review

Reframing finance: From cultures of fictitious capital to de-regulating financial markets

Financialization – the leverage and promotion of anything to be turned into a tradable product – and its cultures are what Haiven addresses in his book Cultures of Financialization: Fictitious Capital in Popular Culture and Everyday Life. Like many authors before him, he indicates that financialization is not only reduced to the transformation of currencies, goods, loans, etc. into tradable financial products such as swaps and futures, but that culture itself is under transformation and is being turned into an object of financial capitalism.

Seeing organization ‘slant’

The power of poetry and of poetic writing is that it plays with language in ways that subvert meaning, convey affect, enable embodiment and passion, and jolt and discomfort our perceptions of the world. To paraphrase the words of Emily Dickinson, through poetry we can see all the world but see it slant as it shifts our perspectives and we consider new understandings.

Redemption between politics and ontology: Agamben on the coming politics

There is a prevailing view of the thought of Giorgio Agamben that reads him as a decidedly pessimistic thinker, and a modern day Cassandra, or even a philosopher who is channelling Chicken Little, telling all and sundry that the sky is collapsing and the modern world is on an inexorable path to destruction. This prevailing view has held sway for much of the past decade and a half, but it is, slowly, and thankfully, being challenged by a new wave of scholarship. This ‘negative’ reading of Agamben was not without apparent justification.

Information, cybernetics and the second industrial revolution

(HB, pp. 336, $54.95, ISBN 9781421416719)

The ‘rough beast’ that is the REF

(HB, pp. 128, £45.00, ISBN: 9781473906563)

This important book should be read, and reflected on, by academics, academic managers, university managers, HEFCE, and those parts of Government that are responsible for creating the ‘rough beast’ (Yeats, 1994[1921]) that the research assessment exercise (RAE) has become.

The one and the many: how threshold phenomena breach subject boundaries

(PB, pp. 209+xxv, £28.99, ISBN 9781446266854)

Total bureaucratisation, neo-liberalism, and Weberian oligarchy

David Graeber’s book on rules and bureaucracy examines the topic from a refreshing standpoint. Much management literature, since at least Bennis (1965), has made the claim that bureaucracy and competitive markets and/or change are somehow incompatible. The world needs to be post-bureaucratic ­­– ‘bureaucracy must die’ (Hamel, 2014), organizations must be more entrepreneurial (Drucker, 1984). These are the refrains we hear – if we are to survive and grow, creativity must be unleashed from the shackles of bureaucracy.

Academe under siege and the atrophy of today's universities

(HB, pp xi + 146, £45.00, ISBN 978-1-4739-0778-2)

[T]he marketization of knowledge is one of the world’s greatest threats to democracy. [33]

The working unwell

‘Be well’. This is what you hear now at the checkout counter at Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in America. Employees offer this valediction as they hand over the receipt, and it comes across as eerily sincere. In fact, the phrase was so effective at rattling me out of my consumerist stupor that I said it back – ‘Be well as well’ – but it didn’t quite come out the same way. It sounded mangled, faux-British, and for some strange reason I raised my voice at the end, turning it into a question. I left feeling confused.

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