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Logic of expulsion

5 Nov
Saskia Sassen at Radboud University

Saskia Sassen at Radboud University

There is a major flow of the very foundations of the neoliberal democracy. Saskia Sassen, who I knew from my course readings about global cities, discussed tonight at Radboud University the flows of dynamic systems like the neoliberal democracy and finance. I was delighted to hear her critique and more about the genealogy of producing two distinct kinds of subjects by those systems. On the one hand is the privileged one and on the other hand is the neglected one.

Sassen brought together particularities such as displaced, unemployed, migrants, citizenship and so on by using the term logic of expulsion. She argued — positioning herself at the periphery, the borders of the systems — that there were mechanism on a global level through which those systems realized their hegemonic projects. Sassen used the less violent word expulsion to stress that some process are obscure and not taken seriously as a threat. According to her particularities may not fully uncover the whole story.

She talked about the global housing market, the economic crisis, mathematical algorithms, the government state and a many more interesting issues. I liked her  critique of the citizenship. She argued that the neoliberal democracy and the accompanying it dynamic systems turned people into consumers of their citizenship. She said that citizenship should be exercised, claimed and constitute one’s virtue.

Although her power point slides were not brilliant,  her speech was well delivered and she had a warm-hearted attitude toward her audience. In the end the audience was engaged in a discussion through which Sasses elaborated on more issues such as some failed projects (i.e. ghost cities) and some promising projects (i.e. Occupy movement, the Right to the City etc).

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Visual Culture and Its Replication

8 Sep
Rainy Thoughts

Rainy Thoughts

What interested me today is the discussion of visual culture (pictures, movies, photographs, video games) and its reproduction. The new semester has just started and I am assigned fascinating cultural and sociological text. The texts I read for my classes have hidden meaning and various interpretations. The reader, in this sense I, is bombarded with topics which can be decoded, if he is equipped with tools and competences allowing him to find the meaning of a theory. I admit I might still be ignorant for many issues in the social science department. However, I put an effort to understand the problems discussed in class. Today I try to make sense of The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Representation by Walter Benjamin (1892-1940).

Why Benjamin and his work are important in the social sciences? What triggered my interest? Continue reading