition.

via Global South Asia On Screen: India only edition.

Screenshot 2018-12-26 at 10.22.29

Available from Aakar Books Here.

Rest of the world here (bloomsbury paperback in November)

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4826-8949

 

Just because its only out cheaply in India does not mean you canot still buy stauff – the Hardback is 20 quid on some sites.

ANd there are a few older things still kicking about:

 

John Hutnyk is the author of Bad Marxism (Pluto Press, 2004) and Critique of Exotica …
The Rumour of Calcutta: Tourism, Charity and the Poverty of Representation [John Hutnyk] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

Schzmexit

More notes for the novel…

Brexit schzmexit we need much more to fix it so that neither Tories or Labour can govern.

While a Party of the New Type is formed and has the wherewithal to assure us (and its members) that it can deliver the means and organisation necessary to feed, warm, house, cloth and educate many populations.

FB will not help here as it would syphon off enthusiasms into some cul de sac app. It is a cul de sac par excellence. But email and instacomms will still be of use in the transition. After that we can make up new online cell structures and reading games (of our favourite communist authors and sci fi). I accept that we don’t yet know what else participatory media can deliver when nationalised and democratised as a means of government (to nationalise FB and google should be among the first actions of a new governance).

The general programme must be a variant of: first seize the banks, army, arms trade, mining and broadcast media – all for closure. Arm the people and make the printing presses a public service. Especially immediately close the arms trade and banks and reduce mining to necessary and minimum. Recall all troops and demob. Open the barracks to the people. Arm migrants as well – the militia will not be nationalist. require compulsory reading of Adorno’s essays on why National Socialism and Education must strive for the never again that is in the dark heart of corporate Europe. Corporate boards of course to be locked up – the only temporary and very last persons to be contained in jails, and even then released after reeducation (or shot as recalcitrants in a bloody purge of the bourgeois embolism).

Any similarity to persons living or dead – is a blueprint for what to do next. The novel is not a viable form in the digital age if not multi-authored and openly prescriptive. Let 1000 flowers of thought contend. Let the blood of the few nourish the many – the martyrs will be authors. The first among martyrs shall me the main character or each and every modernist drama – try Harold Bloom for treason, Gregor Sampson for false witness, Harper Lee for sentimentalism, and Naipaul for egotisms. Let them spend a month in stocks along the Thames Walk, but in comfort, with the basic needs of toilet and bathing so forth attended to by the new serving class employees of the state, the family Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Buck’s Palace will have long been transformed into a hospice for recovering homeless, refugees, migrants and as needed – no questions asked.

Rosa now more than ever

Rosa now more than ever
Or why Rosa is someone who should be read at this point in time.
   To be a student of Rosa Luxemburg today is assisted hugely by the (hopefully ongoing) publication in English of her Complete Works, starting with the two volumes out so far on her anthropology studies and course on economics. This alone is enough to extend fourfold what most leftists might know of her, which is usually only a half-digested something or other about ‘spontaneity’ and a disagreement with Lenin.
   Now, over and over, more than ever, I see people worrying both about spontaneity and vanguards. They say it’s all terrible or it’s all fine (actually this borrows an early move from Mao, but still…). The communists hate the anarchists and the anarchists hate the communists, basically, for being too much like each other in all the ways that are wrong.
   My friend David Graeber for example says of the squares, Occupy, yellow vests and all future horizontal protests, that:
‘These new movements do not need an intellectual vanguard to provide them with an ideology because they already have one: the rejection of intellectual vanguards and embrace of multiplicity and horizontal democracy itself‘ infoshack, radioshackorsomesuch.com
Hence the need for Rosa. Against the idea that all we need is already delivered by those who say we don’t need the Party (albeit we don’t need some old fart Party, against the party I would lead, which would be available only to people who could name the stations of the Kronstadt). Anarcho adventures into the void will not do.
   At the same time, communist comrades are incensed that the anti-Leninist and verbose anarchists are undermining their theoretical primacy. Ha ha. Well overdue. As if their political, and philosophical, purity had been baptised and sanctified in previous militant vanguardist struggles such as … wait, I’m, where? When? Theoretical struggles perhaps. Bloody minded entryism, penetration and destruction. Fuck them too.
   So, Rosa for the Party and in symbiosis of a new moving type, moving with the masses – becoming masses, finding their unities, alongside and with Rosa, forming the Party that can keep forming across time. Since time is all the meantimes and meanwhiles where everyone but the caviariste class knows it’s long past the time when the shitty conditions in which most find themselves are such that with this up we cannot put.
Hence, Rosa now more than ever.
   A few brief words though. In common reception of Rosa, in particular with the spontaneity question, there really is a dangerous and defeating mistake made if Rosa‘s commitment to the masses is ever taken to mean no active organisation by the Party within the class forces. There were certainly, also shown in the Letters (same publisher, should be cheaper though), so many ways in which Luxemburg was committed to tendencies and factions within the Party, within the International and within the general Left movement. Her relationship with Kautsky grows fractious over time, her squabble with Lenin is really resolved by the time of the Bolshevik uprising, and between times Lenin had been visiting Rosa and stoking her cat – and being scratched by said kitten, because not all cats fell for Lenin right away. Though in due course…
   Luxemburg was well aware of the need for the class to be organised and able to move with the workers whenever the possibility presented itself, and without the ability to organise the Party to swiftly move into place alongside the ‘spontaneous’ uprising, there would be nothing afterwards. Listening to the sounds of adventurism crashing on the rocks – we need adventures and rock-moving teams (not rock spiders lying in wait with their entryism of doom). Rosa now more than ever. Albeit what organisation there was would be in large part itself only possible because of the tireless devotion of Luxemburg (or Cam) urging on the uprising at meeting after meeting. And indeed, what claim could she have for even being discussed by anyone other than adventurers at the barricades since we all know that her insurrection was crushed, she and her former lover murdered, by a repressive militarist counter-revolution. No, it would be dangerous not to realise that reaction is always already coming and that we also need to organise defense in offense. To say listen, stand aside, wait, all these give space for the reaction – fill the gap with forward and better, biger adn more power to the movements.
   Reading Luxemburg can show us why now more than ever. She does not come across in her writings, or even in her actions as revealed in her biography, or the letters, as someone with a blind faith in going out to the streets. She goes out in the streets. Also, she reads, she teaches, she deploys vast troves of footnotes and argument in an ongoing polemic that always sought to teach, but was always making space for contemplation, education and polemical life that was more than simple or naive spontaneity.
   Her effort was to make links with those on the streets, and she did this as a life-long commitment, and through long patient but urgent work, through talks, classes, writing and editorial meetings, with those inside workplaces and working class areas of the city so as to build the organisation around issues such as hours worked, wages, prices, subsistence, work organisation and justice for women, justice for murdered workers, justice for all. And forever pushing for a better argument and better outcome, aspiring to get the idea accepted that the communist dream was something that could be. Could be by force of her will perhaps, but as an illustration, and a model to be replicated, the path to a revolution that can be sustained is made clear.
   Her polemic with co-revolutionaries always strove towards improving her own as well as their capabilities, through argument to express her own will to clarify and build a revolutionary capacity. And to be able to present her ideas before the masses and at any time strive for the uprising that after-all was – and today has been for a long time again – well overdue. Listening all the time, she is never silent, since participation in the revolution comes from saying, loudly, what is happening, what you can see.
   And read, with care. Rosa does not say no to the Party, does not say no to Party organiser going out to talk to the masses, urge them with ‘fire in their bellies, and their minds’, but she does say no to a Party that is above the dictatorship of the class, no to the dictatorship of a Party or of a clique –yes to ‘dictatorship of the class’ which means dictatorship of the proletariat ‘in the broadest possible form on the basis of the most active, unlimited participation of the mass of the people, of unlimited democracy’ (On the Russian Revolution).
   Without the Party, Luxemburg is nothing, the revolution is nothing, and the masses have no voice. The Party is the organisational form that best coordinates the preparedness required to build alongside the spontaneous uprising of the masses when its best chances arrive. On many occasions the potential of such an uprising might seem more or less apparent, but without robust organisational preparation in place, the political movement will always lack consequence, be subject to fluctuations of spontaneity in the random sense – as opposed to the general sudden realisation that now is the time we have been preparing for, and when the Party serves the masses as a rallying cry, vehicle for articulation direction and aspirations for a path out of the horror of persecution, oppression and inequalities.
   Many skirmishes and test case battles prepare the ground for spontaneity of the revolutionary type. These disconnected struggles are the school for revolutionaries, the training and honing of skills in single issue campaigns, in local initiatives, in building comradeship and Party organisation. They cannot yet be the mode of transition to a communist future but they develop the possibility. Through local wins, and no doubt losses, coordinated battles and preparedness, anticipation, analysis and expectation – knowing perhaps a little more though this of what we might expect – the groups that work together learn together and will face down the tanks together. The Tanks are coming. Do not think Rosa now more than ever means they won’t – the ruling class will want to through us all in the canal. But we will swim. For this, reading, writing, distributing newsletters and papers, forums and research groups, all build – and crucially, reproduce – potential for spontaneity. Swimming in the spontaneous flow.
   The reading and research group is not the only form in which this Party as the vehicle of the wider class interests can articulate and hone its skill base, but it is all the more important because this form of organising has a role in defining and producing knowledge and analysis of the situations in which we are faced with oppression, exploitation, desperation and despair at the hands of capital.
   The urgency of the situation. it is never all day every day, and a part of it is reading, together. meet to plan and talk, if only over a paragraph n between urgent tasks and planning. This research group, that has read its way into a Marxist analysis will move forward and articulate further connections with the oppressed  and offer the classes knowledge not by telegraphing it in, or posting it on this blog, but by sharing not only knowledge as knowledge, but knowledge as a knowledge making process. A revolutionary act whose patron figurehead is also Rosa. Now more than ever. What then if in the current conjuncture those who rise up in protest do so on the basis of having come together over time to develop a shared analysis of the ways an exit from capitalism and oppression can be achieved with equally for all?

‘Citizen Marx/Kane’ in “Marx at the Movies”, 2014

Citizen Marx/Kane’ – Hutnyk

This chapter addresses the question of how, today, to start reading that rich book that is Marx’s Capital — of which an immense, even monstrous, accumulation of commentary on the Marxist mode of literary production appears to have already shaped its elementary forms. In reading Capital, if anything about beginnings should be considered necessary, it is usual to say it is good to start at the beginning — not always of course, but usually to start with what is immediately at hand. Commentaries, primers, prefaces, intros, first sentences and first chapters start at the beginning and continue on from there. This is itself debated, but my argument is that we can only approach Capital through the already existing commentary, even as we would like to start as if the book were new. And the commentary that exists is not only that which is explicitly marked as such, but also includes all the ideas we have already received about so many things — about Marx, capitalism, communism, exchange, commodities and so much more. A vast accumulation of things filter reading, so it would be naive to simply say that materialism might start with things themselves, even if it makes sense to start with commodities, the objects that are the souvenirs or detritus of our lives.

Keywords

Capitalist Class Capitalist Mode Moral Testimony Commodity System Film Poster 

Screenshot 2018-12-09 at 11.35.23

Innovations… Conference 4-5 October 2019, TDTU, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

http://issh2019.tdtu.edu.vn/

Innovations in the Social Sciences and Humanities

4th and 5th of October 2019.
Ho Chi Minh City, Socialist republic of Vietnam

Welcome to the website for the conference Innovations in the Social Sciences and Humanities, jointly organised by The University of Trieste, Italy; the Universität Leipzig, Germany; National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; University of Warwick, UK; College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS) at Purdue University Northwest (PNW), USA; and Ton Duc Thang University, Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Conference Venue – Ton Duc Thang University

Address: 19 Nguyen Huu Tho Street, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Invitation and Call for papers:

For the International Conference 4-5 October 2019 at Ton Duc Thang University, HCMC, Vietnam, we would like to hear from those working on innovative approaches to public engagement in the social sciences and humanities. Methodological, empirical, archival or conceptual-theoretical work is encouraged, especially where a keen interest in application, consequence, practice or outcome is involved. Sometimes this is called impact on the one side, or intervention on the other, but we are nevertheless interested in all inquiries and investigations which advance the emancipatory possibilities of scholarship in a radically changed global context.

Social and cultural practices in both modern life and in the preservation of historical memory, could suitably connect sociology, social work, history, ethno-anthropology (museums, exhibitions, fairs, monuments, collective ceremonies), cultural tourism, eco-preservation policies, and other urgent contemporary social issues. Comparative studies are welcome, but not the only focus. We are especially interested in deep and detailed studies which have wider significance and suggestions for ‘best practice’. After many years of ‘interdisciplinarity’, or at least talk about this, we are interested to see examples where this works well in practice. We can assume all studies are comparative and interdisciplinary in a way, and all certainly have consequences, implications…

We are especially keen to hear from those working in three overlapping areas of engaged activity: these may be people working as anthropologists, historians, museum and preservation/heritage studies; cultural geographers, sociologists and in cultural studies; or on border studies, migrant labor and workplace and institutional inquiries. Our themes will interact within the structure of the conference, but we are keen in particular to go deeply into each area.

With Innovations in Public Engagement we anticipate discussions of the ways scholarship might best go about communicating in public the experience of the past and of human, cultural and environmental diversity, including technological and bio-political innovations and their contemporary reshaping of pasts and presents. Challenges to questions of who produces scholarship and why, for whom and by whom, can apply to past and present uses of knowledge, where the models of research and inquiry are actively reworked in the face of new public demands.

With Historical/contemporary practices and policies we seek to address issues related to contemporary forms of social conflict, including unequal citizenship and new racisms, the rise of right-wing populist movements and infiltration of religious power in secular governmentality, migrant workers as neoliberal slavery, questions of human trafficking and refugees, developmentalism and environmental pollution, crony capitalism and geo-economic zoning politics.

With Innovations of methodology, training and new skills for the future it seems to us crucial that our work respond to rapid reconfigurations of the very possibility and consequences of engaged social sciences and humanities scholarship. Whether the changing context is imposed by governments by industry or by civil society, when we deal with institutional change and competitive and imperative demands, we do need to develop new tools for knowledge(s) and new sensibilities/sensitivities. Education, reform and responsiveness, new skills and objectives, new modes of investigation and teaching in general. An urgent and targeted focus on how scholarship might remain relevant and critical in the face of global trends – funding cuts, social constraints, new demands, new conservatism, and crises of certitude.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam will be our venue, but it need not necessarily be the context or focus of all papers, nor are comparative, or East-West or ‘post’ or neo-colonial framings always to be foregrounded in the papers. We are interested however in papers that encourage us to think anew about the implications of where we are and about how to re-orient humanities and social sciences scholarship in contexts where rising tensions in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia call on us to innovate and apply once more.

On acceptance of your paper, we will provide you a letter of acceptance or an invitation letter for your visa application to Vietnam or financial sponsorship from your institution. Therefore, you are encouraged to submit your paper at the earliest time possible.

Language:

The conference proceedings and papers will be in English.

Important dates:

  • Abstract Submission: By February 28th, 2019
  • Notification of Paper Acceptance: Before March 30th, 2019
  • Full Paper Submission: By May 30th, 2019
  • Registration and Payment by: August 20th, 2019 (early bird discounts apply)
  • Conference Dates: October 4th– 5th, 2019

We look forward to receiving your contributions and kindly ask you to disseminate the call to your colleagues who may be interested in participating the conference.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at issh2019@tdtu.edu.vn if you need any further information.

________

Assoc. Prof. Le Thi Mai, Ph.D
Head of  Sociology Department

 

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 16.03.23http://issh2019.tdtu.edu.vn/

Articles to download

Screen Violence and Partition

Inter Asia Cultural Studies

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 09.58.40ScreenviolenceandpartitionIACS2018

 

Other downloads:

(Not sure if you need to make an account to get these, but it works for me):

Contexts for Distraction

HenriTomHutnykJohn

Clifford’s Ethnographica

HutnykJ.

Pantomime Terror: Diasporic Music in a Time of War

HutnykJ.

Music for Euro-Maoists: On the Correct Handling of Contradictions among Pop Stars

HutnykJ.

CLIFFORD GEERTZ AS A CULTURAL SYSTEM: A Review Article

John Hutnyk

THE AUTHORITY OF STYLE

John Hutnyk

Critique of Exotica: Music, Politics and the Culture Industryby J. Hutnyk

Review by: E. Dominique Midolo

Jungle studies: the state of anthropology

John Hutnyk

Comparative Anthropology and Evans-Pritchard’s Nuer Photograph y

HutnykJ.

CALCUTTA CIPHER: Travellers and the City

John Hutnyk

Poetry after Guantanamo: M.I.A.

HutnykJohn

The Dialectic of Here and There: Anthropology ‘at Home’ and British Asian Communism1

HutnykJohn

Sexy Sammy and Red Rosie? From Burning Books to the War on Terror

HutnykJ.

Bataille’s Wars: Surrealism, Marxism, Fascism

HutnykJohn

Music & Politics: An Introduction

HutnykJ.SharmaS.

Tales from the Raj

HutnykJohn

The Rumour of Calcutta: Tourism, Charity, and the Poverty of Representationby John Hutnyk

Review by: Bodhisattva Kar

Adorno at Womad: South Asian crossovers and the limits of hybridity-talk

HutnykJohn

The chapatti story: how hybridity as theory displaced Maoism as politics in Subaltern Studies

HutnykJohn

THE DIALECTICS OF EUROPEAN HIP‐HOP

HutnykJohn

Brimful of agitation, authenticity and appropriation: Madonna’s ‘Asian Kool’

KalraVirinderHutnykJohn

Book reviews : The Cambridge Survey of World Migration Edited by ROBIN COHEN (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1995) 570pp.  75.00

HutnykJ.

Photogenic Poverty: Souvenirs and Infantilism

HutnykJohn

Proletarianisation

HutnykJohn

Media, Research, Politics, Culture: Review article

HutnykJ.

Marx’s Library

From Old Beardo’s library (as listed in the MEGA), the following books related to India or the East India Company have underlining or marginalia by Marx, in blue or red pen:

Alexander, R[ichard]: The rise and progress of British opium smuggling:

the illegality of the East India Company’s monopoly of the drug; and its injurious effects upon India, China, and the commerce of Great Britain. Five letters addressed to the Right Honourable the Earl of Shaftesbury. 3. ed. rev. and enl. London: Judd and Glass, Soc. for „Suppressing Opium Smuggling” 1856. 80 S. Standort des Orig.: SAPMO/Bibl., Ma 916. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41647 (Kat. 1901, S. 46). – Zentralsekretariat der SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl.

Marginalien von Marx (Tinte) S. 37, 38.

Korrektur von fremder Hand.

Bibliothek Marx.

.

 

[Crosthwaite, Charles Haukes Todd:] Notes on the north-western 261 provinces of India. By a district officer. London: Allen 1869. 160, 23 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6355. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41556 (Kat. 1901, S. 257), Etikett: 705. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA. Buchhändleretikett: Subscription Library, London.

Marginalien von Marx (Blaustift) S. 2-70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76-91, 92, 93, 94,

95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100-107, 129-132, 133-135, 136-150, 152, 153-156,

157-159; (Grünstift) S. 129.

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

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East Indian Tariff. The debate on the motion of Hugh Birley, Esq., 349 M . P . , respecting import duties on cotton manufactures. Delivered in the House of Commons, Tuesday, July 10, 1877. Extracted from „Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates”, vol. 235. London: Buck 1877. 24 S.

Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6454.

Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41196 (Kat. 1901, S. 47). – Zentralsekretariat der

SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Bleistift) S. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; (Rotstift) S. 8-24.

Textverlust durch Buchbinderschnitt.

Bibliothek Marx.

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Grant, Robert: A sketch of the history of the East-India Company, from its first formation to the passing of the Regulating Act of 1773; with a summary view of the changes which have taken place since that period in the internal administration of British India. London: Black, Parry, Hatchard 1813. 13, L I I I , 397 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6502. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41311 (Kat. 1901, S. 255). – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Blaustift) S. 80, 81; (Rotstift) S. 356, 357, 358, 360-363.

Bibliothek Marx.

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Irwin, H[enry] Qrossby]: The garden of India; or chapters on Oudh 610 history and affairs. London: Allen 1880. 350, 36 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6503. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41403 (Kat. 1901, S. 256), Etikett: 694. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA. Widmung: Verfasser an ungenannten Adressaten (Schmutztitel).

Marginalien von Marx (Blau- und Grünstift) S. 16-18, 20-26, 27, 28-39, 40,

41-57, 60, 61, 62-79, 80, 81-84, 86, 87, 88-90, 91-94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99,

100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111-113, 114, 115,

116, 117, 118, 119, 120-127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136,

137-139, 140, 141, 142-144, 145-155, 156, 157-160, 161, 162-167,

168-170, 171, 172, 173, 174-182, 183, 184-187, 188, 189, 191, 192, 193,

194-198, 199, 200, 201-204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209-212, 213, 214, 215,

216-218, 219, 220, 221, 222-230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235-238, 239, 240,

241, 242, 243-246, 247, 248, 249-261, 262-265, 266, 267, 268, 269-276,

277, 278-280, 281, 282-284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293,

294, 295, 296, 297-302, 303, 304, 305, 306-309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314,

315, 316, 318, 319, 320, 321-339, 340, 341, 342, 344, 345-348, 349, 350;

Annoncenteil: S. [1], [2], 7, 11, 12, 14, 15, 23, 26-29, 36, [40].

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

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M[a]cCuUoch, J[ohn| R[amsay|: A dictionary, practical, theoretical, 815 and historical, of commerce and commercial navigation. Illustrated with maps and plans. A new ed., corr., enl. and improved. With a suppl. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans 1852. XXIII, 1510, 32 S. Standort des Orig.: SAPMO/Bibl., 54/13140. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl, 41345 (Kat. 1901, S. 45). – Zentralsekretariat der SED/Bibl. – IMLB/Bibl. Buchbinderetikett: Westley & Co London.

Wahrscheinlich Bibliothek Marx bzw. Engels.

Titel exzerpiert: Marx, 1852 (IISG, Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 52); 1853 (IISG,

Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 63).

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Titel erwähnt: Marx: Revolution in China and in Europe (MEGAÇ 1/12, S. 149). – T h e East India Company—Its History and Results (MEGAÇ 1/12, S. 186-188, 190, 191). – Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (MEGAÇ 11/1.2,707, 708). – Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Manuskript 1861-1863) (MEGAÇ И/ЗА, S. 1353; 3.5, S. 1763). – Ökonomische Manuskripte 1861-1865 (MEGAÇ II/4.2, S. 473). – Das Kapital. Erster Band (MEGAÇ 11/10,

  1. 138). – Le Capital (MEGAÇ II/7, S. 121, 230). – Capital (MEGAÇ Π/9,
  2. 130). – Κ. und

 

.

Sewell, Robert: The analytical history of India, from the earliest times to the abolition of the honourable East India Company in London: Allen 1870. XXVIII, 334 S. mit Tab. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6498. Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41734 (Kat. 1901, S. 271), Etikett: 693. – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Rot-, Blaustift und Tinte) S. 3-7, 37, 38, 43, 45-47,

49-52, 53, 54-57, 60, 61, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71, 77-80, 85, 86, 88, 92, 94, 95, 96,

97, 98, 99-105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116-119,

120, 121-126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132-138, 139, 140-149, 150, 151, 152,

153-155, 156, 157-162, 163, 164-172, 173, 174-176, 177, 178, 179, 180,

181, 182-203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210-213, 215, 216, 217-223,

224, 225-227, 228, 229-233, 234-237, 238, 239, 240, 241-248, 249, 250,

251, 252-255, 256, 257-280, 281, [284]-[312], 314-316, 318-322, 325-327,

330-333.

Einige Seiten mit Eselsohr.

Bibliothek Marx.

Titel exzerpiert: Marx, 1879/1880 (IISG, Marx-Engels-Nachlaß, В 156).

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Seymour, Henry: Waste lands of India. Speech in the House of Commons on the 12th May, 1863. With introd. and app. London: Ridgway 1864 XIII, 102 S. Standort des Orig.: RGA, f. 1, op. 1, d. 6297.

Bibl.-Stempel: SPD-Bibl., 41997 (Kat. 1901, S. 257). – IMLB/Bibl. – IMLM/ZPA.

Marginalien von Marx (Bleistift) Titelbl., S. II-XIII, 9-29, 31-33, 49-52, 53, 54,

55-62, 63, 64-70, 75-84, 87-97, 99; (Rotstift) S. 33-49.

Bibliothek Marx.

 

 

Handy hints on cracking up

F.Scott-Fitzgerald’s ‘crack-up’ as a model for going on with when needs must and all around have been ripping each other to shreds in a mass fraternal suicide:

‘I must continue to be a writer because that was my only way of life, but I would cease any attempts to be a person—to be kind, just or genierous. There were plenty of counterfeit coins around that would pass instead of these and I knew where I could get them at a nickel on the dollar. In thirty.nine years an observant eye has learned to detect where the milk is watered and the sugar is sanded, the rhinestone passed for diamond and the stucco for stone. There was to be no more giving of myself—all giving was to be outlawed henceforth under a new name, and that name was Waste.

The decision made me rather exuberant, like anything that is both real and new. As a sort of beginning there was a whole shaft of letters to be tipped into the waste basket when I went home, letters that wanted something for nothing—to read this man’s manuscript, market this man’s poem, speak free on the radio, indite notes of introduction, give this interview, help with the plot of this play, with this domestic situation, perform this act of thoughtfulness or charity. The conjuror’s hat was empty. To draw things out of it had long been a sort of sleight of hand, and now, to change the metaphor, I was off the dispensing end of the relief roll forever’ from The Crack-Up (posthumous FSF, edited by Edmund Wilson 1945)

– Gets better as it goes on:

But enough.It is not a matter of levity. If you are young and you should write asking to see me and leam how to be a sombre literary man writing pieces upon the state of emotional exhaustion that often overtakes writers in their prime —if you should be so young and so fatuous as to do this, I would not do so much as acknowledge your letter, unless you were related to someone very rich and important indeed. And if you were dying of starvation outside my window, I would go out quickly and give you the smile and the voice (if no longer the hand) and stick around till somebody raised a nickel to phone for the ambulance, that is if I thought there would be any copy in it for me.

Buy Books Not Bombs

Global South Asia on Screen – out now with Bloomsbury
(paperback due late 2019)
With importance for geopolitical cultural economy, anthropology, and media studies, John Hutnyk brings South Asian circuits of scholarship to attention where, alongside critical Marxist and poststructuralist authors, a new take on film and television is on offer.

The book presents Raj-era costume dramas as a commentary on contemporary anti-Muslim racism, a new political compact in film and television studies, and the President watching a snuff film from Pakistan. Hanif Kureishi’s postcolonial ‘fuck Sandwich’ sits alongside Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, updated for the war on terror with low-brow, high-brow versions of Asia that carry us up the Himalayas with magic carpet TV nostalgia. Maoists rage below and books go up in flames while News network phone-ins end with executions on the Hanging Channel and arms trade and immigration paranoia thrives. Multiplying filmi versions of Mela are measured against a transnational realignment towards Global South Asia in a contested and testing political future.

Each chapter offers a slice of historical study and assessment of media theory appropriate for viewers of Global South Asia seeking to understand why lurid exoticism and paralysing terror go hand-in-hand. The answers are in the images always open to interpretation, but Global South Asia on Screen examines the ways film and TV trade on stereotype and fear, nationalism and desire, politics and context, and with this the book calls for wider reading than media theory has hitherto entertained.

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 09.51.26
Global South Asia on Screen
Buy books at yourlocal bookshop(UK)
Ask for Pantomime Terror by John Hutnyk. Zero Books, 2014 ISBN-10: 1782792090
Ask for The Rumour of Calcutta by John Hutnyk. Zed books/Uni Chicago Press, 1996 ISBN: 9781856494083
Ask for Bad Marxism by John Hutnyk. Pluto Press/Uni Chicago Press 2004 ISBN: 9780745322667
Ask for Critique of Exotica by John Hutnyk. Pluto Press 2000 ISBN: 0745315496
Ask for Global South Asia on Screen by John Hutnyk. Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. ISBN  9781501324963
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Rosa on Lenin p298 Mimi’s Critique

lenin catLaugh out loud passage in Rosa Luxemburg’s letter of April 2 2011 to Kostya Zetkin (Clara’s son) about Lenin’s visits and the sharp dialectical criticism of Lenin by Mimi the cat.

While there are many who would criticise Lenin without reading or meeting him, the critical support that Rosa provides – the contestation, disagreement and solidarity, are exemplary, as is the cat.

And it confirms all I wanted to say about the politics of cats  – The Politics of Cats – first version, later published in Stimulus Respond in an article of which I am still quite pleased – available as part of Handpicked, by Pavement books.

Yesterday Lenin came, and up to today he has been here four times already. I enjoy talking with him, he’s clever and well educated, and has such an ugly mug, the kind I like to look at … Mimi [Rosa’s cat] … impressed Lenin tremendously, he said that only in Siberia had he seen such a magnificent creature, that she was a barskii kot—a. majestic cat. She also flirted with him, rolled on her back and behaved enticingly toward him, but when he tried to approach her she whacked him with a paw and snarled like a tiger.

from p 289 of ‘The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg’ eds Georg Adler, Peter Hudis and Annalies Laschitza. verso

Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps

ClaireClaire Reddleman’s new book ‘Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps’ is out now from Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies!

Claire Says:

“It’s all about different forms of cartographic viewing – including the ‘cartographic view from nowhere’, drone viewing, the Apollonian view (in which the earth is ‘seen’ from space), remote cartographic viewing (with particular reference to the antipodes) and an ‘immersive’ form of viewing cartographically from within an art installation. These ways of seeing with maps are explored with close reference to a series of contemporary artworks, by Joyce Kozloff, James Bridle, Trevor Paglen, Layla Curtis and Bill Fontana. The book is a development of my phd thesis, and so is most likely to be of interest for postgraduate students and researchers – but I think the material about the artworks will also be of interest for art students, artists and art-world professionals, and the theoretical ideas about cartographic abstraction will be of interest for people who work on real abstraction and Marxian-informed ways of thinking about art and visual culture”.

Here is the official blurb:

In this book, Claire Reddleman introduces her theoretical innovation ‘cartographic abstraction’ – a material modality of thought and experience that is produced through cartographic techniques of depiction. Reddleman closely engages with selected artworks (by contemporary artists such as Joyce Kozloff, Layla Curtis, and Bill Fontana) and theories in each chapter. Reconfiguring the Foucauldian underpinning of critical cartography towards a materialist theory of abstraction, cartographic viewpoints are theorised as concrete abstractions. This research is positioned at the intersection of art theory, critical cartography and materialist philosophy.

Here are the chapter headings:

Intro – From Critical Cartography to Cartographic Abstraction: Rethinking the Production of Cartographic Viewing Through Contemporary Artworks

1. Reconfiguring the View From Nowhere: Collage and Complicity in ‘Targets’ by Joyce Kozloff

2. The Drone’s Eye View: Networked Vision and Visibility in Works by James Bridle and Trevor Paglen

3. Remote Viewing, Cartographic Abstraction and the Antipodes: Three Works by Layla Curtis

4. Signification in the Soundscape: Bill Fontana’s ‘River Sounding’

5. Cartographic Abstraction: A Material Modality of Thought and Experience

Availability

‘Cartographic Abstraction in Contemporary Art: Seeing with maps’ is available for library recommendation at under £90 from Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Cartographic-abstraction-in-contemporary-art-seeing-with-maps/Reddleman/p/book/9781138712577. The kindle edition is about £26. ISBN 10: 1138712574 / ISBN 13: 9781138712577. Paperback in 2019 if you are not made of money.

Notebooks (Artaud’s for example)

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 22.09.17Rereading Jay Murphy’s book Artaud’s Metamorphosis and thinking about the 30,000 pages of notes Marx is said to have written in the last ten years of his life – and which are only slowly being released through the MEGA. Then find Jay has the following on page 207:

Artaud’s last works are above all, an action, a setting of forces into motion. In examining how he accomplishes this, largely from the springboard of the copious 406 lined school notebooks of which there are some more than 30,000 pages, at times there is the temptation to mimic his method by fracturing the field, separating out the elements that come into conflict, such as sound image text, or even their constituent bodily sources, and it is by such recourse that I isolate the treatment of the face and the voice at the end of this chapter; to see better how they interact, meld, hover, disintegrate or invade other elements…

I won’t reproduce his analysis because the whole book needs to be bought, and the notes still need to be written, but along with Walter Benjamin’s obsession with certain notebooks, whatever was in that case, add also anthropology’s note-writing fix exemplified in Mick Taussig’s drawings for I swear I saw This, and the entire complex of more or less uncanny parallels that revolve around the lined page, schoolbook or not, I’m hankering to generate some sort of method for handling the detritus of the (allegedly) declining years. Plus starting a new journal for my eldest now.

Artaud’s Metamorphosis is available in Berlin at Buchhafen. Or by post from Pavement.

 

Gary Hall’s essay on Academia.edu

Gary Hall interesting as always. In this article on Academis.edu, here: Should this be the last…

My own take is less well thought out, but I felt Hall’s essay was almost like an airplane safety steward performance – offering us a plastic airbag of comfort adn some nylon socks to distract as we plummet to horrific death, oh, and here are the exit lights to provide a final weird glow as you do. Except Hall’s critique is better than that, and funnier/well written/more important.

When I was invited to be one of these academia.edu editors here was my perhaps a little idealistic response (did not know of the critique by Hall then – but am still using the platform since it’s really just Facebook for dummies, no?).

Dear Academia.Edu
1) The recommend button has ‘fields’ built, I guess, into its algorithm. What mechanisms are in place, if any, to counter the inherent conservative character of this recommendation system? What I mean is, like any search algorithm, the system works on likes and similarity, when what we probably need is a way to discover not so much what we already know and like, or variations thereof, but truly things that will stretch our ideas, habits of though, disciplinary boundaries. Not just some cod-interdisciplinarity either. is it possible to build an algorithm based on something that acknowledges quality – as this recommendation system is designed to do – but does not congeal disciplines with a tendential affirmation of the centre. This, of course is also the problem with Research Assessment Programmes of Govt and funding bodies, indeed, all discipline based peer review.

2) what is the companies position on attention theory of value? For example, the 40 mins of my time I just spent, the increments of time so many users ofacademia.edu spend etc. The benefit of using the site is not exactly a wage. Like peer review for mainstream publishing houses, academia.edu seems to benefit massively from unpaid labour. What mechanisms are in place to recompense user-workers for this astonishing gift of free labour. A share scheme for example. Otherwise what differentiates academia.edu from value extraction of the most virulent kind – unpaid exploitation of willing dupes, thriving on people’s egoistic desire to check their H-index or some such? Is there a discussion within the company of public ownership, distributed ownership, or at least transparency of accounts? Uber, airbnb etc have been starting to get some bad press of late, it might be good to head that off with a share distribution scheme so that academics can make a buck out of their obviously welcome labour.

Read Gary Hall’s essay – click below:

With over 36 million visitors each month, the massive popularity of Academia.edu is uncontested. But posting on Academia.edu is far from being ethically and politically…
BLOGS.LSE.AC.UK

City Requiem, outwitting paralysis to find ways to write anyway

Am pretty sure this page below is a kind of compliment, though it is an uneasy one. As I have said directly, never meant for there not to be many more inscriptions – how could I be the one to hold back the delude (apres moi?). Of course there should never be no reason to stop writing, just sometimes we could stop anthropologising (a moratorium on fieldwork!) and I always hope to write better, a forlorn task. Stereotypes-stereohypes, they keep getting back up again:

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 15.04.18

From the book by Ananya Roy 2003 “City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty” Uni of Minnesota Press, which, despite my being cast as the paralyser, also ends with some beautiful lines that capture what I to was trying to do: ‘ my narrative of the city … can only be one of multiple and irreconcilable iterations’ Ananya Roy. As I think was expressed already in Ashis Nandy’s comment on the back cover of ‘The Rumour’.

First Sentence

John Holloway has a thing in the latest HM Journal on the first sentence, but I had not seen it before writing these notes. See a link to his – or at least another verion of it, I dunno if exactly the same – via here. Meanwhile, these notes are the 2011 update of a text published in 2008 in Tom Bunyard’s “Devil’s Party“:

The first sentence

Starting with the difficult scene of commodity exchange, this is nonetheless a very clear and accessible read. Marx’s presentation differs from the mode of inquiry. The commentary on commodities was not his first object of analysis, it is an abstracted presentation, a writerly, rewritten, text.

Marx’s introduction anticipates a great many themes that will recur over and over in the text. Readers are forewarned, the wealth of nations is at stake, there be monsters, in this drama, where production rules, and its very elements, and their abstract form, will be examined.

Look at the first sentence of the text (in English, Penguin translation):

‘The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an “immense collection of commodities”, the individual commodity appears as its elementary form’ (Marx 1867/1976)

I think it is crucial that the commodity is the opening scene of a drama that has a wider purpose for demystifying. It is the opening to a work that will provide the ‘implied reader’ of Capital (I follow Gayatri Spivak’s ‘Scattered Speculations’ essay of 1985 in seeing this reader as first of all a member of the German socialist workers party here, and by extension today, you and I) with the x-ray vision to see through the trick of market exchange, control of production, distribution, valourisation, credit, the varieties of subsumption and the crises of capital, so as to sublate the productive power of capital away from the exploitative production for profit of commodity wealth into a more plentiful abundance of life and creativity for all…

Marx wrote his analysis of capital not only because he wanted to set down the answers, but so that the working class would have the wherewithal to make their own analyses, to read the world. We can have issues with this metaphor, which privileges text as unproblematic transcription, but Marx himself would not have difficulty here.

Who to write for as important as what to say.

So what to say? I would argue that the first sentence is of utmost important because the whole of Capital, in its presentation, is a staged drama. Throughout the literary theatrical code is prominent. Characters when they appear (as personifications, as ‘Moneybags’) perform in Marx’s theatre, even at the very beginning – the ‘immense collection of commodities’ is characterised as something like the World Fair, those mad exhibitions of the produce of the world, before which – in 1851 for example – Marx had marvelled as a visitor at the plunder of the world. The society to be examined is one where the capitalist mode of production prevails – prevails as a kind of monstrous law or power over all (prevails is translated as herrscht , which might be better rendered as rule, govern or controls). And though we are starting with the commodity, the analysis will look to the provenance of all these things, and how production determines exchange, and what follows (see my dispute with Clifford in Hutnyk 2004 chapter 1)

The very first four words of Marx’s Capital are ‘The Wealth of Societies’, surely echoing, as Spivak notes, Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. ‘In the rational plan for socialism’, however, ‘there is no room for nationalism’ (Spivak 2008:100). Against Smith, Marx writes a book that is aimed at overcoming the exploitation and appropriation of wealth that prevails in the capitalist mode of production as a social (class) formation. He writes in order to expose the trick of capital, its deceit and deception.

The wealth of societies is a phrase that should be the first to stop us. Recall that society is not community, think of Tonnies, soon to be writing on this distinction, recall Thatcher, recall Cameron’s big one – the proposal that the support work of social reproduction be further socialized, via all manner of voluntarism, non-remunerated labour, free for all disregard of the hard won concessions that a strong labour movement had wrested fro capital – we will spend considerable time on struggles over the length of the working say, but this is relevant also for family, ethnicity, self-education and a range of other modalities of reproduction, including affective labour in sexual service, family reproduction, marriage and – lets call it compensation dating.

Now, I am not saying we should address each word of Capital with a view to thinking how it is relevant to our circumstances today, to the current conjuncture, etc., though that is pretty much the essay question, but i do think its worth keeping in mind that we read with a contexted eye. This year, of all years, threatens to be interesting and I would like to think reading capital again can help us think differently than we presently do – the only reason to go on thinking at all.

What clinches this argument? The very wording of the opening sentence includes two visual references. In the Penguin edition the German word erscheint is translated as ‘appearance’. The German reads:

Der Reichtum der Gesellschaften, in welchen kapitalistische Produktionsweise herrscht, erscheint als eine “ungeheure Warensammlung”, die einzelne Ware als seine Elementarform.’

The term erscheint occurs just the once here, rendered as two instances of the word ‘appears’ in the English (as cited earlier). This is grammatically acceptable; translation is no pure calculus, but I think there is an important significance that is lost. In the Lawrence and Wishart edition the translation is better: ‘The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities”; its unit being a single commodity’ (Marx 1867/1967:35 my italic). Both editions then go on to say that our investigation therefore begins with the analysis of the commodity. Noting that accumulation is perhaps a better translation that collection, my point is that revealed in the gap between the two English translations of erscheint is the entire burden of Marx’s project – to expose the trick of the commodity as social form so as to teach the working class to see into the mechanics of industrial capital. Erscheinung, in German usage, has a double, or even triple sense. It connotes ‘appearance’ both in terms of how something looks, and in the theatrical sense of putting in an appearance, of staging something; in addition, it also has the sense of an apparition (which is what Derrida makes so much of in Spectres of Marx, although not actually from this sentence; it seems he prefers the Manifesto perhaps because it’s a shorter read [‘A spectre is haunting Europe’]). The ‘presents itself’ of the International edition gets closer to the theatrical sense, but does not capture the doubling nor the monstrous spectre, the trick that is perpetrated by the animated commodity – animated by the masses themselves, though they do not see it as such, yet.

Another point to be made here is that Marx, in that first sentence, quotes himself. Others have pointed to this curiosity (see Pepperell 2009), but Marx had already quipped in a preface that he was ‘coquetting’ with the presentation style of Hegel in setting out his rendering of Capital. This flirtation, that we do not need to take at its somewhat flippant word, is itself a machine for seduction, for storytelling, repetition, and a gamble that starts with a kind of doubled disguise (self quotation from the start) as a tactic. The wealth of societies is Smith, but not Smith, ‘ersheint’ is Hegel, but not Hegel, the commodity is the elementary form, but social, the monster accumulates.

I will also take up, in this first sentence that has detained us already for a long time, and further holds the rest of the text in abeyance, another translation slippage that I think is significant. Within the self quoted quote, the English renders the accumulation of commodities as ‘immense’. Ungeheure can certainly mean immense, or enourmous, but it also evokes a more Gothic meaning, that certainly fits the context – ungeheuerlich is ‘monstrous’, Ungeheuerlichkeit is ‘atrocity’. Perhaps it would be good, even in this first sentence, not to write out the evocations of Marx’s language – the theatrical and the gothic – a book populated by monsters is not merely comic, it is deadly serious, engaged in combat against demons and death.

Ungeheuer is immense but also monstrous. The demonic inflection is intended in Marx’s language. What today is the most monstrous appearance of capital? No longer a commodity economy but an economy economy, an immense collection of abstract shares, interest margins, affective attachement to interest rates and other markers of well-being, all of course based upon property and privilege still, but somewhat more clearly only the appearance of wealth is mediated through salary and bonus and all that can afford. Good schools, white entitlement, supremacy and privilege have never been less obvious as the marks of accumulated wealth of society types.

Appearance is theatrical, yet also a machine of domination. The point is to see though this trick, to see through the plastic appearances. We are not only talking of how things are, but also of how they are made to seem, and how we put up with them, even smiling as we do so. This needs a storyteller’s skill; so that rhetoric, metaphor, trope, coquetting; nothing escapes its role in the system. It might not even be impossible to imagine Marx as the system thinking itself in some contradictory, reflexive and critical manner (self quotation, doubling, haunting itself), but this is of course a fantastical deceit. Marx delivered a book that was itself a machine for narrative action (and still is, it gets inside your head and rewires thought, the tables dance). Now, the book could be read every time and for everyone as a potentially endlessly reorganized and renewed epic (it is hoped), still true to the project of teaching the implied reader to conjure with theory so as to unpack the real – to unpack the wealth of societies in which the capitalism mode of production prevails. Sure, it is a gamble to set out the analysis in a rhetorical style – inevitably part of the culture industry, the book itself still today engages with this gamble: Capital as a radical text sells more in times of crisis than not, and is sold as a commodity in bookshops for gain. It has its own commodity fetish format, precariously inserted into the DNA of the system of co-option and recuperation, even in the radical must-needs product. But the plastic will not remain forever – the reading of Capital is not merely system noise. We want people to read more than the first sentence, but also we want to read with care – and with a view to changing everything because, well – this is too quick, but we know the co-constitution of industry and exploitation cannot be merely described. The point is to change it. Books are also tools, plastic wealth is a trick, the screams of pain are real.

Note: Hans Ehrbar has prepared a resource that presents large sections of the English (Penguin, but often amended) and German (4th Edition) text of Capital in parallel, with significant explication. (Ehrbar 2009 http://www.econ.utah.edu/~ehrbar/akmc.pdf).

Ehrbar notes that this ‘new’ translation and interpretation of Marx ‘is deeply indebted to Critical Realism, a philosophical current founded by Roy Bhaskar’. He also says, unfortunately, that ‘I did not try to reproduce all ambiguities of the German text. If the German can be understood in two different ways, and interpretation a is, in my view, clearly right while interpretation b is wrong, then my translation will only try to bring out interpretation a’ (Ehrbar 2009 http://www.econ.utah.edu/~ehrbar/akmc.pdf)

My reading of the first sentence, prepared before I found Ehrbar, follows Spivak and attends to what might be called ambiguities, but which I think may be better rendered as dialectical style. The reading of the rest of the book will confirm or deny this assertion.

Marx himself rewriting the first sentence is here (which in turn links to this post, so a circuit metaphor is lurking there somehow… mis-en-about…)

weirdness of analytics – article downloads – collaborations

Procrastination from writing – that I’m otherwise getting on with – but which sometimes means indulging in looking at the various analytics on offer for websites like academia.edu, since it fits the time of a coffee, better than being tempted by tv series and such (Indian Summers anyone?). So, am a little sorry for these few articles that have only had a couple of downloads each this month. Is co-authoring a help or not? More looks, same takers.

Contexts for Distraction (with Tom Henri) 69 4
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Gaius Baltar (with Laura King) 24 4
Jungle Studies 13 4
The Dialectic of Here and There: Anthropology ‘at Home’ and British Asian Communism 13 4

 

 

As contrast, this months top downloads (online looks, downloads):
Bataille’s Wars Surrealism, Marxism, Fascism 188 33
Culture from Theory Culture Society 2006; 46 31
Citizen Marx/Kane – 2014 from Marx at the Movies, 108 30
Clifford’s Ethnographica 78 26
Hybridity 77 23
Proletarianisation 2013 in New Formations 102 21

snippet of presentation advice for #dissertation

queneauon dissertation formats:

This is a stylistic question that I think depends on the overall shape/effect of the piece and what you want to achieve. It raises interesting issues in terms of overall impression you give a reader. The language, the layout, the kinds of typology, fonts, subheadings, the tone or way you may or may not echo different kinds of writing – range can be vast, from essay, chapter, article, breezy reflexive summary or policy report, government regulation documentation, legal opinion, scientific prospectus, conventions of the dissertation (several formulaic kinds including lit review chapter or not etc) and all through the varieties of literary expression or models – diary, letters, mix of all of these. It is even important in publishing – not for you just yet obviously, but maybe of interest soon – to consider the type of binding, cover endorsements, size of name/title on spine etc – all these things are factors when someone picks up a book in a shop. Then there is the whole other question of how it looks online, on kindle etc. queneau
But on this, the decision is totally yours – which option looks best to you. Usually go with gut instinct on this. I have no personal preference. Sometimes I write to numbers, sometimes as stream of consciousness… as above. Thing is to leave time to indulge such considerations, and kill all typos.

Precarious: on generalized unemployment and the conditions of street contestation.

Abstract:

What can we learn about contemporary politics of work, service economy and culture industry from an old book from 1867? We can read – precisely in Chapter 25 of Marx’s Capital – a long disquisition on the industrial reserve army (LW628 section three of chapter 25). Much of the chapter is also on wages (and therefor probably moved from the once promised book on wages) and was included to emphasise the trick of accumulated capital – as unpaid labour power of a collective kind. If today the contribution economy, algorithms of advertising and circulation, and struggles over democracy in the media and on the street are questions of precarious life, does it matter that many have misunderstood Marx’s argument, his movement from individual worker to collective worker, and simple reproduction to capitalist reproduction, in Capital? If his argument is credited, then the ‘prekärer’ is the condition of all precarious workers (P793 D669 LW640), and all reproduction within capitalism is precarious. We then have to consider the proximity of the floating, latent and stagnant reserve army that keeps everyone ducking and diving to stay in place, keeps aspirations in check, keeps wages down, and is an unavoidable question of inside and outside that must always be put under pressure. Where Marx calls for workers and unemployed to organise together, we miss a trick if the sociological analysis remains at the level of the individual not collective. In this analysis, Capital is many, but the ‘we’ is more. What does this mean 150 years later for the organisation of social movements such that may or may not be linked to Occupy (Gezi, Umbrella, Indignados, Dataran).

Earlier – here.

the tropes challenge

Choose a genre (music, film, horror, sci fi), discipline (anthropology, sociology, management, psychiatry) or a favourite author (who has written a lot, Bataille, Burroughs, Spivak, Toer) and find at least one example of each of the following tropes (below):

not a complete list….

Rhetorical Figures


-A-

abating
abbaser
abecedarian
abcisio
ablatio
abode, figure of
abominatio
abuse
abusio
abusion
acoloutha
accismus
accumulatio
accusatio adversa
accusatio
acervatio
acrostic
acyrologia
acyron
adage
adagium
addubitatio
adhortatio
adianoeta
adjectio
adjournment
adjudicatio
adjunct
adjunctio
admonitio
adnexio
adnominatio
adynata
adynaton
aeschrologia
aetiologia
affirmatio
affirmation
aganactesis
agnominatio
agnomination
aischrologia
allegory
alleotheta
alliteration
amara irrisio
ambage, figure of
ambiguitas
ambiguous
amphibologia
ampliatio
anacephalaeosis
anacoenosis
anacoloutha
anacoluthon
anadiplosis
anamnesis
anangeon
anaphora
anapodoton
anastrophe
anemographia
anesis
antanaclasis
antanagoge
antenantiosis
anthimeria
anthropopatheia
anthypophora
anticategoria
anticipation
antilogy
antimetabole
antimetathesis
antipersonification
antiphrasis
antiprosopopoeia
antiptosis
antirrhesis
antisagoge
antistasis
antisthecon
antistrophe
antithesis
antitheton
antonomasia
apagoresis
aphaeresis
aphorismus
apocarteresis
apocope
apodioxis
apodixis
apologue
apophasis
apoplanesis
aporia
aposiopesis
apostrophe
apothegm
apparent refusal
appositio
apposition
ara
articulus
aschematismus
aschematiston
asphalia
assonance
assumptio
assumption
avancer, the
asteismus
astrothesia
asyndeton
auxesis
aversio
-B-
barbarism
battologia
bdelygmia
benedictio
bomphiologia
brachiepia
brachylogia
broad floute, the
-C-
-D-
-E-
ecphonesis
ecphrasis
ecthlipsis
effictio
elenchus
ellipsis
emphasis
enallage
enantiosis
enargia
encomium
energia
enigma
ennoia
enthymeme
enumeratio
epanalepsis
epanodos
epanorthosis
epenthesis
epergesis
epexegesis
epicrisis
epilogus
epimone
epiphonema
epiplexis
epistrophe
epitasis
epitheton
episynaloephe
epitrochasmus
epitrope
epizeugma
epizeuxis
erotema
ethopoeia
eucharistia
euche
eulogia
euphemismus
eustathia
eutrepismus
example
excitatio
exclamatio
excursus
exergasia
exouthenismos
expeditio
expolitio
exuscitatio
-F-
frequentatio
-G-
geographia
gnome
graecismus
-H-
-I-
icon
indignatio
inopinaturm
insinuatio
interrogatio
inter se pugnantia
intimation
irony
isocolon
-L-
-M-
macrologia
martyria
maxim
medela
meiosis
membrum
mempsis
merismus
mesarchia
mesodiplosis
mesozeugma
metabasis
metalepsis
metallage
metaphor
metaplasm
metastasis
metathesis
metonymy
mimesis
mycterismus
-N-

noema
-O-
oeonismus
ominatio
onedismus
onomatopoeia
optatio
orcos
oxymoron
-P-
-R-
ratiocinatio
repetitio
repotia
restrictio
rhetorical question
-S-
sarcasmus
scesis onomaton
schematismus
scheme
scurra
skotison
sententia
sermocinatio
simile
solecismus
soraismus
sorites
subjectio
sustentatio
syllepsis
syllogismus
symperasma
symploce
synaeresis
synaloepha
synathroesmus
syncatabasis
syncategorema
synchoresis
synchysis
syncope
syncrisis
synecdoche
synoeciosis
synonymia
synthesis
syntheton
synzeugma
systole
systrophe
-T-
tapinosis
tasis
tautologia
taxis
thaumasmus
tmesis
topographia
topothesia
traductio
transitio
transplacement
tricolon
-V-
-Z-
zeugma

Museum of Innocence on smoking

For curio’s sake – and for its [mild] critique of anthropology – there is this short chapter from Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Museum of Innocence’. You only need to know that the ‘author’ of the text has been deliriously in love with Fusan for years. What is impressive however is the way empirical evidence gets into the novel, a documentation of this obsession. It is even possible to visit the museum and see the butts lovingly displayed.

IMG_1488 IMG_1489 IMG_1490