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Revolution

REVOLUTIONARY VOICES: MARXISM, COMMUNICATION, AND SOCIAL CHANGE

National Communication Association (NCA) Preconvention Seminar
“Revolutionary Voices: Marxism, Communication, and Social Change”
10:30 am-5:00 PM, Wednesday, November 16th.
New Orleans, LA

In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and the subsequent worldwide retreat of the communist and socialist Left, the very concept of “revolution” was deemed by many theorists to be outdated and passé. Liberal, poststructuralist and conservative intellectuals jointly proclaimed Marxist project -with its emphasis on class struggle, anti-imperialism and a totalizing critique of capitalism– no longer relevant to an understanding of our “postmodern” world. Today, with the popular uprisings associated with the “Arab Spring” roiling dictatorships in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen and with the global capitalist economy just barely emerging from the throes of its worst crisis since the Great Depression, Marxism is not so easily dismissed. The recent popularity of thinkers like Giovanni Arrighi, Alain Badiou, Antonio Negri, David Harvey and Slavoj Zizek suggests a renewal of scholarly interest in Marxist and post-Marxist theory. The fact that Karl Marx himself was featured on the cover of the February 2, 2009 TIME Magazine suggests that this revival of interest is not confined to the academy.

This pre-convention conference aims to explore the continued relevance of Marxism and Marxist theoretical concepts (i.e. ideology, hegemony, class, dialectics, reification, commodification ) to the study of communication, focusing on communication’s instrumental role in maintaining, perpetuating and contesting capitalism’s structures of domination. Unlike other theoretical orientations within the social sciences and the humanities, Marxism has long insisted that theory be informed by and inform social and political praxis. Thus, one special emphasis of our discussions will be on the way that Marxist work in field of communication can help to advance and clarify current struggles for progressive social change in the US and around the world. Moreover, at a time when even the mainstream corporate press speaks openly of the revolutionary currents spreading across North Africa and the Middle East, we will devote special attention to the concept of “revolution” and the way that it can refine and enhance our understanding of communication, political conflict and social change.

We hope that by bringing together a critical mass of scholars whose work is informed by Marxist theory, our seminar will “make a difference” both in our discipline and in the larger fight for social justice. Ultimately, we plan to publish an edited volume or a special issue of an academic journal as a way of bringing the scholarship produced by seminar participants to an even larger audience.

This mini-conference builds on a series of NCA panels, pre-conference seminars and publications about Marxism and communication that began with a well-attended panel at the 2003 NCA convention in Miami. Last year’s mini-conference “Bridging Theory and Practice” drew dozens of participants to a series of three inter-related panels at the national conference in San Francisco. The year before that, in Chicago, our panel “The 2009 Crisis of Neoliberalism: Marxist Scholars on Rhetorics of Stability and Change,” drew a standing-room-only crowd. And in 2006, three of the co-organizers of this seminar (Artz, Cloud and Macek) published an anthology — Marxism and Communication Studies: The Point is to Change It (Peter Lang)-composed almost entirely of conference papers delivered at our NCA panels and seminars. This seems to us an opportune moment for yet another pre-convention seminar and yet another publication devoted to this topic.

The organizers invite potential participants to submit complete papers or extended abstracts (350-500 words) relevant to the subject of Marxism, communication and social change for inclusion in this pre-convention seminar. Work in political economy of the media, cultural studies, rhetoric, critical theory, social movement studies and political communication is especially welcome. Send your submissions along with complete contact information (mailing address, e-mail and phone #) to both Steve Macek (at shmacek@noctrl.edu) and Dana Cloud (at dcloud@mail.utexas.edu) no later than August 8th, 2011.

Steve Macek
Associate Professor
Speech Communication
Program Coordinator, Urban and Suburban Studies
North Central College
30 N. Brainard
Naperville, IL 60540-4690
Phone: 630-637-5369
Fax: 630-637-5140
Webpage: http://shmacek.faculty.noctrl.edu/

Out now from U of MN Press:
Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right, and the Moral Panic over the City. Winner of the 2006 Urban Communication Foundation Publication Award.
ISBN: ISBN 0-8166-4361-X
http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/M/macek_urban.html

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Bonuses for Some

THE RADICAL/FAR LEFT IN CONTEMPORARY WESTERN EUROPE

Political Studies Association
Labour Movements Group Workshop

Queen Mary College, London
School of Economics and Finance Seminar Room
Thursday 26 May 2011

Programme

10.45 Welcome and introduction
John Kelly, Birkbeck College, London

11.00 Radical Left Parties in Contemporary Europe
Luke March, University of Edinburgh
Chair/Discussant: John Callaghan, University of Salford

12.00 The Southern European Far Left
Myrto Tsakatika, University of Glasgow
Chair/Discussant: tbc

1.00pm Lunch

2.00 The Radical Left in Germany: Die Linke
Dan Hough, University of Sussex
Chair/Discussant: tbc

3.00 The European Party of the Left
Richard Dunphy, University of Dundee
Chair/Discussant: Mark Wickham-Jones, University of Bristol

4.00 General discussion

4.30 Closing remarks

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David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

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