Category: Uncategorized


2nd Call for Papers:
Examining the Relevance of Marx and Marxism to Contemporary Global Society
Newcastle University, 29th and 30th of January 2011

Rationale, Outline and Aims

The 21st century has so far seen US-led military interventions, global
financial crises, identity conflicts, terrorism on a grand scale,
environmental disasters and fraught industrial/labour relations. These
dramatic events have challenged the notion of an ‘end to history’ and the
widespread belief that the collapse of the Soviet Union has made Marx and
Marxism irrelevant. With growing instability in the social, political and
economic functioning of human societies, we wish to examine the relevance
of Marx to contemporary global society.

In order to do this, Global Discourse (http://global-discourse.com) is
organising a two-day conference at Newcastle University on Saturday 29th
and Sunday 30th of January 2011.

The aims of the event are:

-to examine the relevance and application of Marxian, Marxist,
Neo-Marxist and Post-Marxist thought to contemporary issues.
-to reassess scriptural and doctrinal commitments within various ‘Marxisms’.
-to facilitate interdisciplinary, inter-paradigmatic discourse on a range
of contemporary issues.

Papers from this event will form the basis of a special issue of Global
Discourse to be released in February 2011.

Keynote Papers

The keynote talks will be given by Prof Norman Geras, author of Marx and
Human Nature, whose paper will relate to the general theme, ‘What does it
mean to be Marxist?’, and Prof Stuart Sim, author of Post-Marxism: An
Intellectual History, who will be examining the achievements of
Post-Marxism.

Topics, Deadlines and Publishing Process

We are currently soliciting papers addressing the two topics covered by
the keynote speakers, namely: ‘What does it mean to be Marxist?’ and
‘Post-Marxism and its discontents’.

We invite the submission of abstracts on these topics by November 15th.
Authors whose abstracts are accepted will then be invited to submit full
papers by December 17th. This will enable refereeing priori to publication
of the special issue of Global Discourse in February 2011.

We aim, subsequently, to publish a collected edition in print based on
these papers.

Please submit all abstracts, papers and panel proposals to the editors at
editor@global-discourse.com.

Costs

There will be no conference fee.

A lunch buffet and refreshments will be provided free of charge.

An optional evening conference meal on Saturday 29th of January will be
held at a nearby restaurant. We will seek to organise a special rate for
the meal and will circulate details in due course. Participants shall bear
the cost of their meal.

Places

There will be space for 40 paper-givers and 20 non-paper-giving participants.

Please address all queries and submit all papers to Matthew Johnson and
Mark Edward at editor@global-discourse.com.

With best wishes,

Matthew Johnson.
Advertisements

I’ve enjoyed the DeLanda reading group for A New Philosophy of Society (ANPS) and it is my turn to write about chapter 4: Organisations and Governments. So far there have been excellent contributions from Levi on chapter 1, Alex on Chapter 2 and Michael on Chapter 3. My post on the fourth chapter of ANPS will be in three  parts First, I will summarise DeLanda’s analysis of organisations, I discuss DeLanda’s analysis of relations between organisations and governments, and finally offer some critical comments. I hope the critical comments can continue the productive discussion the book symposium has already stimulated.  I will post part one here and the two other parts over the weekend.

1)      Summary of Chapter 4 (Part 1 Organisations)

In chapter 4 DeLanda continues his journey and moves up the ontological scale of assemblages to consider organisations and governments. DeLanda makes it clear that the organisations he is going to examine will primarily focus on the last two or three centuries, especially organisations that use commands to coordinate collective activity (p68). In addition, DeLanda furthers narrows his analysis from selecting to focus on what different command organisation share in common: an authority structure (p68). According to DeLanda, the expressive axis of organisations within an authority structures express the legitimacy, and the material axis is involved with the enforcement of authority. In other words, organisations have legitmacy dimension and an enforcement authority.

One of the most important decisions that DeLanda makes is to incorporate Max Weber’s typology of authority structure. According to Weber there are three  types of authority-structures: rational-legal, traditional, and charismatic. To accommodate Weber’s three authority-structures, DeLanda regards them as extreme forms (or ideal types) that are in a continuum. The result is that organisations and populations will usually have a composition of all the authority types. It is now worth outlining the characteristics of each extreme form.

 

Rational-Legal – Is an organisation where there is complete separation of the position and the person occupying the position. The role of the positions within the organisation will be clearly outlined and there is a clear hierarchical structure with relations of surbordination between positions (not persons) made legitimate in some form of legal constitution.

Traditional – Some organisations have authority structures where ‘positions of authority are justified exclusively in terms of traditional rules and ceremonies inherited from the past and assumed to be sacred’ (p69). Examples of this type of authority structure are evident in religious organisations or monarchical governments.

Charismatic – The final authority structure is when an organisation is led and mobilised from a strong and charismatic leader. According to DeLanda, ‘historically, the kinds of individuals that have played this role have ranged “prophets, to people with a reputation for therapeutic or legal wisdom, to leaders in the hunt, and heroes of war”’ (p69).

 

 

In terms of the rationa-legal authority structure, DeLanda makes the observation that this type has become popular in the contemporary world, and the last 200years has seen the propagation of the rational-legal form. In addition, we also see the significance of the idea of redundant causality for examining and understanding rational-legal organisations. The idea of redundant causality is that a person can be removed from a position in a rational-legal organisation and replaced with another without altering the identity of that assemblage. In other words, I could be removed from my position as a teaching assistant at Newcastle University and replaced with another person without altering the authority structure where people have well defined roles. The result is that organisational analysis of rational-legal authority structures, which follows assemblage theory, ought to be concerned with different positions of the organisation, rather than the specifics of the persons that fill these roles.

In his analysis of rational-legal authority structures, DeLanda argues that the daily following of commands is an expression of legitimacy (p71). He also suggests that forms of disobediance are a direct challenge to the authority structure of the organisation. I would suggest that there is an influence of David Hume in this section, which follows on from DeLanda’s Humean subjectivit y outlined in the previous chapter. In the third chapter, DeLanda suggests habits are one possible method for analysing and understanding a person. The same could also be suggested for examining organisations with an authority structure. We could imagine that organisations are a bunble of non-essential habits and the habits are related to the command structure of the organisations. For example, if my position requires I turn up at the office at 9am everyday this becomes a repetitive habit that also expresses the legitimacy of the organisation. If i decide to break the habit and refuse to turn up at 9am I am directly expressing disobedience and challenging the habits of the  authority structure.

In addition to Weber, Michel Foucault is an important influence in DeLanda’s analysis of organisations that have an authority structure. Unsurprisingly, DeLanda finds Foucault’s Discipline and Punish a helpful resource and notes how contemporary rational-legal organisations has two different historical sources:

“Speaking of the rational-legal form of authority, Michel Foucault discusses how the legitmacy of this form evolved as lawyers and legal scholars elaborated justifications for the contractual relations at the basis of voluntary submission, but also how these legitimating discourses had to be complemented by a nondiscursive, disciplinary component, which had quite different origins, not in judicial or legislative organisations but in miltary ones” (p72)

From Foucault, DeLanda observes two important developments in organisations. First, the spatial and temporal partitional of human bodies. The model for organising space was from the military, where paths, barracks, entrances, etc where organised to manage the subordinates and assign then a definite place, and a model of time was incorporated so that ‘working rates were established, occupations imposed, cycles and repetitions regulated (p72). Second, a new threshold of description (i.e. the minimum of significance which a piece of information must have been worthy of archiving emerged where the actions of ‘normal’ individuals were recorded.  No longer do we only record the achievements and movements of heroes, but all types of individuals are regarded as being significant and worthy of recording in contemporary rational-legal organisations. Although not explicitly expressed from DeLanda, assemblage theory would have to consider the material elements that make possible the recording of individuals. For example, contemporary supermarkets use loyality cards to eletronically record the purchases of consumers and help with their market research.

The last main point that DeLanda makes about organisation is about the jurisdication of organisations. According to DeLanda, the stability o f an organisation’s jurisdication is dependent on their legitimacy and the continuous enforcement. Processes that call into question the stability of an organisation as sources of deterritorialization. DeLanda lists the examples of organisations clashing over territory and a crises of succession, where a leader’s death could destabile an organisation and its jurisdication.

DeLanda Reading Group update

I’ve really been enjoying the DeLanda reading group and thanks to all the people that have been summarising the chapters. Michael at Archive Fire has recently posted his thoughts on chapter 3 (here). I am off work this week and will be posting my thoughts about chapter 4  on Friday.

Call for Papers: Examining the Relevance of Marx and Marxism to Contemporary Global Society Newcastle University, 29th and 30th of January 2011

Rationale, Outline and Aims: The 21st century has so far seen US-led military interventions, global financial crises, identity conflicts, terrorism on a grand scale, environmental disasters and fraught industrial/labour relations. These dramatic events have challenged the notion of an ‘end to history’ and the widespread belief that the collapse of the Soviet Union has made Marx and Marxism irrelevant. With growing instability in the social, political and economic functioning of human societies, we wish to examine the relevance of Marx to contemporary global society.

In order to do this, Global Discourse (www.global-discourse.com) is organising a two-day conference at Newcastle University on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of January 2011. The aims of the event are: – to examine the relevance and application of Marxian, Marxist, Neo-Marxist and Post-Marxist thought to contemporary issues. – to reassess scriptural and doctrinal commitments within various ‘Marxisms’. – to facilitate interdisciplinary, inter-paradigmatic discourse on a range of contemporary issues.

 Keynote Papers The keynote talks will be given by Prof Norman Geras, author of Marx and Human Nature, whose paper will relate to the general theme, ‘What does it mean to be Marxist?’, and Prof Stuart Sim, author of Post-Marxism: An Intellectual History, whose paper will discuss Post-Marxism, ‘Post- or Past-?: Does Post-Marxism Have Any Future?’.

Deadlines and Publishing Process Please submit abstracts of proposed papers by September 30th 2010. We encourage the submission of panel proposals, which should be accompanied by abstracts of the proposed papers.

 We will evaluate the abstracts and circulate a list of accepted papers and panels by October 4th 2010. Authors whose abstracts have been accepted must submit their papers in full by December 1st 2010. Papers will be circulated to participants prior to the conference. Selected papers will be independently peer-reviewed for inclusion in the special issue of Global Discourse due out in February 2011. We welcome replies to these papers, developed through discussion at the conference or otherwise, which we shall publish alongside the full articles subject to moderation. We aim to publish a collected edition in print based on these papers.

Please submit all abstracts, papers and panel proposals to the editors at editor@global-discourse.com.

Topics Possible topics for papers include: – What does it mean to be Marxist? – Marxism and conceptualising the political subject: from orthodox Marxism to Post-Marxism – Education: hegemony, emancipation and mental labour – Science, meta-ethics and normativity – Gender, sexuality and identity politics – The state in global capitalism: ‘withering’, transcendence and expansion – Marxism and culture – Technology – Non-Western societies and imperialism – Latin American social and political movements – Free markets, free labour and industrial relations

Please contact us well in advance of September 1st should you require clarification as to the appropriateness of your chosen topic or wish to convene a panel.

Costs: There will be no conference fee. A lunch buffet and refreshments will be provided free of charge. An optional evening conference meal on Saturday 29th of January will be held at a nearby restaurant. We will seek to organise a special rate for the meal and will circulate details in due course. Participants shall bear the cost of their meal.

Places: There will be space for 40 paper-givers and 20 non-paper-giving participants.

Should you wish to attend without giving a paper, please express interest to the editors at the address below. We shall confirm all participant places by 4th October 2010.

Please address all queries and submit all papers and expressions of interest to Matthew Johnson and Mark Edward at editor@global-discourse.com. With best wishes, Matthew Johnson.

Speculative Heresy have posted a collection of 13 papers/articles from Graham Harman. One of the key thinkers in the emergent speculative realism paradigm. This collection looks an exciting read and I look forward to understanding Harman’s Object-Oriented philosophy.

The papers/articles can be accessed from here.

thanks to Accursed Share for informing me about this interesting virtual symposium scheduled 5th-8th for Antoine Bousquet’s ‘The Scientific Way of Warfare’

People participating in the virtual symposium are:

Featured contributors include:
Kenneth Anderson – Law (American University)
Josef Ansorge – International Relations (Cambridge University)
John Matthew Barlow – History (Concordia University)
Antoine Bousquet – Politics & Sociology (Birkbeck College)
Martin Coward – International Relations (University of Sussex)
Armando Geller – Conflict Analysis (Manchester Metropolitan University)
James Gibson – Sociology (California State University, Long Beach)
Derek Gregory – Geography (University of British Columbia)
Craig Hayden –International Communications (American University)
Charles Jones –International Relations (Cambridge University)
Jason Ralph – Politics and International Studies (University of Leeds)
Julian Reid – War Studies (King’s College London)
Martin Senn – Political Science (University College London)
Marc Tyrrell – Anthropology (Carleton University)
Tony Waters – Sociology (California State University, Chico)