capitalism

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.

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.

Rethinking organizational hierarchy, management, and the nature of work with Peter Drucker and Colin Ward

Philosophical anarchism is a defensible position in theory. The only trouble with it is it never works. (Drucker, 2010: 40)

We have to build networks instead of pyramids. (Ward, 2008: 33)

submission deadline  
31 Dec 2014

Issue Editors: Tero Karppi, Anu Laukkanen, Mona Mannevuo, Mari Pajala, Tanja Sihvonen

This special issue aims at describing and understanding the regime of ‘affective capitalism’. In cultural theory, affect is a useful concept for analysing how something stimulates our body and mind. Affect makes us act, exceeding or preceding rationality. In our daily lives we are constantly affected by a plethora of things: our work, our friends, our surroundings, our technologies (Gregg and Seigworth, 2010). Unsurprisingly, perhaps, we are seeing attempts to capture affect in different fields of contemporary culture, from labour to social networks to politics. In these contexts, affect and affection are extensively organized, produced and maintained for the needs of capitalism. Affective capitalism is lucrative, tempting and even devious. The notion of affect dovetails with operations of power (Kenny, Muhr and Olaison, 2011). It merges with established therapeutic discourses and blurs the limits of intimacy at work... more

Theorizing debt for social change

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 luck and leverage'

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.

23 May 2013 to 24 May 2013

 

Business as usual can no longer proceed without networked media. The work of organization is incessantly enmeshed with media systems and the grammar of code. Digital data has become the new empirical ground upon which reality is verified and acted upon. The governance of data is now a key managerial function in the organization of workplace operations. Think of the algorithmic trade in derivatives so central to banking today and a key factor in the global financial crisis,... more

Free work

Freedom and work relate to each other in peculiar ways. Sometimes, they are considered opposites, since it may be only once we get rid of work or have the luxury of a life of leisure that we can be truly free. This was Marx’s view, for whom – at least most of the time – a clear incompatibility existed between the realm of freedom and the realm of labour.

Poker phases: Draw, Stud and Hold’Em as playforms of capitalism

 ‘Poker is the laboratory of capitalism’. (McDonald, 1950: 23)

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