Warwick Politics and Performance Working Papers: Volume 2, Issue 1 -
Controlled Natures Dissensus and Disorder in the Urban Park
This article addresses the distinction between ‘the commons’ and ‘enclosure’ as a historical and present tension within the study of urban space. The article focuses upon urban parks, commonly presented as sites for the imposition of bourgeois codes of conduct; as ‘moral geographies’ (Driver, 19) enabling the suppression of an autonomous working class culture. While urban parks are commonly presented as the antithesis of the urban commons, using the theoretical work of Jacques Rancière, the article foregrounds instead the moments of creative resistance and aesthetic appropriation that characterised Victorian working-class use of urban green space. It argues that, rather than spaces of enclosure, parks might be explored instead for their re-introduction of the commons as practices of dissensus. Rather than imposing this past upon the present through the enduring symbolic barriers and governmental regimes that constitute green space, the article argues that we might look instead to the moments in which new languages of appreciation, experience and ownership are formed by marginalised groups - in particular young people.
What is the political significance of the commons today?
Patrick Bresnihan, who is also part of a Dublin-based research collective, 'the provisional university', is organizing a day of talks and discussions on the commons in Dublin, May 18th. The acclaimed historian, Peter Linebaugh, author of The Magna Carta Manifesto, will give a key-note with contributions from individuals and collectives from Spain, UK, USA and Ireland.
For more details: http://provisionaluniversity.wordpress.com/2013/04/15/struggles-in-common-may-18th/
Last week, Tehseen was invited by the Creating Publics team at the Open University's Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance to help them connect with McGill University's Making Publics project in snowy Montreal.
'Making Publics' (MaPs) ran from 2005-2010, as an international collaboration of academics from Canada, USA and the UK who identified the emergence of various kinds of publics in early modern Europe. 'Creating Publics' runs from 2011-2014 and looks at public-formation and participatory experiments today.
The work of the ARN offers insights for the issues raised by MaPs and Creating Publics. Firstly, at a conceptual level, MaPs and Creating Publics both suggest that publics have particular modalities of attention and openness, and these can be understood in terms of the ARN's approach to emerging forms of authority that structure social relations through specific forms of attention and appeals to an 'outside', or grounding, of knowledge. Secondly, at the level of practice, the ARN's writing retreats provide an interesting - if provocative - example of a participatory experiment within academia itself. And thirdly, the ARN's recent Participatory Practice project culminated in a collection of short essays on contemporary problems of participation that can be used to inform current debates around participatory experiments.
ARN to produce scoping study on 'co-production', to kick-start multi-disciplinary research collaboration between Bristol and Cardiff Universities
Tehseen has begun a short research fellowship looking at the histories, forms and possibilities of 'co-production' in academic-community collaboration, to help orient Productive Margins, a £2.4 million, 5-year programme housed at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University and funded through the UK cross-research council Connected Communities programme.
The term 'co-production' has been used in different ways in different contexts. It also overlaps with terms such as 'participation', 'publics-making' and 'co-creation'. Establishing clear meanings, understanding the dangers and obstacles of the term, and highlighting the successful approaches to co-production is an important first step for the Productive Margins programme. This scoping study is due to be completed by the end of June 2013.
New article: Brigstocke, J. (2013) 'Artistic Parrhesia and the Genealogy of Ethics in
Foucault and Benjamin', Theory, Culture & Society, 30(1), 57-78.
In The Use of Pleasure, Michel Foucault suggests that it is possible to read Walter Benjamin’s writings on Baudelaire as a contribution to a genealogy of ethics. This article experiments with reading Benjamin in this way. It shows that a distinctive analysis of each of the four elements of Foucauldian ethics (ethical substance, mode of subjectivation, ethical practice and telos) can be found in Benjamin’s work on Baudelaire and the Paris arcades. Specifically, the article makes the case for reading Benjamin in terms of his valuable contribution to understandings of the role played by art in modern forms of ‘parrhesia’, or courageous truth-telling. However, whereas Foucault’s notion of ‘arts of living’ focuses on challenging actual relations of power, Benjamin’s focuses on activating potential forms of power. In this way, Benjamin’s ethical framework tests the limits of Foucault’s conceptualization of the government of self and others.
We have just returned from a very exciting weekend in the New Forest reading and discussing various perspectives on authority and economy. We have started working on a collaborative writing project on this theme.
Hello! On the weekend of the 22nd November the ARN will be retreating to the New Forest to discuss the below texts. It would be great to hear anyone's thoughts on these and on any additional texts we could address.
Gibson-Graham, J.K. and Roelvink, G. (2010) An economic ethics for the anthropocene. Antipode, 41(1), 320-346.
• Callon, M. 'An essay on the growing contribution of economic markets to the proliferation of the social'. Theory, Culture and
Society 24(7-8), 2007, pp. 139-163.
• Lee, R. (2006) The ordinary economy: Tangled up in values and geography.Trans. Inst. Br. Geog. 31(4), 413-432.
And from Cultural Economy special edition on financial subjects: culture & materiality:
• Editorial: Pangley, P. & Leyshon, A. (2012) Financial subjects: Culture and materiality. Cultural Economy, 5(4), 369-373.
• Deville, J. (2012) Regenerating market attachments. Cultural Economy, 5(4), 423-439.
• French, S. & Neale, J. (2012) Speculating on careless lives. Cultural Economy, 5(4), 391-406.
With further Possible Readings:
• Polillo, S. (2011) Money, Moral Authority, and the Politics of Creditworthiness. American Sociological Review 76(3): 437-464.
• Gibson-Graham, J.K. A Postcapitalist Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. Intro (A politics of economic
possibility); ch 1 (affects and emotions for a post-capitalist politics) and ch 2 (reluctant subjects: subjection and becoming).
• Harvey, D. (2012) Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. London: Verso. Ch 3 (the creation of the urban
commons); ch 4 (the art of rent)' ch 6 (London 2011: Feral capitalism hits the streets).
Join our four panel speakers at 6 for 6.15pm at The Mild West Room in Hamilton House, and afterward for drinks at the Bell to continue conversation.