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Journal Cover Theory, Culture & Society
  [SJR: 1.303]   [H-I: 72]   [104 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0263-2764 - ISSN (Online) 1460-3616
   Published by Sage Publications Homepage  [852 journals]
  • Facebook and Finance: On the Social Logic of the Derivative
    • Authors: Arvidsson; A.
      Pages: 3 - 23
      Abstract: This article suggests that Facebook embodies a new logic of capitalist governance, what has been termed the ‘social logic of the derivative’. The logic of the derivative is rooted in the now dominant financial level of the capitalist economy, and is mediated by social media and the algorithmic processing of large digital data sets. This article makes three precise claims: First, that the modus operandi of Facebook mirrors the operations of derivative financial instruments. Second, that the algorithms that Facebook uses share a genealogy with those of derivative financial instruments – both are outcomes of the influence of the ‘cyber sciences’ on managerial practice in the post-war years. Third, that the future potential of Facebook lies in its ability to apply the logic of derivatives to the financial valuation of ordinary social relations, thus further extending the process of financialization of everyday life.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276416658104
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • Meaningful Objects or Costly Symbols? A Veblenian Approach to Brands
    • Authors: Yuran; N.
      Pages: 25 - 49
      Abstract: Long before the emergence of the modern brand economy, Thorstein Veblen elaborated an economic theory centered on symbolic entities. Based on his thought, this article pursues a view of the brand which escapes both sociological and economic approaches to the phenomenon. Views of the brand as a meaningful object and of the trademark as a signal of product quality omit the simple possibility that the brand, to some extent, is a symbol turned into a commodity. The article develops this possibility using Veblen’s economic theory of display, which can be read as revolving around the notion of a ‘costly symbol’. Things which necessitate waste, and thus materially attest to wealth, enter Veblen’s economy of display insofar as they become valued for their own sake. His theory thus foretells the basic transformation that characterizes the emergence of modern brand economy, where symbols which ostensibly qualified commodities became by themselves economic objects.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276416656410
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • Philosophy against and in Praise of Violence: Kant, Thoreau and the
           Revolutionary Spectator
    • Authors: Alpert; A.
      Pages: 51 - 73
      Abstract: In this article, the author argues that the works of Immanuel Kant and Henry David Thoreau can help reframe current political discussions about violence and nonviolence within revolutionary movements. For both of them, the means and ends of political change must coincide. Since they seek a nonviolent state of affairs, each argues against violent political change. However, they are also concerned to articulate a relationship between armed and unarmed struggle. After all, Kant and Thoreau worked to find what was positive in violent acts: the French Revolution and John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, respectively. They suggest that one of the ethical acts of revolutionary nonviolence is the sympathetic spectatorship of comrades in struggle who have chosen violent means. This opens up a theory of revolutionary nonviolence as a dual injunction to remain resolutely opposed to violence, but also to be capable of finding within violent acts a deeper desire for the end of violence.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276416651976
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • Powers of the Mask: Political Subjectivation and Rites of Participation in
           Local-Global Protest
    • Authors: Riisgaard, L; Thomassen, B.
      Pages: 75 - 98
      Abstract: Mask-wearing political protests have been global front page news for several years now; yet, almost no literature exists which attempts to engage the symbolic density and ritual role played by such mask-wearing acts. We argue that mask-wearing has political potentiality which relates to deeper-lying anthropological features of mask-wearing. The powers of the mask reside in the transformative ability of masks to unify and transcend key oppositional categories such as absence/presence and death/life, creating possibilities where conventional boundaries of the possible/impossible no longer restrict. By questioning the communicative rationality of the modern ‘public’ and the ‘sphere’ in which it operates, we approach mask-wearing as a ‘communicative opening’. Building on earlier critiques of liberal democratic normativity, we further argue that the ‘utopia of transparency’ is itself a regulatory power and that mask-wearing exposes the very notions that were supposed to form the background of modern, emancipatory politics: transparency, free speech and representative democracy.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276416651685
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • Heidegger, McLuhan and Schumacher on Form and Its Aliens
    • Authors: Harman; G.
      Pages: 99 - 105
      Abstract: This article uses the ideas of Marshall McLuhan (and to a lesser extent Martin Heidegger) to argue for a non-relational approach to architecture. The word ‘form’ is used throughout the arts and humanities, though in different ways depending on the term to which it is opposed: as in form vs. function, form vs. content, and form vs. matter. In his book The Autopoiesis of Architecture, Patrik Schumacher argues that form/function is the lead-distinction of the architectural profession. I hold that Schumacher cannot be right in this claim, since form and function are both too relational in character to form a true opposition.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415625335
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • The Psychic Life of Neoliberalism: Mapping the Contours of Entrepreneurial
    • Authors: Scharff; C.
      Pages: 107 - 122
      Abstract: This article adds to contemporary analyses of neoliberalism by shedding light on its psychic life. Writers in the Foucauldian tradition have explored how subjectivities are reconstituted under neoliberalism, showing that the neoliberal self is an entrepreneurial subject. Yet, there has been little empirical research that explores entrepreneurial subjectivity and, more specifically, its psychic life. By drawing on over 60 in-depth interviews with individuals who may be entrepreneurial subjects par excellence, this article adds to our understanding of how neoliberalism is lived out. The article is divided into 10 sections, with each section exploring a distinct contour of entrepreneurial subjectivity. They show, for example, that competition is not only other-directed under neoliberalism, but also directed at the self, and that exclusionary processes lie at the heart of the constitution of entrepreneurial subjectivities. By providing a theoretically informed analysis of a wealth of empirical data, the article makes an original contribution to our understanding of the psychic life of neoliberalism.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415590164
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
  • An Interview with Philip Mirowski
    • Authors: Lash, S; Dragos, B.
      Pages: 123 - 140
      Abstract: In this interview, Philip Mirowski, a foremost economic historian and philosopher of economic thought, discusses his research into the history of economics along with its complex relationship to the natural sciences and the recent rise of neoliberalism. The conversation starts by focusing on his early work on the birth of neoclassical economics as an imitation of modern physics via energetic metaphors. We also discuss the subsequent impact of the computer metaphor and its influence on post-Second World War economic theory. Some of the most important aspects of the informational turn in economics are discussed, such as the understanding of the market processes as a form of computation and the shift from a concern with the nature of the individual agent to the institutional framework of markets. This inevitably leads us to Mirowski’s recent work, where he takes the informational turn in economics to its ultimate conclusions, arguing for an algorithmic understanding of markets. He calls this a theory of markomata, or a computational evolutionary economics. Finally, the discussion addresses the interdependencies between the general understanding of markets as superior information processors, the rise of neoliberalism and the recent financial crisis.
      PubDate: 2016-10-18T21:43:01-07:00
      DOI: 10.1177/0263276415623063
      Issue No: Vol. 33, No. 6 (2016)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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