Category: Culture

Shattering the Spectacle

I‘m recently back from a two-day workshop for social scientists in Edinburgh. On day one, I gave a talk with the title of ‘Emancipatory Social Science: from monological to dialogical communication’. I spoke about French philosopher Guy Debord who, in 1967, wrote a book called ‘Society of the Spectacle’. Debord argued that we now live…

The ‘FIMO’ Phenomenon

Serendipity in plasticine I was at my friend and neighbour’s house one afternoon after school recently. I have three kids, she has four. It was lively. They were all playing with this nice plasticine called ‘Fimo’. I’d never heard of it, but apparently it’s what the Aardman people use to create Shaun the Sheep and…

Comic Relief is a bad joke; Make charity history!

There are many institutions in our culture and society that, for me, highlight the depth of our dysfunctionality and despair. Such institutions express the shocking degree to which a social system of artificially-created human misery has been so successfully naturalised that its universality and ubiquity has been rendered invisible. They also reveal how we are,…

On middle-class foodyism

This is a post about a stereotype – the stereotype of the middle-class foodie: the organic, fair trade, quinoa-munching, camomile-sipping, bread-making, home-brewing, veg patch-loving middle-class foodie. But, it’s also about much more than this figure of ridicule. It’s about a wider and deeper cynicism towards anyone who seeks to take a principled, ethical stance in…

Denouncing the false god of Work

Before you read this blog, I’m going to ask you to take about five minutes to watch a short video and read a short newspaper opinion piece. First, check out this brief video. It’s called ‘Max’s Story’ and it featured in a big publicity campaign throughout Singapore earlier this year called ‘The Best of You’…