Anger and injustice need hearing, not treating, argues William Davies in his new book The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing. In the article below, originally published by openDemocracy, Davies explores the roots of today's flourishing wellbeing industry and asks whether shifting our focus to unhappiness might in fact be "healthier" for society as a whole.
Corporations and governments have co-opted the idea of the ‘social’ for their own ends. Is there anything we can do about it? Writer and sociologist William Davies, author of The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing outlines his response for the Guardian
Illustration by Pete Gamlen
Bradley L. Garrett, author of Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City and Lecturer at the University of Southampton, speaks out against the Tories' immigration policies which have left him, and many academics like him, "under imminent threat of deportation". This article was originally published by The Conversation.
Forced to fly away. davepatten/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA
Earlier this year, the UK lost a great scholar through a "soft deportation" when Miwa Hirono voluntarily left the country after an extended legal battle with the Home Office that left her and her family financially and psychologically exhausted.
Who walks alone in the streets at night? The sad, the mad, the bad. The lost, the lonely. The hypomanic, the catatonic. The sleepless, the homeless. All the city's internal exiles.
“Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night,” wrote the poet Rupert Brooke. If nightwalking is a matter of “going astray” in the streets of the metropolis after dark, then nightwalkers represent some of the most suggestive and revealing guides to the neglected and forgotten aspects of the city.
Out this month by Matthew Beaumont, Nightwalking - a nocturnal history of walking in London - shines a light on the shadowy perambulations of poets, novelists and thinkers: Chaucer and Shakespeare; William Blake, the supreme nightwalker Charles Dickens; and many more. Walking in the city is revealed as a place divided between work and pleasure, the affluent and the indigent, where the entitled and the desperate jostle in the streets.
Now out in paperback is one of our bestsellers - A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros. In this book he charts the many different ways we get from A to B — the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble — and reveals what they say about us.
Also out in paperback this month is The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International by McKenzie Wark. “If I read a more entertaining and thought-provoking work on cultural phenomena this year, I will be, frankly, astonished” said Nick Lezard in his Guardian review of the book. We agree. Re-reading the group’s history in the light of our contemporary experience of communications, architecture, and everyday life, shaping situationist psychology among urban explorers for the eventuality of the situationist city.
Inspired by these brilliant, newly published books, we present Verso's updated guide to political walking - all 50% off until Friday May 1st! After all, there's no such thing as a good walk unless your nose is firmly stuck in a book.