Posts Tagged ‘Society’

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A Critique of Everyday Life

July 1, 2014

Henri Lefebvre’s magnum opus: a monumental exploration of contemporary society.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume One: Introduction. A groundbreaking analysis of the alienating phenomena of daily life under capitalism.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Two: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday. Identifies categories within everyday life, such as the theory of the semantic field and the theory of moments.

Critique of Everyday Life Volume Three: From Modernity to Modernism. Explores the crisis of modernity and the decisive assertion of technological modernism.

Verso Books: Henri Lefebvre’s three-volume Critique of Everyday Life is perhaps the richest, most prescient work by one of the twentieth century’s greatest philosophers. Written at the birth of post-war consumerism, the Critique was a philosophical inspiration for the 1968 student revolution in France and is considered to be the founding text of all that we know as cultural studies, as well as a major influence on the fields of contemporary philosophy, geography, sociology, architecture, political theory and urbanism. A work of enormous range and subtlety, Lefebvre takes as his starting-point and guide the “trivial” details of quotidian experience: an experience colonized by the commodity, shadowed by inauthenticity, yet one which remains the only source of resistance and change.

This is an enduringly radical text, untimely today only in its intransigence and optimism.

Text and Images via Verso Books

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The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

July 5, 2012

The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society works to integrate contemplative awareness and contemporary life in order to help create a more just, compassionate, reflective, and sustainable society.

Contemplative practices, including prayer, meditation, yoga, and many contemplative arts, help individuals regain balance and calm in the midst of challenging circumstances. This state of calm centeredness provides effective stress reduction and can also help address issues of meaning, values, and spirit. Contemplative practices can help people develop greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and concentration, reduce stress and enhance creativity. In time, with sustained commitment, they cultivate insight, wise discernment, and a loving and compassionate approach to life.

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Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics

June 13, 2012

Arguing that an anthropology that confronts the politics of academic knowledge can transcend its colonial origins to challenge enthnocentrism, Power and Its Disguises explores both the complexities of local situations and the power relations that shape the global order. The book begins by analyzing the politics of societies without indigenous states and non-Western agrarian civilizations in order to confront the politics of domination and resistance within the colonial contexts that gave birth to the discipline.The author then examines the contemporary politics of Africa, Asia and Latin America, showing that historically informed anthropological perspectives can contribute to debates about democratization by incorporating a ‘view from below’ and revealing forces that shape power relations behind the formal facade of state institutions. Examples are drawn from Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sri Lanka, amongst others.Emphasizing the need to avoid both romanticism and blanket pessimism, the book shows how the study of micro-dynamics of power in everyday life coupled with sensitivity to the interactions between the local and global offers critical insights into such issues as state terror and ethnic violence, the emancipatory potential of social movements and the politics of rights, gender and culture. The book ends with discussion of the politics of academic research and academics’ efforts to play a critical role.

Text by the publisher, Powell Books.

Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics (Anthropology, Culture and Society) by John Gledhill

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19th century Chinese Court and Scenes of Services

May 1, 2012

Scenes of Service from as album known as ‘Chinese Drawings: Court and Society’, hosted by the John Rylands University Library in Manchester.

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Instant favelas: the low-tech street lab for urban intervention

April 4, 2012

They say: “The Instant Favelas Project means the constant research and dialog between disciplines and Art. We base the project in our own exploration and concerns. Those confluences create, and this provoked the first pilot project (Piloto Kamikaze) where we explored interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary elements such as urbanity, culture, esthetic, music, environment, etc.

Instant Favelas creates a nomad city in open spaces of Zürich. These cities develop during one, two, or three weeks, and are normally built with free-hand collaborators-Favelanders. Our mobility or nomadism plays as much with external and natural factors as with the urban rules of the city where we play.

Inside of our Restless Doubts we attempt to achieve that the viewer’s role will be active, not merely looking at the process of construction, but also asking oneself, What is going on? Why here? Why this? Is it safe? What does it cost? What does it say? And of course, Is this Art? Hopefully we will arrive at the point where the viewer translates himself into a Favelander — free-hand – mind collaborator, who will perhaps create further interventions…

Instant Favelas as an open Art-Lab Experiment collaborated with interventions inside of our constructive structure. While building and networking our city-within-a-city, we try to understand cities. Our simulation becomes a laboratory where we invite other people to make an intervention—in the sense of a collaborative response to our project—so that we can reflect together about different aspects, such as space, economy, society, demography, spirituality and so on, that shape and define a city.”

instantfavelas.org

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Cloning scientists create human brain cells

January 30, 2012

Scientists in Edinburgh who pioneered cloning have made a technological breakthrough that could pave the way for better medical treatment of mental illnesses and nerve diseases.

Scientist Ian Wilmut with Dolly, the worlds first cloned sheep, at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh in 2001. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The news that Edinburgh scientists had created the world’s first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, at the university’s Roslin Institute made headlines around the world 16 years ago. Her birth raised hopes of the creation of a new generation of medicines – with a host of these breakthroughs occurring at laboratories in the university over the following decade.

And now one of the most spectacular has taken place at Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine, where scientists have continued to develop the technology used to make Dolly. In a series of remarkable experiments, they have created brain tissue from patients suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar depression and other mental illnesses.

The work offers spectacular rewards for doctors. From a scrap of skin taken from a patient, they can make neurones genetically identical to those in that person’s brain. These brain cells, grown in the laboratory, can then be studied to reveal the neurological secrets of their condition.

“A patient’s neurones can tell us a great deal about the psychological conditions that affect them, but you cannot stick a needle in someone’s brain and take out its cells,” said Professor Charles french-Constant, the centre’s director.

Written by Robin McKie, The Observer. Continue HERE

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The first sexual revolution: lust and liberty in the 18th century

January 21, 2012

We believe in sexual freedom. We take it for granted that consenting men and women have the right to do what they like with their bodies. Sex is everywhere in our culture. We love to think and talk about it; we devour news about celebrities’ affairs; we produce and consume pornography on an unprecedented scale. We think it wrong that in other cultures its discussion is censured, people suffer for their sexual orientation, women are treated as second-class citizens, or adulterers are put to death.

Yet a few centuries ago, our own society was like this too. In the 1600s people were still being executed for adultery in England, Scotland and north America, and across Europe. Everywhere in the west, sex outside marriage was illegal, and the church, the state and ordinary people devoted huge efforts to hunting it down and punishing it. This was a central feature of Christian society, one that had grown steadily in importance since late antiquity. So how and when did our culture change so strikingly? Where does our current outlook come from? The answers lie in one of the great untold stories about the creation of our modern condition.

When I stumbled on the subject, more than a decade ago, I could not believe that such a huge transformation had not been properly understood. But the more I pursued it, the more amazing material I uncovered: the first sexual revolution can be traced in some of the greatest works of literature, art and philosophy ever produced – the novels of Henry Fielding and Jane Austen, the pictures of Reynolds and Hogarth, the writings of Adam Smith, David Hume and John Stuart Mill. And it was played out in the lives of tens of thousands of ordinary men and women, otherwise unnoticed by history, whose trials and punishments for illicit sex are preserved in unpublished judicial records. Most startling of all were my discoveries of private writings, such as the diary of the randy Dutch embassy clerk Lodewijk van der Saan, posted to London in the 1690s; the emotional letters sent to newspapers by countless hopeful and disappointed lovers; and the piles of manuscripts about sexual freedom composed by the great philosopher Jeremy Bentham but left unpublished, to this day, by his literary executors. Once noticed, the effects of this revolution in attitudes and behaviour can be seen everywhere when looking at the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It was one of the key shifts from the pre-modern to the modern world.

Written by Faramerz Dabhoiwala at The Guardian. Continue HERE