From scaling the very highest rooftops to political scandal through the eyes of Alexander Cockburn, we bring you our seasonal highlights for 2013.
THE CITY / URBAN EXPLORATION
Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City
Bradley L. Garrett
"Garrett perceives the city like no one else I know. Seen through his eyes, it is newly porous, full of “vanishing points”, “imperfect joinings” and portals – service hatches, padlocked doorways – that you wouldn't usually notice... The city's accessible space extends far down into the earth (sewers, bunkers, tunnels) and far up into the air (skyscrapers, cranes), with the street level only serving as a median altitude." – Robert Macfarlane, Guardian
"[Combines] erudite references (Montesquieu, Walter Benjamin) with compelling photographs of men in hoodies in strange places." – Rowan Moore, The Observer Architecture Books of the Year
We were deeply saddened to hear that André Schiffrin had died. He was not only the preeminent radical American publisher of his generation—perhaps of all generations—he was also a Verso author, the writer of the two most trenchant books on contemporary publishing, The Business of Books (2001) and Words and Money (2010).
Philip Mirowski’s new tour de force of contemporary economic ideology, Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, is a blisteringly clear-sighted exposition of the central tenets of neoliberalism, and an impassioned polemic against those very same values. On BBC Radio 4's Thinking Allowed this week, Laurie Taylor talks to Mirowski about his analysis of why neoliberalism survived, and even prospered, in the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008. According to Taylor, one of the essential contributions of Mirowski’s analysis is that it ‘chronicles the genesis of neoliberal thought’ and demonstrates how we have all internalized its logic.
Mirowski gives an introduction to the central characteristics of neoliberal ideology, differentiating it from classical economics. He details the attempts to open up new markets and to use markets in a new way from the 1970s onwards as well as the paradoxically strong uses of state intervention in this period. He notes that neoliberalism’s conception of the market as an ultimate ‘hidden hand’ and perfect information processor is a dogma that it is important to contest. He argues that:
"The way to fight neo-liberal ideology is that we have to change the idea of what markets do. … The left needs a different story about what markets do."
Listen to Mirowski on Thinking Allowed here.
"How old am I? Don’t ask; don’t tell. The question frightens me. It is maddening, all the more so for those like me, feminists on the left, approaching our sixth or seventh decade, who like to feel we have spent much of our time trying to combat prejudices on all sides. Yet fears of revealing our age when the years start to race by, speeding up as they mount, are hard to smother. Why write about ageing, when this troubling topic is so daunting, so complicated? My very hesitation, of course, tells me just how much needs to change before we can start to face up to the fearful disparagement of old age, including our own prejudices. Ageing encompasses so much, and yet most people’s thoughts about it embrace so little." – Lynne Segal
Since the second wave of the women’s movement began in the late 1960s and 1970s, feminists have re-examined the myths and stereotypes, the stigmas and truisms of every phase of the life cycle. Yet little has been said or done for older generations of women. In her new book Out of Time: the Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing Lynne Segal - feminist activist, writer and scholar - mixes memoir, literature and polemic to examine the assumptions and taboos that constrain us as we age.