Overheard on Facebook

July 3, 2010

You know what we need? Some good empirical research on how methods of transversality and cultural production produce new subjectivities. No easy task, but without it we will continue to depend on capitalist Richard Florida models for public engagement. Capitalism can operate as more user friendly de-facto analysis when the left doesn’t provide alternative hard facts to ground their models in.

    I don’t know what transversality means either. Here’s a hint:

    An overarching argument of this book [Transversal Subjects: From Montaigne to Deleuze after Derrida] is that subjectivity can be positively defined as a manifestation of ongoing relations among affecters and enablers of transversal processes that individuals and groups can purposefully mobilize to guide and alter experiences.

      Hmm, a bit circular.

      We get slightly better help from this description of cultural production, which we’re told is “emphatically not a discipline”:

      The concept emerged in reaction against orthodox structuralist and “cultural reproduction” approaches that emphasized the automatic transmission of cultural form across the generations, as overdetermined either by deep structures of human thought or by the overarching frameworks of economy and society. Cultural Production theorists, coalescing around Pierre Bourdieu (and heavily inspired by Michel Foucault and feminist praxis) rejected both claims for the pure autonomy of “culture” or culture’s subordinate, superstructural status. Instead, they insisted that fields of literature and art and the fields of culture making more broadly are all “fields of forces” and “fields of struggle.” In Bourdieu’s terms, cultural production develops out of tensions between structure and human agency, out of ongoing struggles over “symbolic capital” and unstable definitions of social reality. Integrative historical, social and cultural analysis must thus pay particular attention to processes of labor and the active (and contested) making of meaning at all levels of the social formation.

        Here’s a book about cultural production.

        Finally, I hadn’t read Richard Florida’s piece in The Atlantic, “How the Crash Will Reshape America.” Now that I have, I take the FB author’s point to be that Florida wants/expects us to tinker with capitalism in ways that allow it to operate more efficiently, which would preserve and strengthen the ruling class instead of promoting a new social order. E.g., policies that favor renting over owning homes are great and all, but communal living would be something else entirely.

        Here’s what seems to be a feed of Florida’s writings.

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