David Graeber’s 2011 book, Debt: The first 5000 years, has received a great deal of attention in academic, activist, and popular media venues (see Hann, 2012; Kear, 2011; Luban, 2012; Meaney, 2011).* Graeber himself has been credited as instigator and theorist of the Occupy movement (Meaney, 2011); and one of the central goals of Graeber’s book – a crossover book intended for a broad readership – is clearly to support detachment from the sense of moral obligation too many people feel to p
Of all the uses to which the work of Slavoj Žižek has been put in recent years, Ole Bjerg’s new book on poker and its relationship to capitalism is, to my mind, one of the most interesting and productive. While Žižek is familiar fare in film and new media studies, literature and cultural studies, Bjerg brings Žižek’s (1991) re-reading of Lacan’s concepts of the real, the symbolic and the imaginary to the analysis of a simple game which, as players know, turns out to be exceedingly rich and complex.
Daniel Miller is Professor in Material Culture at the Department of Anthropology, University of Central London. Since the mid-1980s he has been a central figure in discussions and debates around consumption.
Following the banking crisis of 2008, which hit the Irish economy particularly hard, the Irish government created an organisation to ‘warehouse’ some of the country’s more troubled building developments – primarily in Dublin. The National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) became the dumping ground for Ireland’s large pool of urban toxic debt. This took the concrete form of a series of buildings in various states of completion and/or disrepair to be ‘managed’ by the state.
The great German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Hegel’s prefatory note to his 1816 Lectures on the History of Philosophy inquisitively gestured towards the methodological and practical difficulties inherent to the task of historicizing philosophy:
How should we begin to treat a subject, the name of which is certainly mentioned often enough, but of whose nature we as yet know nothing? (Hegel, 1892a)
When I started this book review of The SAGE Handbook of Leadership, I asked myself a question we often ask of texts in our field: what is useful about this book for scholars? This seems a benign question. So benign, particularly given that this is a highly useful handbook, that for quite some time I didn’t think I had much to say in this review.
Analyses of the crises, instability and precariousness of the entire capitalist enterprise are presented in two new works: The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism by David Harvey and Living in the End Times by Slavoj Žižek. Both texts provide eschatological treatises of financial collapse and ecological catastrophe while both, in their idiosyncratic styles, are as terrifying as they are comprehensive in terms of portraying the seriousness and violence in which we find ourselves.
The painter is standing a little back from his canvas. He is glancing at his model; perhaps he is considering whether to add some finishing touch, though it is also possible that the first stroke has not yet been made. (Foucault, 1989: 3)