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21. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Loïc Wacquant Ordering Insecurity: Social Polarization and the Punitive Upsurge
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The sudden growth and glorification of the penal state in the United States after the mid-1970s (and in Western Europe two decades later) is not a response to the evolution of crime, but a reaction to—and a diversion from—the social insecurity produced by the fragmentation of wage labor and the destabilization of ethnoracial hierarchies following the discarding of the Fordist-Keynesian compact. It partakes of a new government of poverty wedding restrictive “workfare” and expansive “prisonfare,” which ensnares the precarious fractions of the postindustrial proletariat in a carceral-assistential net designed to steer them towards deregulated employment or to contain them in their dispossessed neighborhoods and in the booming prisons that have become their satellites. This policy of penalization of urban marginality guided by moral behaviorism partakes of a broader reengineering and remasculinizing of the state that has rendered obsolete the traditional scholarly and policy division between welfare and crime. It must be grasped, not under the narrow rubric of repression, but under the generative category of production, as it has spawned new state agencies, social types, knowledges and experts. It makes the study of incarceration an essential chapter in the sociology of the state and social stratification in the era of triumphant neoliberalism.
22. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Ron Haas Guy Hocquenghem's Critique of Radical Leftism
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This article reviews the importance of the French philosopher Guy Hocquenghem. An early theorist of radical homosexuality, Hocquenghem was prescient about the rightward pull on many in the ‘68 generation in France, including those who would go on to media fame in France for liberal critiques of their earlier political incarnations. Hocquenghem would die too soon in 1988, but not before leaving an influential corpus for those thinking non-heterosexist forms of desire and political communities.
23. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Laurie Shrage Will Philosophers Study Their History, Or Become History?
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This paper contends that philosophers should consult the work of intellectual historians, who write on the history of the social formation of philosophy in the U.S., in order to understand our past role in American society and our intellectual niche in the academy. By understanding the history of our field as a social and cultural phenomenon, and not as a set of ideas that transcend their human contexts, we will be in a better position to set a future course for our discipline.
24. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Richard A. Jones, Harry van der Linden Editors’ Introduction: Radical Metaphilosophy
25. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Chad Kautzer, David Harvey Class, Crisis, and the City: An Interview with David Harvey
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The following interview was conducted on July 13, 2009 at the JFK Institute for Graduate Studies, Freie Universität in Berlin, shortly after a conference, entitled “Class in Crisis: Das Prekariat zwischen Krise und Bewegung,” at which Harvey delivered a keynote address. The conference, organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, engaged the political, socio-economic, and conceptual dimensions of the so-called precariat class. The precariat (das Prekariat or la précarité) is typically defined by short-term employment, persistent marginalization, and social insecurity—something of a fragmented urban underclass whose precariousness is increasingly evident in traditionally middle-class economic life. While the concept of the precariat has yet to take root in English-language social theory, the work of Loïc Wacquant (who also delivered a keynote at the Berlin conference), for example, has been popularizing it.
26. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 11 > Issue: 2
Jérôme Melançon The Political Action of Thinking: On Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu’s Interventions
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By looking at the manner in which Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Pierre Bourdieu have sought to understand the political nature of their work and explained their interventions in political affairs, this article defines the action they saw as possible and necessary for intellectuals. As it can only involve others, this action can take the form of dialogue and explanation or of a collective intellectual. In the texts where they reflect on their political involvement outside of parties and government, both authors assert the impossibility to evade politics. By comparing their positions, we begin to develop a critical phenomenology.
27. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Kenneth W. Stikkers The “Art of Living”: Aesthetics of Existence in Foucault and American Philosophy
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In volumes two and three of The History of Sexuality, Michel Foucault recovers an ancient ethical tradition of “aesthetics of existence,” or “art of living”—the “elaboration of one’s own life as a personal work of art”—centered on the notion of “care of the self.” This ethic invites one to think of one’s life as one’s primarywork of art, and hence is a matter strictly of personal choice and freedom, while the codified ethics characterizing Christianity and modernity are matters of universal obligation. The paper demonstrates 1) that the “art of living” has been a central theme in the American philosophical tradition at least since Thoreau, 2)that many of the positive features of Foucault’s presentation of such an ethic are found throughout that tradition, and 3) that the American tradition, especially Dewey, resolved more successfully than Foucault some of the problems in aesthetics of existence.
28. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Brian Elliott Debord, Constant, and the Politics of Situationist Urbanism
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In the first years of its existence between 1957 and 1960 the efforts of the radical collective the Situationist International (SI) centred on its program of “unitary urbanism.” This program sought to challenge the functionalist character of hegemonic forms of urban planning through novel practices of urban experimentation and contestation. Situationist urbanism arose largely through the collaboration between Guy Debord and the Dutch avant-garde architect Constant. This article explores the political dimension of situationist urbanism and the tensions that led to Constant’s secession from the group in 1960. Through analysis of the affinities and divergences between urbanism in its modernist and situationist forms a case is made for the crucial contribution situationist practices might make to the restoration of public space as a vital arena of contemporary political contestation and community.
29. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Nicholas Reynolds Family, Inner Life, and the Amusement Industry
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I critically engage Max Horkheimer’s “Art and Mass Culture” from Critical Theory. I split Horkheimer’s essay into three parts, which correspond to the three sections of my essay. The first section details the objective historical conditions that have lead up to Horkheimer’s diagnosis. The second section describes the change in consciousness that corresponds to these conditions, and the third section outlines Horkheimer’s critique of Mortimer Adler and art that belongs to “the amusement industry.” I describe the basic elements of Horkheimer’s aesthetic theory, use several pieces of art as examples of the application of the theory, andprovide contemporary analogues in order to illustrate the relevance of the essay to today’s world.
30. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Doug Morris Mystic River’s Blood-Dimmed Tide
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This chapter interrogates Hollywood film as a powerful public pedagogical machine and as an influential component of the broader media culture, that serves as a primary terrain where the authority of violence and the violence of authority expresses, justifies, and legitimates itself in the U.S. Allegiances to, identifications with, beliefs in, desires for, and attitudes about violence, authority, militarism, and power are largely constructed, imbued, directed and shaped through dominant media formations as they create images and spectacles of violence, either real or fabricated. During a time of continuing imperial aggression, expanding Pentagon budgets, increased international violence, growing authoritarian tendencies, and when an “imperially ambitious” United States has embarked on what Anatole Lieven calls a policy of “unilateral global domination through absolute military superiority,” the inculcation into the mass consciousness of the justification for, identification with, acceptance and pursuit of mass violence through military aggression becomes all the more crucial.
31. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Scott Zeman By Grace of Broken Skin: An Aesthetics of Inscriptive Development
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I address the question of the origins and historical meaning of art. Analyzing suggestions from Marx, Derrida, Winnicott, and Todorov, I claim that art doesn’t simply represent conscious, historical events but is also the continuing presentation of the prehistorical break-up of our “original” human family. Indeed,perpetuating yet distancing this archaic scene of community and violence in tension, art performs this mediation not just in history but also as history, as a secretive historiography of splitting and meaning-making. To this end, I analyze some tribal tattooing and scarring practices. Literally carving a world of metaphorical significance out of our disidentification with mother nature and with each other in turn, art speaks hieroglyphically of persistent primitive loss.
32. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Anne F. Pomeroy, Richard A. Jones Editors’ Introduction
33. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Gertrude Postl From Gender as Performative to Feminist Performance Art: Judith Butler and Valie Export
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Judith Butler’s idea of gender as performative (introduced in Gender Trouble and now a commonplace in feminist theory) is brought into dialogue with feminist performance art (exemplified by Valie Export, the Austrian media- and performance-artist). Butler’s claim that gender is performative and that it can be changed only through a parodic repetition of performative acts is revisited through the lens of Export’s subversive performance pieces. This “interaction” between theory and art practice shall highlight the political potential of Butler’s work and serve to expand her notion of parody as it pertains more directly to women and the female body.
34. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Michael Minch, Clifton Sanders Democracy as Music, Music as Democracy
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In this paper we argue that there are valuable consonances between democratic theory and music theory, and between democratization and musical performance and enjoyment. We suggest that this connection is not as trite as it may first appear, but that, since democracy is learned and practiced in a myriad ofways, music is one such place to learn democratic citizenship. The paper begins with a normative account of democratic theory that is present in two movements. The first, “foundations,” explicates the essential components, criteria, and conditions of democracy. The second, “flows,” addresses the dynamism of democratization. Here is an account of what democracy looks like in action. We then turn to an explication of music theory and improvisation. Here, we focus on jazz as a way to hear the kind of interplay, responsiveness, accountability, discipline, and extemporaneousness that occurs in good jazz, and in authentic (radical) democracy.
35. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Joshua Delpech-Ramey Lost Magic: The Hidden Radiance of Negative Dialectics
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Through a close reading of Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, in relation to Minima Moralia and to Dialectic of Enlightenment, this paper aims to interpret the tension between, on the one hand, Adorno’s scathing critique of occultism, and on the other, his subtle and elusive suggestions that authentic thoughthas certain elective affinities with modes of mind, such as are traditionally found in magical theory and practice. This surprising affinity has implications not only for how to read Adorno’s critical project, but also for how to assess the relevance of spirituality for revolutionary and emancipatory politics. If immanent critiquelabors for a re-enchanted world, it may yet be linked to a genuinely spiritual vision of reality.
36. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
D. Rita Alfonso Permeability and Impermeability in John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus
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This essay is about experience, and not only about ideas. I have been drawn to write about John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus for a number of reasons: First, I find his work to be part of a new turn in LGBT art and media that take queer lives as a point of departure, and not only as narrative focus, for their work. These areworks that are not just about being queer, but cross the line into being queer works. Of those who can be said to be a part of this recent turn, I find Mitchell’s work to be both especially philosophical and formally interesting. Not only does his work take up philosophical questions over what it means to be human, and the nature of love and sex, but also his works are produced through an organic, cooperative process that re-frames what it could mean to queer representation, political or otherwise.
37. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Kristin McCartney W.E.B. Du Bois and the Sorrow Songs: Unburying Resistance in the Roots of Trauma
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While psychoanalysis credits the entrenchment of systems of subordination to the necessity of socialization and the transmission of dominant values from parent to child, by claiming social symbolics independent of the dominant hegemony, W.E.B. Du Bois calls for resistant forms of identification. Psychoanalyticaccounts of social power relations often assume that the dominant social group produces the only operative social symbolic and that this symbolic is also identical with the nation, but Du Bois’s attention to the slave song allows him to trace the burial of a black American symbolic rather than a traumatic inculcation of the dominant white symbolic.
38. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Edward Casey Limit and Edge, Voice and Place
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This piece extends Edward Casey’s meditations on the notion of place. Here he specifically looks at “limitrophic” phenomena, including the U.S.-Mexico border as a means for thinking between edge and limit, place and voice.
39. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Corey McCall “Fiat ars pereat mundus”: The Relevance of Walter Benjamin’s “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” for Understanding the War on Terror
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This essay assesses the prescience of Benjamin’s “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by examining its conclusions in light of the Global War on Terror. Following an initial section in which I provide a brief overview of Benjamin’s essay and revisit its conclusion, I proceed to analyze the various ways that Bush administration officials claimed that they could remake the world in America’s image. The key question at stake in this paper is whether Benjamin’s analyses still prove useful for understanding the relationship between art and politics at this moment in history. This paper begins to extend Benjamin’s analysis of art as a mass medium to contemporary society by investigating various ways that the Global War on Terror was justified to the American people during the Bush administration. Specifically, I am interested in the idea that art remakes the world in opposition to reality, and the relationship between this idea and age-old aspirations to empire.
40. Radical Philosophy Review: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1/2
Tommy J. Curry I’m Too Real For Yah: Krumpin’ as a Culturalogical Exploration of Black Aesthetic Submergence
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I am interested in looking at Krumpin’ through what I am calling the “politics of submergence.” If my world is chaotic, if my Blackness is my murderer, can I be expected to create beauty? Can my art be transformative? My paper argues that Krumpin’ is in fact transformative, not to the extent that it perpetuates hope, but maintains its social pessimism. In accepting both the conditions that have sustained the racial marginalization of African descended people, and the impotence of this marginalized group to change the systemic social structures that continue racial subordination in the United States, Krumpin’ announces a reflective mode of racial identity and cultural existence that attends to the suffering of African-descended people in American ghettos.