Category: Politics and economics

Politics and economics

Knowing our left from our right, Part Two: the states-versus-markets red herring

Yesterday, I started this series of posts by saying that, while anything other than overtly racist right-wing parties and movements are described merely as ‘centrist’ or ‘right-wing’, in the UK anything to the left of New Labour is described by the media as ‘hard’, ‘far’, or ‘extreme’ left. I then set out to argue that…

Knowing our left from our right: social justice, human freedom, and utopian realism

What does it mean to be ‘left’ or ‘right wing’ today? Does it even matter? There seems to be a lot of basic confusion out there coupled with a lot of instinctive contempt and fear for what is understood as left-wing politics. The media is central to the production of this contempt and fear. They…

Working tax credits: the real questions, some real answers

What is ‘hegemonic power’? One central element of hegemonic power is the power to make the root (systemic) causes of our problems invisible and largely unspeakable and unthinkable. Instead, all our debates are over ways to remedy or improve the symptoms of the disease (or even why the painful symptoms are good for us) rather…

Oxford Democracy-Builders: Reading/Viewing/Listening materials on austerity

Hi there, Ahead of our fourth (provisionally named) ‘Oxford Democracy-Builders’ meeting to discuss austerity, here is a list of materials for learning about the debate. I’ve tried to bring a wide range of perspectives into the conversation here. You can download the list in a LibreOffice document here… Don’t panic!! It’s intentionally long and full…

A Statement of Belief and Intent – What’s the point of Oxford Democracy-Builders?

A number of people have, quite naturally, asked me to tell them my objectives for starting the Oxford Democracy-Builders (ODB) group. My responses have been hesitant and unclear primarily because, as I emphasise, it’s for the group itself to define its own form and objectives. However, after some reflection, I am able to offer a…

The Pint’s Half-Full! On knowledge, freedom, and unravelling hegemony, Part Two: Unravelling Hegemony

From the psychology of pint-buying to a political theory of hegemony In the previous post, my curious discovery that I couldn’t say with certainty why I acted the way I did regarding buying drinks in pubs led me to question the nature and limits of knowledge and how that relates to our freedom. I suggested…

Deconstructing and (Re?)constructing Democracy Part Two

Post Two: The wider power inequalities undermining democratic politics in the UK This is the second of a three-part blog about deconstructing and (re?)constructing democracy in the UK. In my previous post, I set out to deconstruct UK democracy by showing just how undemocratic our political system. I tried to show how undemocratic our electoral…

Audioboom of session on housing with Prof Danny Dorling and My Life My Choice

Dear all, Just a quick one. I run a political economy (power & money!) learning group alongside my friend Luisa with the wonderful people at My Life My Choice (MLMC). MLMC is a self-advocacy organisation run for and by people with learning disabilities. A really inspiring group! We’ve been working together over the past couple…

Deconstructing and (re?)constructing democracy

So, it’s election time again here in the UK; that solitary period every half-decade during which this country’s political elite has to actually somewhat engage directly with ordinary people and we, for our part, are asked to actually participate directly in the political process. Though it must be noted that many individual MPs do work…