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This article argues that the entanglement of digital technoscience and capitalism has led to an ‘automated neoliberalism’ in which markets are configured by digital platforms, personal lives are transformed through the accumulation of personal data, and social relations are automated through algorithms, distributed electronic ledgers, and rating systems.

In school and tertiary education sectors, the rise of accountability regimes parallels the growth in bureaucracy and marketisation of knowledge work. Increasing student numbers have not been matched by an increase in teaching staff, whilst new administrative positions in accounting, marketing, and legal services have ballooned. In this paper we are concerned to examine the impact of these institutional changes on the lived experiences of education professionals.

The account of bureaucracy under neoliberal capitalism presented in this article under the innocuous heading it prefers to use to describe itself ('governance') draws together recent critical work by David Graeber, Wendy Brown, William Davies and Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, which it repositions in relation to Jacques Rancière’s conception of the 'police order'.

Exploring the meaning of bureaucratic definitions of disability can help us learn something about the organising force of bureaucracy on our lives. In particular, this paper explores a paradox found within the bureaucratic orientation whereby disability is conceptualised as lack of function resulting in an inability to keep the rules that is, nonetheless, managed by the imposition of further rules that need to be kept.

Ekin Erkan reviews Yuk Hui, Recursivity and Contingency, London, Rowman & Littlefield, 2019, pp317, £24.95/£80.00 and Bethan Michael-Fox reviews Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith, Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism, London, Zed, 2020, 208pp; £14.99 paperback.


David Bennett, Carolyn D'Cruz, Glenn D'Cruz, Julia Vassilieva

This article is published as a tribute to the late Hungarian philosopher Agnes Heller, who died earlier this year.

How is it possible to profit from protecting the environment, rather than through deepening its terminal crisis? In recent years, a growing group of investors, economists and governments have answered this question with a range of market-based instruments designed to facilitate the commodification and trade of everything from carbon to wetlands.

This paper charts emerging scholarship on what I conceptualise as ‘compensatory cultures’; cultures that are, in essence, compensatory responses to crisis, but are presented and received as desirable, even preferable ways of organising life.

The aim of this article is two-fold. Firstly, it identifies and maps out a new presence in race discourse in the UK arts and higher education, under the heading of ‘US Black Critical Thought’. Secondly, it seeks to situate ‘US Black Critical Thought’ and its growing impact upon intellectual and aesthetic discourses on race in the UK through the lens of the longer-term project of ‘Black British Cultural Studies’.


Shahidha Bari , Jacob McGuinn , Elliot Ross, Claire Finch

Reviews: The Insistent Poetics of Relation Shahidha Bari An Historically Conjunctural Phenomenon Jacob McGuinn New Narrative Maternity Claire Finch Booknote: An Indomitable Humanism Elliot Ross

Ben Roberts and Patrick Crogan introduce this special issue of New Formations.

This article discusses the cyclical nature of automation anxiety and examines ways of thinking about the recurrence of automation debates in culture, particularly with reference to the 1950s, 1960s and today.

Contesting binaries that tend to underlie claims about automation, this article seeks to complicate arguments that are made about digital technology and the processes and practices of automation essential to it.


Clare Birchall, Jack Boulton, Joni Meenagh, Danielle Sands

On the NSA (New Security Aesthetics) Clare Birchall reviews Matthew Potolsky, The National Security Sublime: On the Aesthetics of Government Secrecy, London, Routledge, 2019, 183pp; £115 hardback; from £21 ebook. All Good in Theory Jack Boulton reviews John Protevi, Edges of the State, Minnesota, University of Minnesota Press, 2019, 118pp; paperback, $7.95, ISBN 978-1-517-90796-9. Can Femininity be Queer? Joni Meenagh reviews Hannah McCann, Queering Femininity: Sexuality, Feminism, and the Politics of Presentation, London and New York, Routledge, 2018, 162pp; £115.00 hardcover. Judgment, or Learning How to Live Danielle Sands reviews Jacques Derrida, Before the Law: The Complete Text of Préjugés, Sandra Van Reenan and Jacques de Ville (trans.), Minneapolis & London, University of Minnesota Press, 2018, 78pp; ISBN 978-1517905514 (pbk).

Minimal Autonomies Oliver Haslam reviews Nicholas Brown, Autonomy: The Social Ontology of Art under Capitalism. Durham, Duke University Press, 2019, 232pp; $24.95 paperback, $89.95 cloth. Epochal Ecopoetics Demi Wilton reviews David Farrier, Anthropocene Poetics: Deep Time, Sacrifice Zones, and Extinction, Minneapolis and London, University of Minnesota Press, 2019, 164pp; $23 paperback, $93 cloth.

Jeremy Gilbert introduces issue 96-97 of New Formations.

Inspired by Hall et al.’s Policing the Crisis (1978), the authors provide a conjunctural analysis of present-day Germany. It is based on a periodisation of Merkelism – the dominant political mode of managing the economic, political and cultural crisis tendencies in the country from the mid-2000s onwards.

This article draws on Donald Winnicott’s understanding of human dependence and Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake (2015) to open up a new space between ‘psychoanalysis’ and ‘politics’.