Hard Cash update

The edited book project, Hard Cash, that Stephen Dunne and myself are organizing is entering a new phase.  We’ve got promises (some a little vague so far, but that’s what thumbscrews were invented for) from 18 authors (including several members of CPPE).  Topics range widely as expected, including the strongly empirical, the purely theoretical, the historical, the psychoanalytic and the downright strange.  It’s looking very good.  Any tardy CPPE-ers out there who still want to chip something in can do so, but you better be quick.

The project will be the subject of a two-day workshop on 6th and 7th December this year hosted by ULSM, at which we hope to bring together as many of the authors as possible for a pre-writing exchange of ideas and general party.  Attendance contingent on the promise of a chapter….

Beyond that, the first submission deadline for chapters will be the end of May 2013.  In the intervening period, as well as writing our own sparkling contributions, Stephen and I will be hassling publishers of various stripes in the hope that they will not only publish it, but even give us money – hard cash, of course – to do so.



Call for ‘Hard Cash’ proposals

Further to the email that has been round the CPPE list, here is a call for proposals/submissions* for the edited book ‘Hard Cash’ that myself and Stephen Dunne will be compiling over the next few months: 

 Hard Cash Invite

As you’ll see from the attached file, we’re planning to kick the whole thing off formally in the Autumn with a CPPE-hosted workshop at ULSM at which those participating can outline what they intend for their contribution, play with ideas, get feedback and/or snarf the biscuits.

In addition to putting this on the blog. we’ll also be targeting particular individuals that we might want to encourage to contribute.  If anyone knows of anyone doing deeply funky money-related stuff that we might not already know about, please let us know and we’ll get on to them.  We have a few names already, but more are very welcome. 

Angus and Stephen

* the Chapter titles included in the call have all been proposed already, but are at varying stages of development – hence we have anonymised them.  They’re just here for guidance.  And yes, we’ve cleaned at least one of them up a bit so that no “members” get put off by vulgarity.  We know how sensitive you all are…..


There were strong echoes of Stefano Harney’s recent seminar at the Exterritory event in Paris this week.  Exterritory is a project initiated by Israeli artists, filmmakers and curators Ruti Sela and Mayaan Amir in 2009, to explore some of the many contradictions produced by the struggle over land in the Palestine/Israel conflict.  Because both sides lay claim in various ways to ‘territory’ (conceived in multiple ways), Ruti and Mayaan wanted to explore the possibility of stepping outside territory altogether to innovate modes of resistance and to highlight the absurdities of the battle over land.  This has involved many different events over the years, most strikingly their projection of images of the region and its many people onto the sails of yachts at night in international waters off the Israeli coast.

Anne Davidian from the Evens Foundation opens the Exterritory symposium

The event in Paris – co-hosted by the Kadist and Evens Foundations – was the first of a number of planned symposia bringing together artists, curators, academics and other oddments to consider what ‘exterritory’ might mean in practice.  The Paris symposium explored various aspects of exterritorial and extraterritorial space (the distinction between the two being far more meaningful in French).  The first session included (defiantly non-) geographer Stuart Elden’s thought-provoking analysis of the construction of ‘exile’ in Shakespeare’s plays and Laurent Jeanpierre‘s examination of theoretical and juridical notions of exterritoriality. The second session consisted of my own rambling thoughts inspired by events of 2008 and the ‘flash-crash’ – ‘Where has all the (xeno)money gone?‘ – and Dana Diminescu‘s fascinating exploration of the complex and emergent spatialities of migration. All four papers were skilfully brought together by the contribution of Anat Ben David, one of Ruti and Mayaan’s regular collaborators on Exterritory.

Angus getting flash with the Flash-Crash

All sorts of cross-cutting themes and resonances emerged from the papers and subsequent discussion that I won’t rehearse here (the event was filmed and will eventually appear on-line) but for me the most striking aspect was the ubiquity of social, economic, political, individual, collective, planned and spontaneous ‘spaces’ that do not conform to the established norms of legally-defined and reproduced ‘territoriality’.  Indeed, by the time we’d worked through the ambiguous spatialities of exile, xenomoney, migration, cyberspace, exception, and many others, territory itself was beginning to look like the minority sport.  Which, of course, makes it all the more interesting that so much of our legal, institutional, police, military and political activity should be devoted to what emerges as a very narrow and privileged mode of living in and thinking about the world.

Pedagogy of the Neo-Liberally Oppressed?

Things have recently gotten all quiet on the virtual front. Within the classroom, on the other hand, things are presently very active. This surely must have been expected. Most of us have more people listening to our lectures than we (will ever) have studying our papers or reading our blogs. That has to be the experience upon which we organise, both individually and collectively. I’m not so sure it is something to worry about. After all, if we can’t speak to the interests of the captive audiences whose attention we attain more on the basis of compliance than enthusiasm, we really shouldn’t expect to capture a willing readership online. Teach first, then blog!

Here I’d like to briefly describe what has been happening within one of my classes and hopefully others can share similar experiences and concerns.  

Within a course on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) my students and I have been speculating upon the extent to which the occupy movement, alongside a variety of ongoing and proposed parliamentary responses to the global financial crisis, might be considered  historically monumental events in 100 years time. The students are being asked to review Colin Crouch’s The Strange Non-Death of Neo-Liberalism, particularly his account of CSR, and in so doing they are being asked to speculate, with Crouch, as to whether CSR is likely to become a more prevalent feature of the post-crisis landscape, or not. The students are also being asked to discuss these issues from their own position as potential managers and employees of post-crisis profit-making firms by considering the extent to which the debates and struggles currently in evidence might eventually serve to re-allign their own lives, for better or for worse.

This is, I think, a very concrete set of concerns. Nevertheless, the potential lines along which these concerns might be meaningfully pursued have very quickly proliferated. The reading list I’ve developed looks very much like a whistle stop tour of classical political theory. Whilst I know that an excellent occupy reading list is already being created I find it difficult to endorse anything other than the classics, at least in the context of a 10 hour module. I’m open to debate, of course, but with the likes of Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Mill and Marx on my side, my opponent will need to come armed with some pretty strong artillery! 

Sometimes I worry that I am doing the students a disservice by not telling them what they really need to know about CSR. These worries rarely last long, however – the resources within the CSR literature are entirely inadequate to the task. So maybe the task itself is the problem? Maybe I shouldn’t bring the student’s own hopes and fears into the pedagogy but instead offer stable points of orientation as if I was really in a position to offer them. Try as I might, I find it hard to adopt that course of action. So maybe that’s the problem.

Disciplining Greece….again

On the day that Greece is once again being harangued about ‘austerity’ by the wealthy of Europe, a resonant thought from Henry Miller writing in 1944:

“In her hour of greatest need Greece was betrayed by the great powers of the earth.  What in fact can they supply her with, assuming that they regain ascendancy over the common enemy?  Food, machinery, money perhaps.  And distorted codes of justice, of education, of economy.  And in return for these dubious gifts? In return they will ask, as all great powers have always asked, that Greece obediently play the role of cat’s paw.  Perhaps they will renew their archaeological burrowings, turn up new ruins, new evidences of ancient splendour.  And they will weep copious crocodile tears over the things of the past while rearming themselves to befoul the present beauties of the earth.  They will encourage their heroic little ally to fight again with the ancient ardour in the name of all that is un-Greek, un-Mediterranean.  At the utmost they will only be able to teach the people of Greece how to become efficient, soulless work dogs.”

Miller, H, 1944, Sunday After the War, New York, New Directions Books: 61