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 FutureCommons; always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
In this episode of AAP, Rachel, Emily, and John tackle a special request from Patreon supporter Alex. We discuss Byung-Chul Han‘s The Burnout Society, positioning the account alongside other contemporary theories of neoliberalism. We interrogate the relationship of the disciplinary society to what Han posits as the achievement society, think through the consequences of his view for democracy, and question the ‘view from nowhere’ in the text. Along the way, we get into his engagements with Hannah Arendt and Friedrich Nietzsche, unpack his use of the terms ‘negativity’ and ‘positivity’ as they relate to violence and power, and tire ourselves out engaging his chapter on tiredness. And we, of course, ask our favorite AAP question – how (if at all) can the argument account for dynamics of race, class, gender, and (neo)colonialism? Plus! A very beautifully vivid dream that harkens back to a recent text discussion on mushrooms.
Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. 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, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
What is the relationship between state power and self-destructive violence as a mode of political resistance? In her book Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), Banu Bargu (Politics, The New School) analyzes the Turkish death fast movement and explores self-inflicted death as a political practice. Amid a global intensification of the “weaponization of life,” Bargu argues for conceptualizing this self-destructive use of the body as a complex political and existential act. In doing so, she theorizes a reconfiguration of sovereignty into biosovereignty and of resistance into necroresistance. To accomplish this, the book innovatively weaves together political and critical theory with ethnography in a way that enables the self-understanding and self-narration of those in and around the death fast movement to speak to canonical thinkers and concepts.
In this episode, James is joined by Simone Kolysh, PhD candidate in Sociology from The Graduate Center, CUNY. Their conversation focuses upon pedagogy as radical praxis, and ranges from ways to check privilege in the classroom, how to strive towards “safe zone” moments, trigger warnings, and navigating the neoliberal academy as a scholar-activist. If you need a reminder as to the critical and important role engaged educators can play in transforming social thoughts and habits, give a listen! Find Simone Kolysh on the web here, on twitter here, and on academia.edu here.
Remember to support us on Patreon to help offset/reimburse the cost of our fancy new microphone, which we have named Lacan. 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. Get the mp3 of the episode here. Thanks to Leah Dion and to B for the music.
What are the multiple meanings, ambivalences, possible risks, and potentials for transformation that arise from interrogating empathy on a transnational scale? Carolyn Pedwell (University of Kent) thinks through these complex questions in her new book, Affective Relations: The Transnational Politics of Empathy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). The book ambitiously traverses multiple disciplinary and intellectual boundaries, drawing together feminist and anti-racist social theory, media and cultural studies, international development texts and practices, scientific studies of empathy, the political rhetoric of Barack Obama, business books on empathy, and more. In doing so, Pedwell queries empathy as a social and political relation that cannot be separated from power, conflict, oppression, and inequality. This book explores the ways that empathy is a contested term employed transnationally in various ways and on behalf of various political and social interests, traces the ways that empathy might be translated and felt differently.