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James Baldwin’s Pragmatist Aesthetics

This essay establishes a philosophical connection between James Baldwin and the philosopher William James by investigating how the pragmatist protocol against “vicious intellectualism” offers Baldwin a key resource for thinking through how anti-black racism might be dismantled. While Richard Wright had earlier denounced pragmatism for privileging experience over knowledge, and thereby offering the black subject no means for redressing America’s constitutive hierarchies, uncovering the current of Jamesian thought that runs through Baldwin’s essays brings into view his attempt to move beyond epistemology as the primary framework for inaugurating a future unburdened by the problem of the color line. Although Baldwin indicts contemporaneous arrangements of knowledge for producing the most dehumanizing forms of racism, he does not simply attempt to rewrite the enervating meanings to which black subjects are given. Articulating a pragmatist sensibility at various stages of his career, Baldwin repeatedly suggests that the imagining and creation of a better world is predicated upon rethinking the normative value accorded to knowledge in the practice of politics. The provocative challenge that Baldwin issues for his reader is to cease the well-established privileging of knowledge, and to instead stage the struggle for freedom within an aesthetic, rather than epistemological, paradigm.

James Baldwin Review

4 Mediated politics, promotional culture and the idea of ‘propaganda’ PRELIMINARY NOTE As earlier chapters have indicated, ‘propaganda’ is a term used regularly in political and public discussion of the media, but one that has a less marked and more intermittent usage as a term of theory and analysis in media research. One notable exception to this is in that work using the ‘propaganda model’ as outlined by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky over twenty years ago (Herman and Chomsky, 1988), in which the general relations between the political system and the media

in Theorising Media

be the forerunner of a number of films which adopted the narrative and visual conventions of the policier in order to examine suspect political scandals or social abuses. This typical 1970s genre was soon christened by its detractors the série-Z , by analogy with série-B , ‘B-movies’. The obviously unflattering connotations of the term reflect the fact that, at the same time as a number of imitators, Z sparked a lively polemic among the critical press, which continued to rage around the subsequent exponents of the genre. 1

in French cinema in the 1970s
The articulation of ideology andmelodrama in Czechoslovak communist television serials, 1975–89

6 Between politics and soap: The articulation of ideology and melodrama in Czechoslovak communist television serials, 1975–891 Irena Carpentier Reifová, Petr Bednařík and Šimon Dominik During the period of Czechoslovak normalisation2 (1969–89), an important centre of everyday life was the private living room. As David Morley claims, home territories are far from being innocent, neutral spaces isolated from social and political processes (Morley, 2000). The family living room, decorated with floral curtains, plush coverings and wavering bluish light from an old

in Popular television in authoritarian Europe
Espionage as a public service in Spooks (BBC 1, 2002–11)

6 The precinct is political: espionage as a public service in Spooks (BBC 1, 2002–11) Although the 1990s proved something of a moribund period for the British television spy series, following the turn of the ­mil­lennium the BBC would experience great success with Spooks (BBC 1, 2002–11), an ongoing espionage-themed drama developed as a new flagship programme for its majority interest channel BBC 1. This series centred on the officers of Section D, a fictional counter-terror unit situated within the real British Security Service (MI5). Spooks made its debut in

in Paranoid visions

Readers may well have extrapolated from Malle’s contribution to the events of May ’68 and his films of the 1970s and 1980s that the director, despite his social origins, was broadly speaking from the left-wing of the political spectrum. In fact, Malle is a far more politically fluid film-maker than his later work implies. As Malle was to himself admit, he once held complex cultural affinities with

in Louis Malle
First Signs, Speech Day, The Gamekeeper, Tom Kite, The Price of Coal

2 The politics of hope in 1970s Britain First Signs, Speech Day, The Gamekeeper, Tom Kite, The Price of Coal In this chapter, we focus on a period of extremely fruitful aesthetic production for Hines, in terms of the novels and screenplays that followed A Kestrel for a Knave. During the 1970s, Hines’s political energies were directed towards considering the institutions and structures of life at a time of active struggle for workers’ rights. Thus industrial action is apparent in First Signs (1972) on the part of its increasingly radicalised protagonist, who is

in Barry Hines

history plus the often dysfunctional relation between the state and the people makes what he calls the Algerian problem ‘la limite extrême de tous les problèmes sociaux et politiques’ [the extreme example of all social and political problems] (Bourdieu 1997 : 21). Bourdieu identifies key issues in the recent history of Algeria as originating in the after-effects of colonialism and the war of liberation against the French (1954

in Algerian national cinema
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1 Introduction Our political world is in constant motion. Our lives are continually shifting. Collective communicative structures which have held us together in various forms of communal life are relentlessly being challenged by new languages. Practices that have bound human beings together for thousands of years are transformed, gain new meaning and receive renewed significance. This book is a study of one such practice, dance. The book intervenes in critical conjunctures in political theory, bringing together new reflections on the moving body, spaces of

in Dance and politics
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99 6 Dancing human rights We have seen that ever since Isadora Duncan entered the stage of political dance, various instances of sic-​sensuous have been performed on the stage of the argument by bodies contracting into themselves and releasing to other bodies, moving and being moved. Those bodies affirm their equality to other bodies –​whether the dancing bodies they intervene against, or bodies inhabiting other worlds that deem them unequal. From Martha Graham’s audiences who are uninvited spectators to the gumboot dancers in South Africa and the flash mob

in Dance and politics