Writing rhythm and summer reading

I have been getting into a good writing rhythm since I got back from Amsterdam, with a dedicated two hour slot each day when I write with no distractions, followed by the rest of the day on editorial work, other projects, correspondence and reading. The lecture for Berkeley and Arizona entitled ‘How should we do the history of territory?’ is over half done already, although one of the two sections left to write requires the most work. I’m actually writing this as a planned book chapter, and plan to cut it down/turn it into something more appropriate for a presentation a little later. This is my standard practice – write a text, and then script a presentation from it. Even if I speak to notes or a powerpoint instead of a read a text there is usually one behind it. Planning it directly as a presentation often means it ends up as nothing more than that.

On the reading, I’ve been going in quite a few different directions, and much of what I’ve read is stuff I’m unlikely to write about. I find summer is quite a good time for less focussed background reading, or clearing the shelves of books that have piled up unread, or recent classics that I’d not previously got round to.

So recently – before as well as since the break – I’ve been reading things like Aihwa Ong, Neoliberalism as Exception; Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason; Agamben et. al., Democracy in What State? (I thought this looked really interesting, but found it very disappointing, actually), Fredric Jameson’s The Hegel Variations and Representing Capital; John Protevi’s Political Affects; Edward Soja’s Seeking Spatial Justice; J.-K. Gibson-Graham’s Postcapitalist Politics, and some others I’m sure I’ve forgotten.

I’ve also just finished reading Susan Buck-Morss’s remarkable Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History. I’d read some of her work before, but hadn’t read the Critical Inquiry piece that forms the basis of this book. More on that in a separate post.

This entry was posted in Edward Soja, Fredric Jameson, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Giorgio Agamben, Karl Marx, Politics, Territory. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Writing rhythm and summer reading

  1. Marin says:

    Dear Stuart,

    Perhaps this comes a bit out of the blue, but I (and perhaps many with me) would be very interested in a Lefebvrian analysis on the ‘riots’ in London and elsewhere. I have been looking for anybody writing on this but nobody seems to include him in analyses on what is happening around the country. Despite this I think that Henri would have a lot to say on the topic.

    All best,


    • stuartelden says:

      Thanks Marin. I’ve been following the events with interest, though don’t feel that I have anything especially insightful to say about them. In some senses I’ve actually been more interested in the reactions to them than the events themselves. What has been remarkable has been the way that all sorts of existing frames have provided the explanation. Personally I’m not sure how to explain them, and I think politicians and commentators might say that more explicitly. That said, I think Lefebvre’s right to the city idea might be helpful, or his ideas on consumption, as well as the broadening of the right to the city idea in his work on territorial autogestion. Ed Soja’s recent Seeking Spatial Justice may also be helpful.
      I’m putting together a virtual theme issue of Society and Space on Urban Disorder and Policing, taking papers from the archive that we think have relevance to understanding the contemporary moment, that should be available soon – all papers will be open access.

  2. Steve Legg says:

    In terms of your neoliberal readings, you may also enjoy my colleague Vlad’s book: The rise and fall of neo-liberalism:


  3. Marin says:

    Thanks a lot Stuart,

    I am looking very much forward to the Society and Space issue on Urban Disorder and Policing. These are themes that have become increasingly important. I am happy to hear that they will be open access. Many thanks once again!


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