Futurity In Crisis Call for Papers

In this special issue of Alluvium, the Contemporary Theoretical Network (Ctrl Network) invites submissions on the topic of futurity in crisis.

Living through a seemingly unceasing barrage of global crises in the present, it is relatively easy to read a world in decline. Anxiety about the future is nothing new, but the question of our ability to endure and respond to a plethora of increasingly complex and interconnected crises has changed our relationship to the future and how we imagine our place within it. This perspective is no more localised than it is global; from the stark reality of climate breakdown to the stagnation of recession, crisis (and the upheaval and uncertainty which accompany it) increasingly touches the daily lives of many, throwing the notion of futurity itself into flux. Read alongside the idea of ‘the slow cancellation of the future’, as captured by Franco Berardi and explored by Mark Fisher, the proliferation and immediacy of impending crises in the present compounds a sense that while living in a state of crisis has become the norm, the future has quietly been stolen from us. Yet, for some, crisis presents opportunity. To see crisis grants the possibility of decision, which in turn allows for autonomous change. Against the backdrop of its impossibility then, futurity is not merely foreclosed, it presents itself as a possibility.

The theme of this CfP is open to broad interdisciplinary interpretation around the notion of futurity in crisis. Ctrl Network are keen to receive articles on both the future in crisis, and the necessity of crisis for futurity. Founded in response to the crisis and feelings of temporal stagnation common to the first pandemic lockdown, the Network is equally eager to promote theorisation on the conditions of the present, as well as ideas that, against such a banal-but-bleak backdrop, promote a sense of change. 

Authors are invited to ask questions such as: Who owns the future? Who or what has a place within it? How and why have collective and cultural visions and representations of the future changed? What role has crisis played in shaping our visions and narratives of the future? How, if at all, can a future be designed?

Topics to explore may include (but are not limited to):

  • Representations of Futurity in Crisis Fiction
  • Black Futures in Crisis
  • Climate Catastrophe
  • Postcapitalist Futures
  • Responses to the Global Pandemic
  • Technology and Crisis
  • Hauntology and Lost Futures
  • Economic Stagflation and the Future of Employment
  • Dystopian Fiction
  • Existential Risk

If you are interested in contributing to this special issue, please send abstracts (max. 300 words) outlining your proposed article, and a separate brief bio with your research interests (max. 150 words), to issue editors Ctrl Network (contemptheoryuob@gmail.com) by the 8th of March 2021.

Graphics by J. Lilley-Byrne

The deadline for the submission of articles of 2,000-2,500 words will be the 5th of April 2021. Authors of articles that are accepted for the issue will be invited to take part in a Ctrl Network special launch event, where they will be encouraged to present their work at an informal online roundtable.

See you on the Net,

Ctrl Network x Alluvium

Tomorrow, WTF is going on with GameStop?

It’s that time again…

Join us at 1pm tomorrow to discuss whatever is making you ask or helping you make sense of what the f**k is going on right now. This can be anything you’re currently reading, watching or listening to. The session will be open, informal and friendly with no required reading beforehand. Like many we’ve been wondering wtf is going on with GameStop, as well as UK opposition leader Keir Starmer. Based on conversations in the Discord we’ve made the following reading/viewing suggestions:

  • Saagar Enjeti – ‘Wall Street Elited DESTROYED, Beaten By Redditors At Their Own RIGGED Game’

Everyone is welcome to join and can bring whatever theory they want to the session.

Want to join us?

WTF session links are emailed to our subscribers. If you’d like a link for tomorrow’s session, check your email if you’re already subscribed, or get in touch via email, twitter or discord.

We’ll be sending out links for future WTF is Going On? sessions every month to our mailing list and – so feel free to join whenever you fancy!

Our fourth Postcapitalist Desire Reading Group ‘Union Power and Soul Power’ is also happening later this month. If you’d like to join this in-depth analysis, please contact us to register and see full details on our website.

New Year Schedule:

Tuesday 23rd February, 1-3pm – Postcapitalist Desire Lecture 4: Union Power and Soul Power

Tuesday 9th March, 1-3pm — WTF

Tuesday 23rd of March — Postcapitalist Desire Lecture 5: Libidinal Marxism

See you on the net,

Ctrl N

Postcapitalist Desire Lecture #3 Footnotes

Session Recap

What a brilliant session! This week we delved into consciousness raising/razing in the third Postcapitalist Desire lecture transcript: ‘From Class Consciousness to Group Consciousness’. This seems to have been the most popular of the three we’ve covered so far, probably because of how much Fisher squeezes into this lecture and the length he goes to unpack some of Lukács’ ideas. The central topic we kept returning to was the act and the process of collective consciousness raising (which Fisher explores as a means for subordinated groups to rise out of the immediacy of experience and break away from ideology), and how it’s obstructed by ideology itself (which seeks to persuade us the problem is us), as well as challenges such as time poverty and the seemingly magical disappearing act of class consciousness in recent decades. A particularly fruitful idea for discussion in the group was the notion of consciousness ‘razing’ as opposed to ‘raising’, a term used elsewhere by Fisher (it’s well worth a read of Matt Colquhoun’s Egress for more on this, particularly chapter 4), which speaks to the destruction of oppressive forms of thinking. This excerpt from Lukács really stuck with us:

“Above all the worker can only become conscious of his existence in society when he becomes aware of himself as a commodity”

Georg Lukács, History & Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, trans. Rodney Livingstone. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1971, 168

Becoming conscious of your oppression entails submitting to an awareness of yourself as commodity and thus object (a paradoxical surrendering of consciousness). This surrender makes such consciousness raising possible and paves the way to raze oppressive modes of thinking: the way out is through.

If you didn’t manage to catch the session and any of this sounds interesting to you, join us on Discord, where the conversation continues.

Session footnotes are below, and the original reading list can be found here.

Books

The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan: Amazon.co.uk: Samo Tomsic:  9781784781088: Books

Samo Tomšič, The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan, Verso, 2014

Zombie University: Thinking Under Control: Amazon.co.uk: Sinead Murphy:  9781910924518: Books

Sinéad Murphy, Zombie University, Repeater Books, 2017

Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical  Theory: Amazon.co.uk: Postone: 9780521565400: Books

Moishe Postone, ‘Abstract Labour’, in Time, Labor, Social Domination (Cambridge: CUP. 1993), pp.123-66

Egress by Matt Colquhoun: 9781912248872 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Matt Colquhoun, Egress, Repeater Books, 2020

Everything Else

Gilles Deleuze, ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’, October, vol. 59, 1992, pp. 3–7

”The Owl in Daylight’: On Philip K. Dick’s Unwritten Masterpiece’, Weird Studies Podcast, Jan 20th 2021

Steve McQueen (dir.), Small Axe, BBC iPlayer, 2020

Nine Inch Nails, ‘The Way Out Is Through’, The Fragile, 1999

Next Time

We explore the fourth of Fisher’s final lectures, ‘Union Power and Soul Power’. Join us Tuesday 23rd February, 1-3pm. If you’re new to the series but still want to join, get in touch to register.