Berfrois

Mutiny!

Mutiny!

In her latest book, ‘Unspeakable Things’, journalist Laurie Penny dissects the structural violence ripping through the most intimate parts of all of our lives: suffocated by rigid gender roles, policed by the sexual counter-revolution, and corroded by austerity – and charts the dynamics between these controlling forces in our lives.

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A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

The accounts, symbols and feelings that we have about national identity were largely imagined, created and popularized in the nineteenth century. The word ‘nationalism’ itself dates from the early nineteenth century and marked the increasing use of national identity in order to make political claims. So to argue that...

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Afraid to Speak Once Again

Afraid to Speak Once Again

I remember growing up in the Soviet Empire and my father always warning me not to talk too much against the authorities on the phone. “They are constantly listening to us and we may be arrested” – he used to tell me and we would cover our phones with...

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Time to Disarm Elite Power

Time to Disarm Elite Power

The County Election, George Caleb Bingham, 1851 by Ash Amin If democracy means rule by the people for the people, it has broken down. At pivotal moments in the past, altering the rules of the political has been a defining trait of the organised left, able to project a...

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Deborah Cameron: Grammar Alchemy

Deborah Cameron: Grammar Alchemy

The national curriculum for England and Wales, introduced at the end of the 1980s, made it mandatory for schools to teach English grammar. Yet the myth still persists that grammar has not been taught since the permissive 1960s. For politicians in need of a populist gesture, that belief has...

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Jeremy Fernando: DJ Obama

Jeremy Fernando: DJ Obama

A little more than four years ago, the phrase heard throughout the world was the catchy “Yes, we can.” A rallying cry of the best sort—devoid of any referentiality—“Yes we can” could refer to both anything and nothing at the same time. Not as if catachrestic metaphors ever got...

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Glittering Game Boards

Glittering Game Boards

The formula of the "99 percent" seems at once incredibly rhetorical and real. We are used to hyperbole; we are less used to an absurdly lopsided figure that is actually matched by a reality. Poetic figuration meets statistical validity.

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A. Staley Groves on Andrew Breitbart

A. Staley Groves on Andrew Breitbart

Illustration by DonkeyHotey by A. Staley Groves I admit a smile crossed my face when I read Breitbart was rushed to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and pronounced dead. Not because his children would lose a father, nor his wife a husband.  Rather that the iconoclastic boy-warrior was...

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Albena Azmanova: Critical Political Judgement

Albena Azmanova: Critical Political Judgement

It was in a moment of exasperation, one imagines, that Kant discovered what he named ‘the scandal of reason’ – reason’s tendency to get entangled in its own contradictions and thus degenerate into either dogma or uncertainty – a tendency that has haunted modern history.

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Disobedience

Disobedience

Ricky Gervais as David Brent in The Office, BBC, 2001 From The Nation: “I approach philosophy somewhat the way we approach art,” Havel once confessed. Despite his lack of method, he took a reading of Heidegger and a handful of homegrown metaphors and set forth in his writing powerful...

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Radical Chic and the New

Radical Chic and the New

Leonard Bernstein, his wife Felicia Montealegre and Don Cox, Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party in the Bernsteins’ Park Avenue penthouse in Manhattan, January 14, 1970. From New York Magazine. From Eurozine: A discussion of “radical chic” – a term used to denounce criticism and radical thought as...

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Michael Moodian: Debating Nixon

Michael Moodian: Debating Nixon

Richard Nixon by Michael A. Moodian The structure of the best tragedy should be not simple but complex and one that represents incidents arousing fear and pity—for that is peculiar to this form of art. —Aristotle in Poetics (335 BCE/1932, sec. 1452b) On September 29, 1945, Republican businessman Herman...

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More and More Bankrupt

More and More Bankrupt

by Irakli Zurab Kakabadze Once again, we can see that almost the entire world is trembling with the expectation of change. It looks like the world is refusing to suffocate itself with the single philosophy and single ideology that is already there for the last 20 years. Events are...

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‘Am I allowed to create this link?’

‘Am I allowed to create this link?’

DC Comics From Sign and Sight: The question of pro or contra the net or “intellectual property” is not being decided according to political parties but social criteria. It is important to understand that the lines drawn in the internet debate cut across all political orientations. There are internet...

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Thank You, Governor Scott

Thank You, Governor Scott

Illustration by DonkeyHotey by Charlotte Noble By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard the story. In October 2011, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott singled out of anthropology as a useless major, igniting a flurry of heated discussions about the utility of anthropology as well as other liberal arts majors. For...

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A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Sure, there’s the GOP symbol, but the real elephant in the room at any of the Republican debates since December has been the super PAC, the turbocharged political action committee able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political ads — as long as that spending isn’t...

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How dare they vote that way?

How dare they vote that way?

Betty Benevolence wants to save the world. Yet she has crazy ideas about how to do it. When she sees a starving child, she steals his remaining food. When she sees someone in pain, she kicks him in the shins. When she sees a drowning man, she pours water...

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We must question the validity of the Westphalian model as it applies to Greece…

We must question the validity of the Westphalian model as it applies to Greece…

Greece has a central position in the European imagination. Once modernity had established its legitimacy on the basis of antiquity, and a country such as Germany had constructed itself on a mystical affinity with Greece, it was impossible not to include Greece in the contemporary European scene.

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Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

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Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

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Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

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Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

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David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

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Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

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Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

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Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

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Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

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Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

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Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

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From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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