Being trashed: the gendered politics of academic play

  I’ve been thinking quite a lot about play recently, particularly whether play can help us reimagine and refashion what statehood could mean within progressive polities. Typically, left engagements with the state gravitate towards critique or reform – both carry an attitude of instrumental, goal-oriented, serious action. Play, from this perspective, seems a ludicrous way […]

Who we are or what we could become? Musing on a remark of Judith Butler’s

How should queer politics respond to the attachment some people feel to a stable gender identity? This is the question Judith Butler poses in discussion with Sara Ahmed in the current issue of Sexualities. Butler asks: “If ‘queer’ means that we are generally people whose gender and sexuality is ‘unfixed’ then what room is there in […]

Prefigurative talk and academic conversation

Academic discussion typically appears as clustered conversations. This post focuses on the dilemma posed by prefigurative contributions, which deliberately misread the conversation, treating it as if it were the one that ought to be taking place, even though speakers know the actual conversation is otherwise. Can prefigurative contributions, where authors engage mainly with their own interior voices, […]

Why Corbyn’s symbolic refusals matter – in a good way

After being criticised for not singing the national anthem at a war memorial event, Jeremy Corbyn has come under attack for missing his swearing-in at the Privy Council. Corbyn’s actions have proved welcome terrain for his opponents, obsessed with the new Labour leader’s comportment and choices – from how he wears his tie to whether […]

On seeking to be discovered

This is not a post about Jeremy Corbyn or about Bernie Sanders. And yet, these two men with long, seemingly modest, political careers illustrate the very modern phenomena of “being discovered”. Suddenly, today, they find themselves star-like, shining and glistening. Admirers follow them, “like” them, retweet their words, and sell their once handled, disposable coffee cups on eBay; two older […]

A Labour Party of protest or government? Bringing politics back in

A party of protest or a party of government – according to Gordon Brown these are the options, the choices at stake, suggesting they are very different things, polarities even. Those who protest don’t govern and those who govern don’t protest. But is this right? Social movement organisations, the back-bone of the protest movement, also govern […]