Vocabularies of the Economy

On April 24, 2013, the founding editors of the new left journal Soundings launched The Kilburn Manifesto, a challenge to ‘neoliberal victory’ in London. A response to the Global Financial Crisis, the manifesto was a call to action – a call for the left to disrupt the ubiquity of the status quo and to invent an alternative. In the wake the recent passing of Doreen Massey, one of the founding editors, we re-publish one of the classic articles that came as part of this movement – Massey’s meditation on the way in which the cant of neoliberalism has cemented the economic paradigm.

Where’s the money?

Money has always included hidden traces of its own exchange and circulation, but with the shift to electronic payments, these traces are coming to the fore, influencing new business models and forms of governance. What are the material cultures of these transactional histories and how do they shape and reshape exchange? And what tactics remain to users to safeguard, obscure or reappropriate these traces, asks Rachel O’Dwyer.

Leave room for alternatives in art

Traditional venues associated with exhibiting art often limit artists and visitors thanks to physical and intellectual barriers that stem from long-established norms of the art world. While some traditional art institutions, like museums, claim to serve the public, in practice they’re far from establishing meaningful, enduring relationships with diverse populations. Claire Aichholzer argues in this introduction to a new strand that alternative art spaces, like the Internet, can provide an antidote, helping art reach a broader audience.

Emerson and the Poets

On Christmas day in 1832, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson set sail from America to Great Britain. His goal was to meet some of his literary heroes, including the poets Coleridge and Wordsworth. Emerson’s encounters with the two great English-language poets of the day leaves us with two richly delineated portraits which Chris Townsend recapitulates: Coleridge as frantic and frenetic thinker, Wordsworth as calmly composed poet. But these encounters also cast light on a formative time for Emerson, as he transitioned from a period of turmoil towards his own time as a great writer of verse and an influential thinker, in no small part inspired by the British poets.

Written on the Walls

Using the recent crisis of racialized police violence in the United States as context, Jennifer Chisholm narrates a story of police violence and indigenous resistance in Rio de Janeiro. She tells this story through looking at graffiti also as a personal account of how the experience of reading violence and resistance on the walls of an abandoned building—doubling as the site of a violence eviction— challenged the author to reconsider her position as an unaffected observer.

The Speech

In the ten hour long House of Commons debate last week on the government’s motion to authorise bombing raids in Syria, there was one speech that took the House by storm, triggering a standing ovation and a rapturous reception in the press, where there was much talk of the speaker, Hilary Benn, as the next leader of the Labour Party and a Prime Minister in waiting. This essay by Christopher Prendergast takes a more sceptical view of the speech, dissecting it largely from the point of view of its appeal to ‘internationalism’ and more particularly the example of the Spanish Civil War, in which his father fought and very nearly died.

“Why Do They Riot?”

Hip-hop may seem divisive, but Sebastian Jackson argues that it brings young people together in this meditation on Hip Hop and pedagogy in rural America. In the wake of high-profile police killings of unarmed black people, mass incarceration, and “race riots”, hip-hop pedagogy provides a way for young Americans—both urban black and rural white—to find common purpose.

Buy to Let, and to Accumulate

The UK housing market is booming – for the rich. Paul Sagar looks at how the exposition of buy-to-let purchases systematically channels wealth and income to those who are already well-off, at the expense of those who are not. And this, he argues, is no accident or inevitable economic outcome, but a direct consequence of government policy.

Dreaming about Paris

We are shocked about the attacks on Friday 13 because, for the West, Paris is an ideal city of love, equality and democracy. Being hit there shakes a misleading dream which we finally need to wake up from and adjust, argues Johannes Lenhard.

The peacock has landed

The Peacock has landed. Today it was announced that Aung San Suu Kyi and her party have won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s recent elections. However, throughout her election campaign she has repeatedly downplayed the issue of the persecution of ethnic Muslims in the western state of Rakhine, and growing Islamophobia in the country. While – rightly or wrongly – this can be explained by political expediency, what is important is that the she and the party realize the power they have to reform the people of Myanmar’s views on the issue, and therefore the great potential they have to stop further suffering.

Sor Juana: An Icon of Freedom

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651?-95) speaks to us across the centuries as a woman who was driven by the desire to follow her greatest inclination, learning and the study of letters. Prof. Catherine Boyle and spoken word artist Amerah Saleh give us an insight into Juana’s strong poetry and share their inspirations with us.

Fishing for Fairness

Fishermen learn to set traps and nets to maximize their harvest, but the rules that govern these behaviors can limit their overall success. Commons management is appealing to our mind’s inclination towards systems that combine fairness and punishment. Both fishermen and sustainability-minded groups want fish stock to be preserved. However, argues Chelsea Hayman, formal conservation policy makes the greatest impact when it considers the significance of fairness and punishment in fishing communities and the breakdown of relationships and successes that occurs when these components are compromised.

Candyfloss for refugees

Berlin’s Muslim communities are taking an active role in supporting refugees, thus shaping German civil society and its responses to the arrival of hundreds of thousands fleeing war, persecution, and poverty. This new engagement is both an expression of, and a call for, emergent self-confidence among minority communities that redefine their role within German society. Jan Bock documents ethnographically one such initiative at the end of the Eid al-Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, in Berlin’s Sehitlik mosque.

‘Ecuador Bans Bitcoin’! A Monetary Mix-Up

When reports circulated in 2014 that the Central Bank of Ecuador had banned Bitcoin and planned to introduce its own digital currency, the focus on Bitcoin distracted from the world’s first publically mandated and operated mobile money system and the intense controversy that system provoked in Ecuador. As Taylor Nelms explains in this article in the ‘Future of Money’ strand, that controversy was linked to anxieties about the durability of money’s value. The anxities stemmed from Ecuador’s dollarization more than a decade before, pointing back towards the politics of value at stake in contemporary experiments with the infrastructures of money.

Twin Speak: Reflections Upon the Doubles in Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’

A basic function of artworks is that they hold a mirror up to our selves. Doubled figures in art therefore tell us something about that process of mirroring, and can make it explicit. Chris Townsend explores doubles in David Lynch’s cult TV series Twin Peaks, to begin to understand how a TV show can shed a little light on our own dual natures.

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