Bert Olivier

Rocking the cultures of the aftermath

Muse is a rock band with a difference. That was true of Queen as well, and it is no accident that Muse counts this redoubtable exponent of highly original rock music among its progenitors. But they seem to take originality to a new level – their new album, The 2nd Law, pays homage to nothing…

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Tracking the aftermath of the financial crisis

In Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis (Oxford, 2012), Manuel Castells, Joôa CaraÇa, Gustavo Cardoso (editors) and a number of colleagues from the social sciences set out to provide some insight into the financial/economic crisis that flared up in 2008 (and has still not run its course). More than that, as the title of…

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What ‘wisdom’?

Can humanity today show itself capable of developing a way of life that may be called, against all odds, one marked by WISDOM? This seems highly unlikely, given the state of the world economy (which has a lot to do with short-sightedness and wastefulness), and more importantly, the planetary ecology. Fact is, humans have shown…

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Framing Romney’s big-money politics

In the October 1 2012 edition of TIME magazine, James Poniewozik wrote an incisive piece of journalism on the imminent US presidential election – more precisely on Mitt Romney’s aspirations and the occasion of his gaffe about “the 47%” although Poniewozik concentrates on a different, to my mind, more telling aspect of the donor banquet…

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Homo and Gyna Consumens

One of the most perspicacious social theorists of our time, Zygmunt Bauman, has given us a compelling, if not wholly original sketch of the contemporary consumer, or what he calls “Homo consumens”. I prefer to add “Gyna” (woman) to “Homo” (man), not only for feminist reasons of representing all the members of the human race,…

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What is enlightenment?

The question has sometimes been asked (and answered) in philosophy, whether the historical Enlightenment has been sustained. Adorno and Horkheimer, for instance – in Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) – claimed that the historical Enlightenment had dialectically been transformed into the subjection to, if not enslavement by, technical rationality and an impersonal system of administration. Willi…

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Validating Ian Parker’s work

The following is an excerpt (posted here with editor Grahame Hayes’ permission) from a longer review I wrote for Psychology in Society 41 of Ian Parker’s book Lacanian Psychoanalysis – Revolutions in Subjectivity (Routledge 2011). I post it on TL to give interested people an idea of Parker’s scholarship and just how scandalous Manchester Metropolitan…

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Protesting against critical psychologist Ian Parker’s suspension

From various sources, located in different countries across the globe, I have received the message, in inverted commas, below, signed by China Mills. It concerns the suspension, from Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, of Ian Parker, one of the best known and most influential critical psychologists in the world today, who is also a practising…

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Einstein in new contexts

Many students who discover, for the first time, the way that a concept’s meaning can subtly change from one context to the next, are so taken with this that they jump to the relativistic conclusion, namely, that new contexts change a concept in such a manner that, in the new context, it is incomparably different…

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The capitalist

One gets a clue regarding the status of the capitalist subject in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (1987: 457-458) where the downside of capitalism is put in clearer perspective than in Anti-Oedipus (where capital is depicted as a gigantic “body-without-organs” to which “desiring-machines” attach themselves intermittently, at different points – something that lends itself…

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