This is largely on me and not Bourdieu, but I am really not in a place right now where I care enough about the particulars of his argument to try andThis is largely on me and not Bourdieu, but I am really not in a place right now where I care enough about the particulars of his argument to try and puzzle my way through prose so intentionally abstruse....more
An examination of/argument for the liminal nature of the middle class in the 20th century US, using social workers as a particular case study involvedAn examination of/argument for the liminal nature of the middle class in the 20th century US, using social workers as a particular case study involved in patrolling the borders between the lower classes (welfare recipients/workers/immigrants/etc) and the upper (wealthy volunteers)-the latter of which falls off as the century progresses and is largely replaced by the state and professionalization projects.
Not being particularly interested in social work per se, I enjoyed his introduction and conclusion the most, concerned as they were with the larger issue of class and identity formation in social and cultural history.
This is also a superbly constructed and clearly presented argument-hats off to Walkowitz for that....more
Denning argues that the popular front (the broad radical, social-democratic movement forged around anti-fascism, anti-lynching/racism, and the industrDenning argues that the popular front (the broad radical, social-democratic movement forged around anti-fascism, anti-lynching/racism, and the industrial unionism of the CIO)'s "cultural front" movement reshaped ("labored") American culture regarding:
- use of "labor" or synonyms thereof in rhetoric - increased influence on and participation of working-class Americans in culture and arts (result of expansion of mass culture/higher education/entertainment industries) - labor of cultural production (the most convincing part of the book) - social-democratic influence on the left of the new deal - all producing a "second American Renaissance"
the first time, in other words, that the Left had a central impact on American culture....more
An impressively lucid (if rather lofty) examination of Marx and philosophy-or Philosophy with a capital "P" more accurately. Balibar is more concernedAn impressively lucid (if rather lofty) examination of Marx and philosophy-or Philosophy with a capital "P" more accurately. Balibar is more concerned here with situating Marx and his (anti- or non-) philosophy within the canon of Philosophy than he is with critical theory or even structures of capitalism.
NOT, as I keep seeing it referred to as, a useful first introduction to Marx or Marxism; more a way to restructure an existing understanding from a different conceptual direction....more
Well I was annoyed enough when I realized that this idiot's argument was that branding is basically the only way anyone can relate to anything anymoreWell I was annoyed enough when I realized that this idiot's argument was that branding is basically the only way anyone can relate to anything anymore but that that's GREAT and a way to give "high culture" more of a "mass culture" appeal. It's like this guy synthesized Jameson and the Frankfurt School and took from it that yes, the market has saturated everything, but that that is actually a positive (Sometimes. He thinks the fact that it has happened to churches is kind of hilarious and good but he is noticeably pissy about the fact that it has also happened to his own university). And then he starts in with that bullshit about the market democritizing everything and making life fairer and blah blah blah. Anyway so I was tempted to quit reading then and there but I kept going for a bit because Twitchell is the king of non-sequiturs and mixed metaphors (and also sweeping generalizations or points that he doesn't back up at all, but that is less amusing).
79: Desire often resides not internally but in the panic of others... such communicable panic may even be hardwired. In the mid-1980s, entomologists did a series of experiments with ants. Two food sources were placed equidistant from and on opposite sides of a nest... There was no reason for the ants to prefer one brand, so to speak, to the other. Logical economists would predict that the ants would divide the piles evenly... Instead, because ants can signal one another as to where food lies, the distribution fluctuated wildly... Follow the leader is no simple childhood game but a deeply installed herd behavior.
So human consumers "follow the leader" because of ant... herds? Herds of ants. Seriously. And I mean, I hate sociobiology as much as the next guy who hates sociobiology, but even if you're going to make an argument relying on that, maybe ants aren't the best starting point?
88: [Talking about megachurches:] In the world of fungible products, you don't capture market share without having to contend with the howls of those you displace. With the arrival of Wal-Mart come the cries of unfair, unfair. From whom? From Sears and J. C. Penney. And who howled when Sears and J. C. Penney... came to town? The downtown merchants... And who shouted "unfair" when the downtown merchants came? The corner store. And whom did the corner store displace? The door-to-door salesman, the drummer. In a strange sense, things have come full circle as the intependent megachurch pastor shares many similarities (independent, local boy responsible for his own territory) with the Victorian drummer. The drummer earned his nickname because that was his task: to drum up business.
These are all businesses, but apparently the drummer and the megachurch are the only ones who, uh, "drum up" business... and the megachurch drives everything else out of business, just as the drummer was himself driven out... of business... that he had attempted to drum up... it's a circle, you see.
94: [Again, megachurches:] And so when the music starts-and you know when it starts because the place shakes-the reverberence is literal. And when it's quiet, you can actually hear breathing. I haven't been to many rock concerts but my kids tell me the sound systems make isolation impossible. You don't listen to the sounds, you feel them.
I guess he means isolation from the music, i.e. silence. But that would give you "the sound systems make silence impossible" which is kind of the point at a rock concert? Side note: He also makes a reference to "electronic guitars" at some point, which doesn't mean what he thinks it means.
98: [In the office/seminar/study section of the megachurch:] Everything is neatly labeled in Helvetica, the floors have the telltale color-coded lines for how to get from here to there, the walls are greenish, the stairs all have no-slip strips, and the whole aura says Mayo Clinic. In fact, this side of Willow Creek looks like a hospital because, as I reflected, that's exactly what it is. There is even rubberized flooring in the stairwells just like the hospital. This is a cultural safe place. I almost expected to see one of those signs with a small child being hugged announcing a Safe Zone.
Sure, I guess he means hospital as "place where broken people are fixed" but... come on.
102: while men may read in private, in public they seem to crave the company of other men.
... I don't know (context doesn't provide any clues here, trust me).
Oh also he argues that the SAT introduced a kind of meritocracy into higher education and that class no longer plays a role....more
Smith argues for a systematic understanding of gentrification, rather than a simple consumer-driven one. He does this in a convincing manner, relyingSmith argues for a systematic understanding of gentrification, rather than a simple consumer-driven one. He does this in a convincing manner, relying heavily on a Harvey-esque examination of capital disinvestment.
My chief complaint is that after his fascinating introduction, Smith pretty much drops the cultural analysis of the "urban frontier" myth, which I found fascinating....more
Red Planets is a collection of essays that offers an intricate analysis of the developI'm just going to steal the beginning of bill fletcher's review:
Red Planets is a collection of essays that offers an intricate analysis of the development of science fiction as a genre. This collection also unpacks many of the key themes in science fiction and relates them to broader struggles on the ideological plane. As such, Red Planets must be read less as an analysis of the hidden (and not so hidden) messages contained in much science fiction literature, cinema, and television, and more as an examination of how various issues of theory are struggled out within the realm of what we have come to know as science fiction.
I really liked carl freedman's article on noir and science fiction, and will try to get around to reading his book soon.
likewise andrew millner's work on raymond williams and sf (and I actually received an email about the release of a collection of williams' relevant writings edited by millner like the day after I finished this). steven shaviro, rob latham, and phillip wegner also had very strong contributions.
sherryl vint's essay lost me immediately by focusing on speciesism. don't care, sorry.
then there's darren jorgensen, whose essay is a call to arms in defense of... althusser? and who later reveals himself to be some sort of stalinist/ussr apologist? no thanks, guy.
also, only two woman contributors to the volume? for shame....more
An excellent overview of the development and stratification of the genre (and studies thereof). I should have read this before Red Planets, but what cAn excellent overview of the development and stratification of the genre (and studies thereof). I should have read this before Red Planets, but what can you do? ...more