Ep. 64 – Robin James, The Sonic Episteme: Acoustic Resonance, Neoliberalism, and Biopolitics

This long overdue episode brings James, B, and John together for a discussion of Robin James’s most recent book, The Sonic Episteme: Acoustic Resonance, Neoliberalism, and Biopolitics, focusing on the Introduction and Chap. 1. The AAP team starts with a reparative approach to the text’s central set of questions. What is the qualitative side to neoliberalism’s quantitative, rationalizing regime of knowledge? How does music and its study anticipate and, by dint of metaphor, reproduce the neoliberal mathesis? How does the sonic actually enable the subordination of historically marginalized groups?

To these questions the team has many varied but passionate responses. Some include questions about the book’s large, diffuse archive to question its central critique about capitalism and sound. Others explore the totalizing thematic of “neoliberalism” and its usefulness in discussing pop music, representation, and race, as in the book’s reading of Taylor Swift’s financialized neoliberal whiteness. But all invite listeners to ponder the political consequences of the text’s emphasis on music’s power to alter the allegories theorists use to tell stories about the world we share.

Thanks to Patreon supporter Roddy for the request to read R. James. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Image: Cover of The Sonic Episteme

 

 

Ep. 32 – Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

This week we read Saskia Sassen’s Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, an exploration of the underlying systems of logic that drive displacement, resource extraction and, ultimately, inequality. Sassen discusses the financial tools, strategies and “instruments” by which corporations and nations amass land, wealth and resources, from the securitizing of subprime mortgages leading to the financial crisis, to the extraction of resource from countries whose public sector shrinks in response. Listen as Rachel, B, and John discuss why this read was so refreshing and illuminating for theorists like us, especially as a model for incorporating data and concrete, contemporary examples into critical political/social theory. Why expulsions and not ‘neoliberalism’ or ‘capitalism’, we ask and and attempt to answer. We also lament the sad lack of advice questions and dreams in need of analysis from our listeners, and talk about Hegel party fouls instead. We know this will change in advance of our next episode! Why? Because we trust you.

Thanks to dmf from the Synthetic Zero website for suggesting the Sassen text.  Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. Get the mp3 of the episode here. RSS feed here. This episode’s music by Jordan Cass and by B.

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"Saskia Sassen 2012" by Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design from Moscow, Russia - flickr: Questions & Answers with Saskia Sassen. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saskia_Sassen_2012.jpg#/media/File:Saskia_Sassen_2012.jpg

“Saskia Sassen 2012” by Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design from Moscow, Russia – flickr: Questions & Answers with Saskia Sassen. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saskia_Sassen_2012.jpg#/media/File:Saskia_Sassen_2012.jpg