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This chapter sheds light on the uses of modern alchemical discourse by three artists and writers who were affiliated with surrealism: British-born artist Leonora Carrington, British artist and occultist Ithell Colquhoun, and Greek poet and critic Nanos Valaoritis. All three writers experimented with the potentialities of alchemical language, writing novels premised upon esotericism and myth in terms of imagery, plot, and sensibility: The Stone Door (1977) and The Hearing Trumpet (1976) by Carrington; Goose of Hermogenes (1961) and I Saw Water (2014) by Colquhoun; From the Bones Rising (1982) and Xerxes’s Treasure (1984) by Valaoritis. Influenced by several strands of the alchemical discourse, Carrington, Colquhoun, and Valaoritis resorted to ideas corroborating the transgression of the dominant Enlightenment concept of the unified rational subject, and utilized them as subversive tropes in their revision of hegemonic body politics. In this revision, identity constitution is conceptualized as a process that is open-ended, non-teleological, and performative. The chapter charts these corporeal cartographies, shedding light on the three writers’ appropriations of alchemy in their writing practices; it shows that the alchemical genre primarily functioned as a platform for the exploration of performative manifestations of identity and contributed to fecund redefinitions of the novel.
This chapter reviews the history of the IPCC’s efforts to achieve and maintain policy relevance while remaining policy-neutral and staying far away from ‘policy prescriptiveness’. The chapter argues that the boundaries between policy relevance, neutrality and prescriptiveness are a practical achievement – they must be constantly negotiated as the science and politics of climate change evolve. The chapter uses historical case studies to illustrate this point, such as the controversy over the so-called ‘burning embers’ diagram. It ends by discussing recent debates about the IPCC’s new role in the post-Paris Agreement policy landscape. While IPCC actors call for greater policy relevance, observers and critics contend that the IPCC will always and inevitably be policy-prescriptive, even if on a tacit and unintentional level. Achieving even greater policy relevance may therefore mean jettisoning or modifying the aspiration to be policy-neutral.
Language enables us to represent our world, rendering salient the identities, groups, and categories that constitute social life. Michael Silverstein (1945–2020) was at the forefront of the study of language in culture, and this book unifies a lifetime of his conceptual innovations in a set of seminal lectures. Focusing not just on what people say but how we say it, Silverstein shows how discourse unfolds in interaction. At the same time, he reveals that discourse far exceeds discrete events, stabilizing and transforming societies, politics, and markets through chains of activity. Presenting his magisterial theoretical vision in engaging prose, Silverstein unpacks technical terms through myriad examples – from brilliant readings of Marcel Marceau's pantomime, the class-laced banter of graduate students, and the poetics/politics of wine-tasting, to Fijian gossip and US courtroom talk. He draws on forebears in linguistics and anthropology while offering his distinctive semiotic approach, redefining how we think about language and culture.
How a theatrical way of viewing the world, and the performance of English theatre in foreign domains, shaped empirical social theories, secured sovereignty, seized geopolitical space and claimed both knowlege and power over the others on whose land they lived. Provincializing metropolitan culture was crucial to the task.
It has long been claimed that opera can give expression to the uneasy relationship between the body and the voice. Operatic voices seem to exceed the capacity of the bodies that produce them in a way that conveys a sense of mechanisation or limited agency, inviting metaphorical comparisons to marionettes. Yet recent studies of gesture have suggested that bodies are not simply passively inscribed with meaning but that they also mediate the process of inscription. Investigating the implications of this claim for opera, this article discusses two recent essays by Judith Butler, in which she draws from Walter Benjamin's account of gesture in Brecht's epic theatre to argue for the performative power of incomplete or decontextualised bodily actions. It then traces this idea to a moment in epic theatre's own prehistory, focusing on Ferruccio Busoni's opera Doktor Faust. The article makes both a theoretical point and an historical claim: it highlights how bodies and words that are decontextualised can perform a critical function despite not enjoying the usual citational supports necessary for a speech act; and it argues that Busoni's Doktor Faust and his theory of opera were a part of the intellectual prehistory to Butler's conceptualisation of bodily performativity.
When environmental protection and human rights collide, regional human rights courts balance the competing interests at stake to determine optimal outcomes. In doing so, courts tend to frame environmental protection as a ‘general interest’ capable of limiting relative fundamental rights and freedoms. This construction of an integrated, common and shared social value is loaded with political agency. In dictating specific outcomes as being in the ‘general’ interest, this adjudicative practice projects particular ideals into the realm of universality. This chapter traces the origins and meanings of the general interest, its attribution to environmental protection and, most importantly, its invocation by regional human rights courts when solving conflicts between environmental and human rights concerns. The ability of judges to reframe the particular in universal terms through the heuristic of the ‘general interest’ is assessed in the light of Martti Koskenniemi’s theory on the (discursive) hegemony of international legal argumentation. When courts frame particular substantive, aesthetic or procedural dimensions of environmental protection as being in the general interest, they produce a hegemonic vision of the environment–human rights interface, which is continuously reproduced through judicial cross-referencing. Thereby, values set under established case law gradually crystallise into patterns, precedents and social norms.
This second part delves into concrete cases of conflicts between environmental protection and human rights decided by regional human rights courts. Instead of focusing on the outcomes of each case, the analysis attends to the legal reasoning and justifications articulated by judges when decisions are reached, and courts come to a resolution of adversarial argumentations. How do regional human rights courts balance individual or collective human rights against the interest in environmental protection, when environmental protection and human rights collide? What emerges is a process where parties counter legal indeterminacy by granting weight to specific legal, political and normative goals in an idiom of universality – namely through justifications in the name of ‘universal interests’ or ‘universal truth claims’. Two strategies of ‘universal justification’ are induced from the cases. First, conflicts between environmental protection and human rights tend to be solved though a ‘universalisation strategy’ that rests on an invocation of the ‘general interest’. Second, a ‘universalisation strategy’ is visible when courts settle disputes by relying on the ‘objectivity’ and ‘authority’ provided by scientific or human rights experts. New argumentative dynamics are induced from a critical case-law analysis that reveals particular understandings of the human–environment relation, which engenders specific world-making effects.
Financial value, as I use the term in this book, is the monetary value of a financial asset: a belief or claim about what it is worth. Academic understandings of financial value are dominated by the marginalist tradition of mainstream economics, and so this chapter begins by explaining the profound inadequacy of this approach to financial value. It goes on to outline a theory of financial value based on more recent contributions from the literature, notably André Orléan’s work on financial valuation conventions, Pierre Bourdieu’s work on symbolic value, and Jens Beckert’s work on fictional expectations. It then engages a little more critically with recent work on the idea that economics plays a performative role in the finance sector. This chapter and the previous two provide a constructively critical review of the literature on value and financial value, but they also piece together what is in effect the book’s theoretical hypothesis, which is supplemented with an ontological hypothesis in the next chapter and then tested by applying it to empirical cases in the later chapters of the book.
Through the concept of performativity we can see how ‘the uttering of the sentence is, or is a part of, the doing of an action’. Language can influence cognitive processes and can highlight certain attributes or qualities of people. This chapter explores the role of pronoun choice as a dehumanizing discursive strategy. By using a pronoun that is normally related to non-human creatures in reference to a human being, the pronoun choice itself becomes the doing of the action of dehumanization. In languages where there are two sets of pronouns, one type is normally used to express personhood, and the other in reference to inanimate objects and to animals. When the inanimate pronoun it is used, the referent is not considered human. On the contrary, in previous research, I have shown that when the pronouns that express personhood are used in reference to humanoid creatures, they can take part in a humanization process that can have obvious consequences for the moral question of how to treat that creature. While the author’s previous research has concentrated on the literary and film application of the importance of pronoun, here conclusions from such research are revisited and ‘it-dehumanization’ examined in real-life discourse.
Guinea’s postindependence state (1958-84) discouraged ethnic identification in favor of national solidarity. In the decades since, ethnic groups have increasingly been mobilized as political interest groups in Guinea, a phenomenon that has been especially visible in recent multiparty elections. At the same time as ethnicity resurfaced as an explicit political force, young performing artists in Guinea’s capital city Conakry were inventing genres of dance and urban ceremony that de-emphasize ethnicity as a marker of belonging. Cohen engages with an interdisciplinary literature on publics to describe how the aesthetic practices of non-elite African youth constitute a crucial form of political engagement.
Must We Mean What We Say? is the first and only work in contemporary thought to carry the project of ordinary language philosophy through to its end. It thereby confronts and overcomes the harsh criticisms of ordinary language philosophy that began with Gellner’s attack in 1959, belying repeated claims that the tradition is “dead.” MWM shows that ordinary language philosophy is more than ever alive and relevant. Cavell’s emphasis on the “voice of the ordinary” responds to the risk of skepticism, that loss of or distancing from the world that film also explores (see The World Viewed). In Must We Mean What We Say?, Cavell offers us new ways to explore the relation between an individual speaker and her community, the possibility of revolution in philosophy, and the sense in which our relation to our own words figures our relations to ourselves: the question of self-knowledge and voice.
This chapter looks at the cultural turn in historical writing since the 1980s and how it changed the established traditions of cultural history writing which had existed since the beginnings of professional history writing. The strong influence of poststructuralist theories led to a growing attention to questions of representations and constructions as well as to hidden meanings. It also traces the increasing desire to embed discourses in social practices. The chapter argues that an emphasis on the situational and relational processes in which humans acted remained often linked to an emancipatory agenda. A concern for human agency united with an interest in forms of creolisation and hybridity. Theories of alterity and studies of cultural transfer moved to the fore in many sub-fields of history, e.g. in LGBT history. The chapter explores in particular a range of promising new avenues in the new cultural history: the history of the senses, the history of emotions, the history of the body, the history of violence, nationalism studies. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the new cultural history contributed to greater self-reflexivity about the role of historical writing in collective identity formation. In particular Stuart Hall’s theory of ‘identification’ is used to describe the way in which a commitment to an engaged history writing can be squared with reflexivity about identity formation through historical writing.
This chapter considers how the Routine Dynamics debate around technology, artifacts and materiality has evolved over the course of the past two decades. In reviewing the progress achieved so far, I show how the field is gearing up to address the important challenges posed, among other things, by new forms of artifacts and technology, and new ways of organizing. In so doing, I discuss how the latest advances in routines and materiality (artifacts at the centre, performativity and multiplicity/fluid ontology) can help us address the theoretical, methodological and empirical challenges raised by contemporary material phenomena. I conclude by laying out an agenda for future studies of routines, technology, artifacts and materiality.
Organizations increasingly rely upon algorithms to change their routines—with positive, negative, or messy outcomes. In this chapter, we argue that conceptualizing algorithms as an integral part of an assemblage provides scholars with the ability to generate novel theories about how algorithms influence routine dynamics. First, we review existing research that shows how algorithms operate as an actant making decisions; encode the intentions of designers; are entangled in broader assemblages of theories, artifacts, actors, and practices; and generate performative effects. Second, we elucidate five analytical approaches that can help management scholars to identify new connections between routine assemblages, their elements, and organizational outcomes. Finally, we outline directions for future research to explore how studying algorithms can advance our understanding of routine dynamics and how a routine dynamics perspective can contribute to the understanding of algorithms in strategy and organizational theory more broadly .
The German mystic Gertrude the Great of Helfta (c.1256–1301) is a globally venerated saint who is still central to the Sacred Heart Devotion. Her visions were first recorded in Latin, and they inspired generations of readers in processes of creative rewriting. The vernacular copies of these redactions challenge the long-standing idea that translations do not bear the same literary or historical weight as the originals upon which they are based. In this study, Racha Kirakosian argues that manuscript transmission reveals how redactors serve as cultural agents. Examining the late medieval vernacular copies of Gertrude's visions, she demonstrates how redactors recast textual materials, reflected changes in piety, and generated new forms of devotional practices. She also shows how these texts served as a bridge between material culture, in the form of textiles and book illumination, and mysticism. Kirakosian's multi-faceted study is an important contribution to current debates on medieval manuscript culture, authorship, and translation as objects of study in their own right.
The Conclusion emphasises the dialogic, performative properties of politique both as a word and as a character, and emphasises that although the particular politique problem traced in the book is a sixteenth-century phenomenon, there is no particular rupture between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; I explore continuities and differences across the decades after the end of the wars, and consider the political writings of Cardinal Richelieu and Gabriel Naudé. The Conclusion also argues that sixteenth-century debates about politics and politiques had a long-term impact on the European political imagination; it looks briefly at early modern English and contemporary French examples to consider this. It further considers what room there might be for optimism amid the negativity attached to politics in the early modern period.
This chapter uncovers the theoretical dimensions of the controversy over knowledge highlighted in Chapter 1. I show how in this controversy, the demarcation between science and law, knowledge and judgment, the is and the ought is at stake. Tracing this distinction through both legal positivist thought and sociological approaches to the law, I emphasize in particular the limitations of such theoretical exercises. In their abstractionism, they fail to offer us the tools for thinking through, and thinking with, the controversy introduced in Chapter 1. The law-science conundrum, I argue, needs a pragmatic respecification. Drawing on pragmatist philosophy, the social study of knowledge practices, and ethnomethodology I seek to ask not, what is the law, but rather: where and how is it done? Neither do I want to know what (social) science, essentially, is. Again, the more productive question to ask is: how and where does it take place? And what are the performative effects of social scientists’ attempts to understand legal practice? Emphasizing actually occurring, unfolding legal practices over abstract “Law”, this chapter offers the conceptual tools necessary to venture into the field.
Equipped with a vocabulary to do justice to the performative dimensions of social scientific knowledge production, this chapter revisits the controversial study of sentencing disparities introduced in Chapter 1. Here, I emphasize the performative effects of statistical forms of ordering and analysing judicial decision-making. What are the consequences of treating judicial cases as bundles of legal and social characteristics? How is the promise of “equality before the Law” operationalized? How is the law itself reconfigured as a result of this analysis? What kind of population – of cases, of individuals – does this analyses presuppose? Together, these questions bring us closer to zooming in on a crucial performativity of social-scientific accounts of judicial practices, especially those assisted by quantitative measurement and statistical analyses. Disaggregating cases into case- and defendant “factors” and portraying criminal law as a machine distributing justice over an internally stratified population, this approach produces a reality the judges do not recognize as their own. Hence, this chapter also comments on the methodological limitations of statistical analyses in the study of actually existing, concrete work practices, demonstrating how such methodological approach black-boxes judicial decision-making and disaggregates cases into “factors”.
Grit can be defined as the tenacious pursuit of long-term challenging goals. Researchers and policy makers implicate grit in academic and economic success. Although not always included in definitions nor emphasized in practice, researchers contend that passion above all other components of grit is predictive of achievement. Thus, proponents of grit include passion in their conceptualization, pointing to the need for students' experience to be organized around the identification of and commitment to passion. Under the guise of a humanism, passion has become something to be technically managed through deliberative pedagogical practices with the expectation that grit will be a corollary. The motivation for this pedagogical focus is tied to requirements for passionate work. Those who form a strong emotional connection to a goal have value for neoliberal economic arrangements as they are associated with a relentless commitment to innovate, solve problems, and become entrepreneurs. Such persons are efficient, self-regulated, and tenacious.
This chapter explores the various analytical traditions studying the commons, the different meanings each ascribes to this concept, and their implications for challenging and generating alternatives to dominant power relations, practices, institutions and common senses (ideas). I begin by discussing the institutional tradition of commons theory, and analyzes how they are governed through collective actions and rules (institutions). I then discuss the critique of this approach from political ecology, which situates commons in the political-economic context of capitalist development. I then identify four additional understandings of commons: as social relations and commons-making practices, as movements, as an alternative political-ecological paradigm, and as counter-hegemonic environmental politics. I conclude arguing that commons invite (re)thinking of key common senses in capitalist hegemony, such as private property and the concept of property itself, the developmentalist/extractivist, growth-based economy and its violent enclosures and dispossessions, democracy and “the state”, the separation of “nature” and “humans.,” and purely rational and individualistic subjectivities.