The publication of my new book, The Priority of Injustice, gets a little closer, a little more real, with the mock-up of the front cover. It’s quite nice, I think. The image is by an artist called Helen Burgess. The book itself is due out later this year, published by the University of Georgia Press, sometime in the Autumn/Fall.
Picking up on the background to my last post mentioning Linda Zerilli’s new book, Jon Pugh has a new paper, ‘A sceptical approach to ‘the everyday’: Relating Stanley Cavell and Human Geography‘ , available online at Geoforum exploring the significance of Stanley Cavell’s ideas for thinking in human geography. It serves as both an introduction to some key themes in Cavell’s thought, and also an engagement with other influential streams of theory-in-geography through an ‘ordinary’ lens, including non-representational theory, affect theory and pragmatism. I thoroughly recommend it if you are at all interested in thinking sensibly about the issues that those buzzwords bring to mind but don’t quite feel comfortable with the orthodoxies associated with them …
Here is the abstract:
“Over the past few decades there has been a turn toward ‘the everyday’ in the social sciences and humanities. For some authors, this turn is about making the everyday a new repository of authority of some sort, political, social, cultural or otherwise. For others, however, any turn toward the everyday interrupts any such evaluation. Focusing upon Stanley Cavell and the philosophical lineage that he continues from Emerson, Nietzsche, Thoreau and Wittgenstein, this paper examines Cavell’s interest in the menace and power of scepticism as key to understanding the everyday as a lived experience. As an introduction to this particular part of Cavell’s work for many Geographers, the paper puts Cavell in relation to more familiar approaches to the everyday, including de Certeau, critical Human Geography, non-representational theory, affect theory, psychoanalysis and pragmatism.”
Following up on previous posts recommending the work of Linda Zerilli, I see that her new book is now out. A Democratic Theory of Judgment collects and synthesises and augments themes from her recent writings, including a sustained critical engagement in critical debates about affect in political theory (a critique that takes my own engagement with nonrepresentational ontologies seriously, in a critical way, alongside the arguments of Ruth Leys, which is flattering). But there is much more than that going on in the book it addresses what I would argue is a resolutely geographical problem of making critical judgments in new situations where inherited criteria don’t work (or, perhaps, where inherited understandings of how criteria work don’t work). My own attempt to elaborate on this problem, in my book, The Priority of Injustice, out sometime this year, owes a very great deal to what I have learned from reading Zerilli’s work, going back to her fantastic critique of skeptical residues in feminist cultural theory.
“So in all human affairs one notices, if one examines them closely, that it is impossible to remove one inconvenience without another emerging.”
Niccolò Machiavelli, 1517, The Discourses.
Here’s a thought, from Hannah Arendt’s 1971 essay ‘Lying in Politics’, to orient one’s analysis and thinking about political excitement in the UK this past week or so (actually the whole essay helps, as does ‘Truth and Politics’ in Between Past and Future, 1968):
“We are free to change the world and to start something new in it. Without the mental freedom to deny or affirm existence, to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – not just to statements or propositions in order to express agreement or disagreement, to our organs of perception and cognition – no action would be possible; and action is of course the very stuff politics are made of.
Hence, when we talk about lying, and especially about lying among men, let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear.”
“Thinkers tell stories to themselves and others about who they are as intellectuals. They are then strongly motivated to do intellectual work that will, inter alia, help to express and bring together the disparate elements of these stories. Everything else being equal, they will gravitate toward ideas that make this kind of synthesis possible.”
Neil Gross, 2008, Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher, University of Chicago Press.
“Ever since Luxemburg put into question the completion of real subsumption by suggesting it was nothing more than a heuristic device Marx employed to totalize capitalism, thinkers outside of Euro-America have, in one way or another, underscored a conception of the social that embodied an uneven mix of practices of prior modes of production alongside the newer innovations of capitalism”
Harry Harootunian, 2015, Marx After Marx: History and Time in the Expansion of Capitalism.
“Empirical statements that claim truth depend upon evidence; statements that claim truthfulness depend upon our acceptance of them. My acceptance is the way I respond to them, and not everyone is capable of the response, or willing for it. I put this by saying that a true statement is something we know or do not know; a truthful statement is one we must acknowledge or fail or refuse to acknowledge.”
Stanley Cavell, 1971, The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film.
“A work one cares about is not so much something one has read as something one is a reader of; connection with it goes on, as with any relation one cares about.”
Stanley Cavell, 1981, Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Romance.
“Disillusion is what fits us for reality, whether in Plato’s terms or D.W. Winnicott’s. But then we must be assured that this promise is based on a true knowledge of what our illusions are.”
Stanley Cavell, 1984, Themes Out of School: Effects and Causes.