My essay on "best practices," citizens as "customers," and the atrocity in Flint was published in Jacobin yesterday. Check it out here!
http://www.uniondocs.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/The-Plow-That-Broke-The-Pla.jpg Pitney Bowes--a company that does something related to the Internet, money, and bar graphs, as far as I can tell--has a new ad campaign, "Craftsmen of Commerce, that sounds like the capitalist's answer to The Plow the Broke the Plains. "These are the hands that plow...the data. These are the hands that sow the seeds...of business … Continue reading These are the hands…that do what now?
"Meritocracy” recently came in via the Suggest a Keyword link, and unlike most of the terms I examine here it is a recent coinage, with an explicit political meaning. Nevertheless, the word has long since has taken on a life of its own, which makes it a complement to the rise of "competencies," "wellness," and other means of offloading risk to … Continue reading Keywords for the Age of Austerity 25.5: Meritocracy
Keywords for the Age of Austerity is a series on the vocabulary of inequality. Certain words, as Raymond Williams wrote in his 1976 classic Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, bind together ways of seeing culture and society, shaping and reflecting the world in which they are made. Some of the words I consider here … Continue reading Keywords for the Age of Austerity 25: Competencies
This is the syllabus of a course I'm teaching this term at Wayne State. English 8001: Innovation: A Cultural History of the Contemporary Concept Tuesday 3:00-5:45, State Hall 303 (subject to change) Professor John Patrick Leary Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Office: 5057 Woodward, #10201 Office Hours: Tuesdays 12-2, or by appointment. Office hours are designated times when … Continue reading English 8001: Innovation: A Cultural History of the Contemporary Concept
Cheer Up, Dammit! In a recent report on "entrepreneurship" education at elite colleges--an "innovation arms race"--Natasha Singer in the New York Times shared a few startling examples of the the innovation cult's creative use of metaphor. One of these, "moonshot" (as in, "What's your moonshot?" a slogan used by Rice University's entrepreneurship program faculty) was particularly grating, partly … Continue reading Keywords for the Age of Austerity 24: Sullen