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In this essay I reflect on a sample of a relatively new literature that has emerged in recent years on the growth of ‘womenomics’ and what Adrienne Roberts has called ‘transnational business feminism’. Are these developments a triumph for the influence of feminist activists around the globe? Or do we see them as yet another classic attempt by the agents of capitalist globalisation to contain the energies of women and turn them to the advantage of the bottom line? I look at some examples of TBF on the part of Goldman Sachs, Unilever, Levi-Strauss, and the Nike Foundation; at the debate among feminist scholars over whether neoliberal feminism is ‘really’ feminism; at the rise of the concept of ‘empowerment;’ and finally, at some elements that TBF leaves out of the picture, including the neoliberal assault on social reproduction; the extreme exploitation of women workers, from Walmart to Export Processing Zones; the retreat from class analysis under neoliberalism; and the continuing effects of ‘structural adjustment’ on countries in the North like Greece subject to the ravages of the international financial order. I conclude with a call to the international male left to be as welcoming and as creative toward the ideas and the activism of the international women’s movement as their corporate adversaries.
Niall Gildea, Joe Darlington, Simone Natale, Debra Benita Shaw, Sean Phelan
Books reviewed: David Wills, Inanimation: Theories of Inorganic Life, Minneapolis and London, University of Minnesota Press, 2016, 318pp; $30.00 paperback. Trebor Scholz, Uberworked and Underpaid: How Workers are Disrupting the Digital Economy, New York, Polity Press, 2016, 242 pp. Esther Leslie, Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Liquid Form, London: Reaktion, 2016, 296pp, £25 hardback.
This essay examines how the critical theory of photography has, at least since Barthes and Sontag, developed a default position that is routinely suspicious of the political and aesthetic value of images of the dead, even as the archive of images of the dead continues to accumulate and to shock. Photographic theory seems to share the post-war assumptions that death has been eclipsed by modernity, sequestered away and rendered taboo. The project here is to give a sense of the array of photographic practice that exists in stark opposition to these assumptions, and indeed in the contemporary moment seems actively to stage an argument with the thesis of the ‘eclipse of death’. It considers work ranging from Sally Mann and Luc Delahaye to the recent projects of Edgar Martins.
This article explores representations of autoerotic death in a range of discursive fields: the media, forensic pathology, the psy sciences, literary fiction, and internet humour. It adopts a broadly Foucauldian approach to the study of the topic; i.e., rather than interrogating what sexual practices leading to autoerotic death mean, or what motivates people to experiment with these ‘extreme’ practices, it explores instead what attitudes towards autoerotic death tell us about normative cultural understandings of sexuality and gender. The article interrogates the ways in which gender norms and roles are at play in the apprehension of autoerotic fatalities, marking some of the men who die in this way as effeminate, failed men; while others are represented as hyper-masculine misadventurers. It also discusses why the rare female autoerotic fatality troubles assumptions about the nature and role of women. The biases guiding definitions of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ sexuality and gender are thus revealed in particularly striking ways by moving the focus of interrogation away from the pathologised practices and the bodies they produce, and onto the discourses that pronounce about them.
Books reviewed: Ben Anderson, Encountering Affect: Capacities, Apparatuses, Conditions, Farnham, Ashgate, 2014, 194pp, £65.00 hardback Maurizia Boscagli, Stuff Theory: Everyday Objects, Radical Materialism, New York and London, Bloomsbury, 2014, 279pp, £16.99 paperback Elizabeth Chin, My Life with Things: The Consumer Diaries, Duke University Press, 2016, 239pp, £19.99 paperback Tonino Griffero, Atmospheres: Aesthetics of Emotional Spaces, translated by Sarah de Sanctis, Farnham, Ashgate, 2014, 174pp, £65.00 hardback
This paper explores avenues for resistance to precarious and exploited labour in the cultural sector. It investigates the potential of worker co-operatives to help improve working conditions and radically reimagine cultural work.
Sociable curiosity - wondering and finding out about others (empathetic curiosity), and being curious with them (relational curiosity) - can draw people together, bridging differences and social distances.
This special issue explores some of the ways in which austerity can be construed as capturing, shaping, and (dis)organising the future. It addresses the futures that austerity has begun to assign to certain subjects and to embed in the societies they live in.
Rebecca Bramall, Jeremy Gilbert, James Meadway
This is the edited transcript of a conversation between Rebecca Bramall, editor of this special issue, Jeremy Gilbert, editor of New Formations, and James Meadway, who at the time was chief economist of the New Economics Foundation and is currently advising shadow chancellor the exchequer John McDonnell in a consultancy capacity.
Reviews by David Glover, Sarah L. Webb, Richard Eldridge, Ben Highmore and Joseph Darlington
To understand how sexism works, to ask why sexism remains stubbornly persistent in shaping worlds, determining possibilities, deciding futures, despite decades of feminist activism, is to work out and to work through the very mechanics of power. [...]
This article, based on a lecture of the same title prepared for the Sexism Workshop at Goldsmiths College in 2014, builds on personal experience to address the persistence of sexism in the academy. The individual experiences on which it is based are both personal and generic, and the aim of revisiting them here is diagnostic: to examine sexism as a means of reproduction.
Leila Whitley, Tiffany Page
In this article we discuss the sexual harassment that occurs within academic institutions between academic staff and students. Our interest is in analysing the ways that sexism and sexual harassment are enabled and sustained in the university environment.
Zara Dinnen, Geoff Eley, John Ó Maoilearca, Sam McBean
Reviews by Zara Dinnen, Geoff Eley, John Ó Maoilearca and Sam McBean
Jeremy Gilbert, Andrew Goffey
First published in Michel Butel’s popular review L’Autre journal, of which he was an editorial board member, Gilles Deleuze’s essay on control societies, re-published in Pourparlers in 1990 and later translated as the ‘Postscript on Control Societies’ (hereafter just the ‘Postscript’) has proved to be one of his most widely cited pieces of work.
Robin Murray, Jeremy Gilbert, Andrew Goffey
One of the UK’s leading radical economists discusses the history of post-Fordism as both a concept and a set of economic practices, with specific reference to his role as an innovative municipal policy-maker at the GLC in the 1980s and subsequently.
In re-igniting a familiar debate about the balance between state security and individual privacy, the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have stalled on matters of regulation and reform, which treat secrecy, securitisation and surveillance largely in procedural terms.