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Mel Bunce

one problem: the video wasn’t real. It was the creation of 34-year-old director Lars Klevberg, and it was filmed in Malta with child actors, using a set from the movie Gladiator . Klevberg said he wanted the video to start a conversation about the impact of war on children. Critics said he had gone too far: that the video created confusion and cynicism, which undermined attempts to address conflict in Syria ( Salyer, 2014 ). ‘Syrian hero boy’ was not an isolated incident. When audiences look online for information about humanitarian crises, they

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Conflict, capital and culture
Author: George Legg

In this book, George Legg provides a new interpretation of the Northern Irish Troubles. From internment to urban planning, the hunger strikes to post-conflict tourism, Legg asserts that concepts of capitalism have been consistently deployed to alleviate and exacerbate violence in the North. Through a detailed analysis of the cultural texts, Legg traces the affective energies produced by capitalism’s persistent attempt to resolve Northern Ireland’s ethnic-national divisions: a process he calls the politics of boredom. Such an approach warrants a reconceptualisation of boredom as much as cultural production. In close readings of Derek Mahon’s poetry, the photography of Willie Doherty and the female experience of incarceration, Legg argues that cultural texts can delineate a more democratic – less philosophical – conception of ennui. Critics of the Northern Irish Peace Process have begun to apprehend some of these tensions. But an analysis of the post-conflict condition cannot account for capitalism’s protracted and enervating impact in Northern Ireland. Consequently, Legg returns to the origins of the Troubles and uses influential theories of capital accumulation to examine how a politicised sense of boredom persists throughout, and after, the years of conflict. Like Left critique, Legg’s attention to the politics of boredom interrogates the depleted sense of humanity capitalism can create. What Legg’s approach proposes is as unsettling as it is radically new. By attending to Northern Ireland’s long-standing experience of ennui, this book ultimately isolates boredom as a source of optimism as well as a means of oppression.

A socio-cultural critique of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath

This book examines the phenomenon of the rise and fall of the Irish Celtic Tiger from a cultural perspective. It looks at Ireland's regression from prosperity to austerity in terms of a society as opposed to just an economy. Using literary and cultural theory, it looks at how this period was influenced by, and in its turn influenced, areas such as religion, popular culture, politics, literature, photography, gastronomy, music, theatre, poetry and film. It seeks to provide some answers as to what exactly happened to Irish society in the past few decades of boom and bust. The socio-cultural rather than the purely economic lens it uses to critique the Celtic Tiger is useful because society and culture are inevitably influenced by what happens in the economic sphere. That said, all of the measures taken in the wake of the financial crash sought to find solutions to aid the ailing economy, and the social and cultural ramifications were shamefully neglected. The aim of this book therefore is to bring the ‘Real’ of the socio-cultural consequences of the Celtic Tiger out of the darkness and to initiate a debate that is, in some respects, equally important as the numerous economic analyses of recent times. The essays analyse how culture and society are mutually-informing discourses and how this synthesis may help us to more fully understand what happened in this period, and more importantly, why it happened.

Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

Place, space and discourse
Editors: Christine Agius and Dean Keep

Identity is often regarded as something that is possessed by individuals, states, and other agents. In this edited collection, identity is explored across a range of approaches and under-explored case studies with a view to making visible its fractured, contingent, and dynamic features. The book brings together themes of belonging and exclusion, identity formation and fragmentation. It also examines how identity functions in discourse, and the effects it produces, both materially and in ideational terms. Taking in case studies from Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America, the various chapters interrogate identity through formal governing mechanisms, popular culture and place. These studies demonstrate the complex and fluid nature of identity and identity practices, as well as implications for theorising identity.

Community engagement and lifelong learning
Author: Peter Mayo

In this broad sweep, Mayo explores dominant European discourses of higher education, in the contexts of different globalisations and neoliberalism, and examines its extension to a specific region. It explores alternatives in thinking and practice including those at the grassroots, also providing a situationally grounded project of university–community engagement. Signposts for further directions for higher education lifelong learning, with a social justice purpose, are provided.

Abstract only
The psychogeography of sectarianism in Northern Irish photography
George Legg

3 Double negative: the psychogeography of sectarianism in Northern Irish photography In Northern Ireland sectarianism is typically defined by its ‘destructive patterns of relating’.1 As a mode of speech it preaches hate and division, as a physical action it produces violence and devastation. It poses a threat to social harmony and jeopardises the well-­being of a population. As such, sectarianism is little desired and greatly despised. The Good Friday Agreement, for example, ‘seeks to remove’ sectarian symbols and the divisions they serve to propagate.2 And yet

in Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom
Letter to M. Cavell about cinema (a remake)
Joshua Foa Dienstag

claim is at issue here. For what the film adds to the play at this point is exactly a kind of discursus about the legitimacy of such a viewing, and especially the legitimacy of it in photographic form. In the play, there is only a brief mention of photography when magazine photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) says in an early scene that she is “quite a pest” with her camera and

in Cinema, democracy and perfectionism
From campaign imagery to contemporary art
Julia Gallagher and V. Y. Mudimbe

examine the successes and challenges faced by local initiatives such as the Addis Foto Fest and the work of practicing visual artists. In four parts, this chapter explores the creation of images of Ethiopia from the collection of African artefacts and the images of Live Aid, to modern productions of photography and art. Collecting cultures: from ‘primitive’ artefacts to starving children From visual abstraction to sculpture to architecture, African art influenced the course of twentieth century art in Europe. Artists including

in Images of Africa
Total history and the H-Blocks in film
George Legg

(Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), p. 117. 87 ‘The producers of H3 reconstructed the prison interior in Ardmore Studios, relying on Maze Prison exteriors for authenticity. Blair made “every effort to be as authentic as possible”’ (Cahal McLaughlin, ‘Cold, Hungry, and Scared: Prison Films about the “Troubles”’, in Ireland in Focus: Film, Photography, and Popular Culture ed. by Eóin Flannery and Michael Griffin (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2009), p. 51). McQueen recounts how he built the set ‘exactly to the specifications of the actual H-­block, so there were

in Northern Ireland and the politics of boredom