We’re under a week away from our monthly Postcapitalist Desires reading group session, which will cover the fourth of Mark Fisher’s final lecture transcripts on Tuesday 23rd of February 1-3pm (GMT). If you haven’t yet registered for a link to the sessions, but would like to, please email or DM us on Twitter and we’ll set you up!
As always with our Postcapitalist Desires sessions, it’s up to you how far you wish to delve into each lecture as there’s a wealth of material in each, but we do ask as a minimum that you read the relevant lecture transcript before the session.
In addition to lecture transcript #4, ‘Union Power, Soul Power’, should you wish, the extra reading for this session is:
Jefferson Cowie, “Old Fashioned Heroes of the New Working Class” in Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New York and London: The New Press, 2010), pp. 23–75.
Like all of our series, these events are online and free. If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still time – get in touch and we’ll add you to the list. We’ll be sending out a Zoom link to everyone on the list nearer the time. Once you’ve registered, you don’t need to confirm attendance for each session – we’ll send you a fresh link every month. You also don’t need to commit to every session – just attend what you fancy (even if you miss the first session, there is more than enough material in each lecture for discussion).
Like most, we were pretty engrossed in the GameStop story, as you can see from this week’s recommended reading. In particular, we were interested in the abstraction of financial markets and who controls them. This in turn led to a discussion about the changing significance of class and power in relation to employment and the blurring boundaries between labour and leisure. We looked at some historic examples of this (such as the Quaker-founded Bournville worker’s village in Birmingham and Disney’s Celebration town in Florida) and how this compared to modern lifestyle companies pushing employees and consumers alike to buy into ideas rather than just products.
There were some really great recommendations for further reading on these topics. So for anyone who missed out, see the the full list below.
WTF are people reading?
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man, 1964
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A Theory, 2018 – setting the record for longest standing recommendation in the footnotes!
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
Responses to the Global Pandemic
Technology and Crisis
Hauntology and Lost Futures
Economic Stagflation and the Future of Employment
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the 8th of March 2021.
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.