Digital media, tenure and cancer – podcast

This podcast (from the Annenberg School of Communication) was shared in the ECREA mailing list and I thought it was interesting. The whole issue of tenure (or the European equivalent of tenure) is not even remotely relevant to me at this stage (or so I hope), however listening to this I reminded myself what is also repeated in the Get Tenure, Not Cancer project: pages: how important it is (and how difficult it may become) to maintain personal/political interests and attachments as productivity drives in academia.

* 3620 is a podcast of and about communication scholarship, run by PhD students at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Summertime and some planning

The blog enters its postdoc phases in the new academic year and after the summertime siesta. There are a few exciting research projects that I’m going to be involved in throughout the year, so I plan to publish short posts about different but intersecting academic interests. Updates on the Storycircle project, which I joined as a research assistant in July, appear here. Apart from thinking about digital media, public engagement and expertise, I’m also going to be thinking a lot about smart grids, wearable sensors and synthetic meat, especially once my  28-month research fellowship in the EPINET project commences in January.

In preparation is at the moment my book review for the Gender, Media, Film and Cultural Studies section of the Times Higher Education (THE) Textbook guide (Issue November 2012). This means that I’ve skimmed through a few interesting books in the process – short reviews of which I’ll provide here. I may find time to write about the excellent times at Crossroads ACS in Paris, hopefully before ECREA in October. But my priority is to post my bit about Lilith’s Brood, Octavia Butler‘s science fiction trilogy that I enjoyed reading over the summer vacation (Wikipedia provides the further reading list, which I haven’t checked but pasted below) – and possibly a bit about the Windup GirlContinue reading “Summertime and some planning”

Alex Galloway ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’

On the 16th of May I attended the workshop ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’, organised by the Digital and Social Media Research Theme at the University of Sussex. Guest speaker Alexander R. Galloway (New York University) proposed a way of thinking about the history of information and the emergence of computational systems which is interesting. Here is the abstract disseminated before the workshop:

“In an essay from 2001, the French collective Tiqqun speaks of what they call the cybernetic hypothesis: “[A]t the end of the twentieth century the image of steering, that is to say management, has become the primary metaphor to describe not only politics but all of human activity as well.” The cybernetic hypothesis is a vast experiment beginning in the overdeveloped nations after World War II and eventually spreading to swallow the planet in an impervious logic of administration and interconnectivity. What are the origins of the cybernetic hypothesis, and what are its futures? This talk offers a media archeology of cybernetics through an exploration of nineteenth-century chronophotography, the history of the pixel, developments in computer modeling, bit arrays and grid systems, and that most enigmatic cybernetic device, the black box. Instead of contributing to the many heroic histories of cybernetics that already populate the cultural imagination, this talk aims to uncover
an alternative history of digital systems via an examination of the aesthetics and politics of control”. Continue reading “Alex Galloway ‘In the Aftermath of the Cybernetic Hypothesis’”

ecofeminist political economy – notes 1: Mary Mellor

Mary Mellor

School of Arts and Social Sciences Northumbria University – Sustainable Cities Research Institute

‘Mary Mellor argues that ecofeminism has a major contribution to make to understanding the current destructive relationship between humanity and nonhuman nature. She describes her work as ecofeminist political economy, which sees women’s work and lives as standing at the intersection of destructive economies and the natural world. Her concern is with women’s position at the boundaries of economic systems. Ecofeminist political economy sees the externalisation and exploitation of women and nature as linked. For women, their marginalisation from what is identified as ‘the economy’ is not accidental. While women are present in the economy in large numbers as consumers and employees, their lives as women is excluded. That is, the particular experience of being a woman in a gendered society. Central to this is women’s work. Women’s work is the work that has historically been associated with women, both inside and outside of the market place. Women’s work is the basic work that makes other forms of activity possible. It secures the human body and the community. If a woman enters formal economic life she must leave her woman-life behind; childcare, domestic work, responsibility for elderly relatives, subsistence work, community activities. Economic life is therefore limited and partial in relationship to women’s lives.

Green economics, Mary Mellor argues, can be strengthened by an understanding of ecofeminist political economy. Exploring the gendering of economic systems can provide new ways to think about economic systems and develop alternatives. The role of gender in the construction of economic systems means that ‘the economy’ does not relate to the totality of human active labour and natural resources, what has been described as the real economy. What the modern economy represents is a boundary around limited activities and functions in which the process of valuing and male-ness are connected. The more work is valued, the more male-dominated it becomes. The more necessary and unremitting it is, the more female-dominated it becomes. One thing ‘the economy’ does not represent is the provisioning of human society or the sustaining of the natural world. Mary Mellor argues that what is needed is an alternative way to construct a provisioning economy that does not exclude women’s work or the natural world. To help construct an alternative, her recent writings have brought together ecofeminist economics, social economics and theories of money issue and circulation as the basis of a democratic, equitable and ecologically sustainable economy’.

Mellor, M. (2006) ‘Ecofeminist Political Economy’ International Journal of Green Economics 1(1-2): 139-150.

Mellor, M. (2005) ‘Ecofeminist Political Economy: Integrating Feminist Economics and Ecological Economics’ Feminist Economics 11(3): 120-126.

Mellor, M. (1997)  Feminism and Ecology Polity Press: Cambridge; New York University Press. (also published as Feminismo y ecologica Siglo Veintiuna Editores Mexico)

‘Against the trends towards radical economic liberalism, global capitalism and postmodernist pluralism, she argues that there is within the feminist and green movements the basis of a new radical movement which draws on the principles of both’, Lavoisier Librarie.

Mellor (1997) ‘Women, nature and the social construction of’economic man’ – Ecological Economics

argues that the social construction ‘economic man’ is the product of a hierarchical dualism in western society that has also created ‘rational man’ and ‘scientific man’. Women and the natural world form the subordinated half of these dualisms.

Mellor, M. (1992) Breaking The Boundaries:Towards a Feminist, Green Socialism Virago: London (also published in German, Japanese, Turkish).

Mellor, M. (2009) ‘Ecofeminist Political Economy and the Politics of Money’ in Salleh, A. (ed) Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice Pluto Press

Mellor, M. (2007) ‘Ecofeminism: Linking Gender And Ecology’  in Pretty, J. et al. (eds)  Handbook on Environment and Society London: Sage.

Mellor, M. (2006) ‘Feminism and Environmental Ethics: A materialist approach’ in Pretty, J. (ed)  Key Issues for the Twentieth Century – Environment Vol 1 Sage.