Against resilience

‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword among a range of policy networks, wherein it serves as an ambition. People ought to become more resilient. The world is threatening: the economy, the climate and terrorism all figure as dangers against whose impacts we must resile. The fertile discourse of resilience spawns activity in research, policy development and service delivery. If we can educate our children to be resilient, if we can structure our communities to become resilient, we may survive a world of risk and then… And then what? This survivalist doctrine paradoxically...

Thread of Occupy talk at Peace History C...

Threads of Occupy on Prezi I was pleased to be invited to talk on Occupy at the opening panel of last week’s Peace History Conference, alongside Sam Walton (on the role of St Pauls), David Fernandez-Arias (on Occupy MCR) and Jacqui Burke giving us historical context with a reading of accounts from the Peterloo massacre. There’s lots of video available from this panel and Saturday’s talks here: http://www.peacehistoryhub.org/ My talk focused on the ideological content of occupation as a direct action tactic. You can flick through the Prezi presentation on...

Published: Social Movement Studies Speci...

From the editors’ introduction (with Jenny Pickerill): This article explores a number of key questions that serve to introduce this special issue on the ethics of research on activism. We first set out the limitations of the bureaucratic response to ethical complexities in our field. We then examine two approaches often used to justify research that demands time consuming and potentially risky participation in research by activists. We label these approaches the ethic of immediate reciprocity and the ethic of general reciprocity and question their impacts. We note,...

Just who do you think we are?

Tom asked: Just spent the morning listening to a couple of folks who were labour activists in the 40s and 50s. Now wondering how we organise politically under the sociological conditions of late modernity. If the class structure isn’t there to support the traditional labour movement (in the same way), what can we build instead? An important and tricky question, no doubt; in the following I may only succeeded in rewording it… What is it about the traditional class structure that has changed? Partly it has become much more globally dispersed, and so it is...

Can I blame Apple for the British Riots?

Conservatives in power, vicious cuts applied to the welfare state while regressive taxes increase, police violence perpetrated against the poor against a background of declining legitimacy. Yes, the parallels between 2011 and 1981 are irresistibly suggestive of a political explanation for the British summer riots. The triggers in 1981 were ‘heavy handed’ and often racist policing reflecting long running policing policies that systematically targeted young black men whose experience of state authority would likely have been unremittingly negative. This combined...

Reminder: the budget deficit was not cau...

The ConDems incessantly justify cut after cut with reference to Labour’s supposed welfare profligacy. So maybe its time to remind ourselves why the budget deficit has increased dramatically… Here’s a useful graph (from the BBC) that shows the fluctuations in the budget deficit since the 1980s, with the deficit expressed as a proportion of GDP. Prudence was Gordon Brown’s watchword as Chancellor and when Labour came into power in ’97 they quickly turned their inherited deficit around. It creeps up again after the invasion and occupation of...

‘Clicktivism’ talk at 6 Bill...

Here is the presentation from my talk at 6 Billion Ways, you can make it full screen and explore by clicking on items and zooming in and out (a scroll wheel is handy). Or use the controls in the bottom right corner to follow a pre-defined path. If it doesn’t seem to be working here, try the external link to...

The New Machine

In Times of the Technoculture, my old boss Frank Webster argued that current info society trends in the capitalist economy are largely the logical extension of trends that have been around more or less since the birth of capitalism. Specifically, Taylorism brought scientific management to the workplace, with surveillance and discipline hand in hand; but there were full on plans (through an organisation of engineers and capitalists called ‘The New Machine’) to take those advances in efficiency into the realms of politics and society where a (positive) form of...