The Marking Boycott And Its Aftermath


A good analysis of the latest developments in the UK higher education pay dispute.

Originally posted on The Disorder Of Things:

Justice League Super Hero Strike

In the face of a UK higher education marking boycott due to start in 11 days time, universities have come forth with a new pay offer. Having unilaterally imposed a 1% rise (read: real terms cut) for 2013/14, they are now proposing 2% for 2014/15, with a small bonus for those on the lowest band to bring them up to a living wage level (at Sussex, that’s an increase on the existing annual pay of £13,621). A consultative ballot is open to union members, and the boycott is delayed. It seems likely that there will be appetite for the deal, given the general tone of despondency and how drained staff are by repeated small scale actions and by mounting work pressures. There had, after all, been doubts that a boycott could compete with aggressive tactics from management (including threats to deduct full pay from anyone who participated in the boycott).

We might…

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Giorgio Agamben – The Homo Sacer series structure in visual form


Some minor errors fixed. Thanks to Lorenzo Vianelli for spotting this, and Nicholas for amending the image.

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

Thanks to Nicholas Dahmann for updating this image. According to some reports, II, 4 will not be published and the designation of Opus Dei  as II, 5 may have been an error.  The Use of Bodies is the last planned volume. HomoSacer800

It is available to download in various size jpgs – 800×1035; 1280×16561600×2071; 2550×3000 - and pdf.

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Ernesto Laclau (1935–2014)


Another tribute to Ernesto Laclau, from Adrià Porta Caballé

Originally posted on :


The renowned socialist political theorist Ernesto Laclau died of a heart attack in Seville earlier this week. He was 78. Adrià Porta Caballé looks back at his life and pays tribute.

Ernesto Laclau was born in Argentina in 1935, studying history and graduating from the National University of Buenos Aires in 1964. He was active in the student movement of the time and was a leading member of Abelardo Ramos’s Socialist Party of the National Left (PSIN).

“I was never dogmatic,” he later recalled. “I always tried, even in those early days, to mix Marxism and something else.” In particular Laclau was interested in the Argentine populist movement led by military officer and president Juan Perón. His work on the historical approaches to social marginality caught the attention of Eric Hobsbawm, who offered Laclau a scholarship to Oxford. Laclau ended up doing his PhD Essex in 1977. A sudden coup…

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Ernesto Laclau RIP


A few thoughts on Ernesto Laclau and a link to an interview with him and Chantal Mouffe.

Originally posted on occasional links & commentary:


Ernest0 Laclau was, by all accounts, a decent, gentle man and a path-breaking scholar on the Left.

I first became aware of Laclau in terms of his participation in the famous “modes of production” debate in the 1970s (I was working on my senior thesis at the time, on modes of production in Peruvian history). Later, of course, Laclau shifted his attention to the theory of hegemony, radical democracy, and new social movements (in work with his wife Chantal Mouffe) and then finally to populism.

I met Laclau only a couple of times, most recently at the Rethinking Marxism 2006 conference, where he spoke in a plenary session (along with Ella Shohat and Antonio Callari) on “Imperialism and the Fantasies of Democracy.” He was a member of the international Advisory Board for Rethinking Marxism from its inception.

This is from an interview conducted in 1998:

Ernesto, what were your first…

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Elisabeth Roudinesco on Judith Butler at the Verso blog and in Le Monde

Judith Butler, the Iconoclast: Elisabeth Roudinesco on Judith Butler - English here; French here.

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Peter Sloterdijk, ‘The Domestication of Being’ – discussed at Aphelis

At his Aphelis blog, Philippe Theophanidis discusses versions and translations of Peter Sloterdijk’s essay “Die Domestikation des Seins. Für eine Verdeutlichung der Lichtung”.

The excerpt quoted [here] comes from a translation of the fourth and final chapter of the essay. For a while this English translation was hosted both at the Goethe Institute website and at Peter Sloterdijk official website. Those links no longer work, but the text can be access using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine here and here. The same text is available as a PDF on Scribd. There are slight differences between the French and English translations (in the English version, a part of a sentence is missing, a quote by Heidegger is shorten). At the time of writing, a complete English translation of the whole essay still doesn’t exist. [more discussion here]

See also my recent guide to reading Sloterdijk here.

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Robert J. Mayhew, Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet

MalthysRobert J. Mayhew’s book Malthus: The Life and Legacies of an Untimely Prophet has just been published by Harvard University Press.

Thomas Robert Malthus’s An Essay on the Principle of Population was an immediate succès de scandale when it appeared in 1798. Arguing that nature is niggardly and that societies, both human and animal, tend to overstep the limits of natural resources in “perpetual oscillation between happiness and misery,” he found himself attacked on all sides—by Romantic poets, utopian thinkers, and the religious establishment. Though Malthus has never disappeared, he has been perpetually misunderstood. This book is at once a major reassessment of Malthus’s ideas and an intellectual history of the origins of modern debates about demography, resources, and the environment.

Against the ferment of Enlightenment ideals about the perfectibility of mankind and the grim realities of life in the eighteenth century, Robert Mayhew explains the genesis of the Essay and Malthus’s preoccupation with birth and death rates. He traces Malthus’s collision course with the Lake poets, his important revisions to the Essay, and composition of his other great work, Principles of Political Economy. Mayhew suggests we see the author in his later writings as an environmental economist for his persistent concern with natural resources, land, and the conditions of their use. Mayhew then pursues Malthus’s many afterlives in the Victorian world and beyond.

Today, the Malthusian dilemma makes itself felt once again, as demography and climate change come together on the same environmental agenda. By opening a new door onto Malthus’s arguments and their transmission to the present day, Robert Mayhew gives historical depth to our current planetary concerns.


Thanks to Sebastian Budgen for the link.

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