Bert Olivier

Update on attempt by MMU to suspend Ian Parker (2)

Here is the rest of the account regarding events surrounding Ian Parker at MMU in the UK: “The worst outcome for the neoliberal university is that it fails to persuade its staff that anyone who complains has a problem, and MMU has done its level best to make it seem that the problem here was…

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Update on attempt by MMU to suspend Ian Parker (1)

I was recently sent an update by a friend on the attempt, by Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, to dismiss renowned critical psychologist, Ian Parker, under the heading: “Neoliberalism at Manchester Metropolitan University, and an alternative”. The valuable account, by someone who obviously has access to all the relevant information, and who knows how…

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Walking in the city of Seoul

Walking the streets of Seoul – the “Soul of Asia” – whenever we have had the time, after giving a seminar at a Korean university at the invitation of a friend, has reminded me of Michel de Certeau’s now classic study, The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), part of which is entitled “Walking in the…

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Musing on music

“Korean flamenco” might appear to be an oxymoron, and in a sense it is. After all, flamenco is as Spanish as one can get in the realm of music … and indigenous Korean music is nothing like it. But last night we – the delegates to a conference on English literature organised by the English…

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Jacques Ranciére – the philosopher of equality

It was about time that someone restored equality to its rightful place in the constellation of philosophical concepts, after decades of the valorisation of “difference” in various forms. And who better than a citizen of the country that gave us the battle-cry, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” Jacques Ranciére is that person, and refreshingly – in a…

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Know how to dare!

In Commonwealth (2009) Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, in their criticism of what they call the “republic of property”, and en route to the conceptualisation of a social democracy which lends itself to the actual transformation of the social and political status quo — and not merely restricts itself to lip-service to such transfiguration —…

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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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