What is Cruel Optimism? | Lauren Berlant | Keyword
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In this episode, I try to explain what Lauren Berlant means by "cruel optimism."

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The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast
Jack Symes | Andrew Horton, Oliver Marley, Gregory Miller
Episode 92, 'The Philosopher Queens' with Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (Part II - Further Analysis and Discussion)
In Plato’s ideal state, the wisest amongst the populous would be selected to rule. These rulers, who could see beyond the shadows to glimpse the light of truth, would be trusted to make choices to the benefit of all. The gender of these leaders, said Plato, was not to matter – despite him labelling them ‘the philosopher kings’. That ideal was never realised but the conversation started by Plato and his contemporaries inspired what many think of as the birth of ‘Western Philosophy’. The central tenets being: the nature of reality, truth and knowledge, how to live the good life, and most importantly, the practice of prudence and the pursuit of justice. To the Ancient Greeks, Prudence and Justice were personified as females. The term ‘philosophy’ itself contains the Greek word ‘Sophia’ meaning wisdom – which was also personified in the female form. Thus, it is a great irony that much of the history of philosophy has focused on the achievements of men: at its lowest points using its own intellectualising to oppress women. Prudence and justice seemed only to exist for men. However, there have always been women concerning themselves with the big questions, seeing beyond the darkness and shadows that kept their societies stuck in male-centric thinking. Now more than ever, there are people dedicated to pointing the spotlight on women’s ideas, women’s lives, and women’s achievements. Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting call them, ‘the philosopher queens’. Contents Part I. Women in Philosophy Part II. Further Analysis and Discussion Links The Philosopher Queens, Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (IndieBound). The Philosopher Queens, Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (Unbound). The Philosopher Queens, Rebecca Buxton and Lisa Whiting (Amazon).
45 min
New Books in Sociology
New Books in Sociology
Marshall Poe
Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr, "What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn" (Vanderbilt UP, 2020)
Two stores sit side-by-side. One with signage overflowing with text: a full list of business services (income tax returns, notary public, a variety of insurance) on the storefront, twenty-two words in all. It provides business services (a lot of them). The other showing a single word—james—in small font in the corner of a drab, brown-colored overhanging sign. It’s a restaurant (obviously). Such a juxtaposition has become increasingly common in gentrifying neighborhoods, revealing more than just commercial offerings.  In their new book, What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn (Vanderbilt University Press, 2020), Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr examine the importance of signs and “linguistic landscapes” in shaping urban spaces as well as how we experience them. It argues that the public language of storefronts is a key component to the creation of place in Brooklyn, New York.  Using a sample of more than 2,000 storefronts and over a decade of ethnographic observation and interviews, Trinch and Snajdr chart two types of local Brooklyn retail signage: Old School, which uses many words, large lettering, and repetition to convey inclusiveness, and New School, with hallmarks of brevity, wordplay, and more exclusive meanings.  Through in-depth ethnographic analyses they reveal how gentrification and corporate redevelopment in Brooklyn are connected to public communication, literacy practices, the transformation of motherhood and gender roles, notions of historical preservation, urban planning, and systems of racial privilege. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
1 hr 3 min
New Books Network
New Books Network
Marshall Poe
Duncan McCargo, "Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand" (Cornell UP, 2020)
Anyone who has taken any interest in the politics of Thailand at all in the last two decades could not help but have noticed the part that the country’s judiciary has played in them. Whereas before the 2000s the courts had at best a peripheral role in political life there, in recent years judges have at times weighed in dramatically on high-stakes conflicts. The causes and consequences of these judicial interventions are the subjects of a new book by Duncan McCargo, Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand (Cornell University Press, 2019). McCargo sets as his task to explain who Thai judges are, how their minds work, and why they became so invested in politics from 2006 onwards. He critiques the courts in Thailand as suffering from what he calls hyperlegalism, while also offering sympathetic portraits of judges he met and observed at work. His abiding concern is with the relationship of the bench to the crown, and with how by taking a virtuous position in defence of the monarchy judges lost opportunities to contribute to a more progressive and just society. Duncan McCargo has also recently published Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party (NIAS Press, 2020), with Anyarat Chattarakul. Like this interview? If so you might also be interested in: Tyrell Haberkorn, In Plain Sight: Impunity and Human Rights in Thailand Samson Lim, Siam’s New Detectives: Visualizing Crime and Conspiracy in Modern Thailand Nick Cheesman is a Fellow in the Department of Political & Social Change, Australian National University. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel and hosts the New Books in Interpretive Political & Social Science series on the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
49 min
New Books in Political Science
New Books in Political Science
Marshall Poe
Duncan McCargo, "Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand" (Cornell UP, 2020)
Anyone who has taken any interest in the politics of Thailand at all in the last two decades could not help but have noticed the part that the country’s judiciary has played in them. Whereas before the 2000s the courts had at best a peripheral role in political life there, in recent years judges have at times weighed in dramatically on high-stakes conflicts. The causes and consequences of these judicial interventions are the subjects of a new book by Duncan McCargo, Fighting for Virtue: Justice and Politics in Thailand (Cornell University Press, 2019). McCargo sets as his task to explain who Thai judges are, how their minds work, and why they became so invested in politics from 2006 onwards. He critiques the courts in Thailand as suffering from what he calls hyperlegalism, while also offering sympathetic portraits of judges he met and observed at work. His abiding concern is with the relationship of the bench to the crown, and with how by taking a virtuous position in defence of the monarchy judges lost opportunities to contribute to a more progressive and just society. Duncan McCargo has also recently published Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party (NIAS Press, 2020), with Anyarat Chattarakul. Like this interview? If so you might also be interested in: Tyrell Haberkorn, In Plain Sight: Impunity and Human Rights in Thailand Samson Lim, Siam’s New Detectives: Visualizing Crime and Conspiracy in Modern Thailand Nick Cheesman is a Fellow in the Department of Political & Social Change, Australian National University. He co-hosts the New Books in Southeast Asian Studies channel and hosts the New Books in Interpretive Political & Social Science series on the New Books Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
49 min
New Books in Anthropology
New Books in Anthropology
Marshall Poe
Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr, "What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn" (Vanderbilt UP, 2020)
Two stores sit side-by-side. One with signage overflowing with text: a full list of business services (income tax returns, notary public, a variety of insurance) on the storefront, twenty-two words in all. It provides business services (a lot of them). The other showing a single word—james—in small font in the corner of a drab, brown-colored overhanging sign. It’s a restaurant (obviously). Such a juxtaposition has become increasingly common in gentrifying neighborhoods, revealing more than just commercial offerings.  In their new book, What the Signs Say: Language, Gentrification, and Place-Making in Brooklyn (Vanderbilt University Press, 2020), Shonna Trinch and Edward Snajdr examine the importance of signs and “linguistic landscapes” in shaping urban spaces as well as how we experience them. It argues that the public language of storefronts is a key component to the creation of place in Brooklyn, New York.  Using a sample of more than 2,000 storefronts and over a decade of ethnographic observation and interviews, Trinch and Snajdr chart two types of local Brooklyn retail signage: Old School, which uses many words, large lettering, and repetition to convey inclusiveness, and New School, with hallmarks of brevity, wordplay, and more exclusive meanings.  Through in-depth ethnographic analyses they reveal how gentrification and corporate redevelopment in Brooklyn are connected to public communication, literacy practices, the transformation of motherhood and gender roles, notions of historical preservation, urban planning, and systems of racial privilege. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm
1 hr 3 min
Social Science Bites
Social Science Bites
SAGE Publishing
Diego Gambetta on Signaling Theory
What we tell people about ourselves is not exclusively, or often not even majorly, what comes out of our mouths. A host of nonverbal messages emanate from us, many of them intentionally sent to create or reinforce a narrative for a recipient who is left trying to judge the veracity of the sum total of the information. The study of this signaling in the content of an asymmetry of information is known as ‘signalling theory.’ In this Social Science Bites podcast, Diego Gambetta, a professor of social theory at the European University Institute in Florence, discussing his research around signaling theory and the applications of his work, whether addressing courtship, organized crime of hailing a cab. “The theory,” he tessl interview Dave Edmonds, “has to do with the unobservable qualities of interest. The question is, how much scope do we have to con each other, to cheat each other. … What I would like to know about you is more than is what is apparent. The things that we are interested in are not written on our foreheads.” Signaling theory’s value, he continues, comes in “trying to establish when truth can be communicated even in conditions that are difficult, in which we expect the interests of the parties communicating to diverge, or to not completely overlap.” This gives the theory a wide range of applications, which is reflected in its own birthing. Initially formalized by economists, particularly Nobel Prize winner Michael Spence. Who used it to show how can an employer can determine if a job applicant in likely to be highly productive or not. At roughly the same time, Gambetta explains, there was a “an intuitive expression of the theory” by an animal behaviorist, Amotz Zahavi. In the social and behavioral realm where Gambetta works, signally theory shows in utility whether the parties are in conflict – hence his work examining the Italian mafia -- or cooperation – studying taxi drivers in Belfast and in New York City. “In a conflict,” Gambetta details, “I may want to persuade you that I am really, really tough. If this is true, and you believe me, then we may sort the conflict out cheaply for both of us because we don’t enter into a damaging fight.” And in cooperation, how do you accept the accuracy of someone’s representations (or convince someone of your own honest representation) that they do indeed possess the qualities they feel, or say, they have. Given the current mass trial of alleged members of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate in Italy, perhaps Gambetta’s work among the mafiosos is is most salient at the moment. “I was alerted to the importance of symbolic communication in the mafia by the way they communicated with each other, and also, on a couple of occasions, with how they communicated with a researcher, myself included. They display a subtlety in communication that surprised me. We tend to expect an organized criminal to excel at brutality and intimidation, but we can’t really expect them to be a lot subtler than we are in communicating.” He gives the example of a Canadian researcher who announced plans to research the mafia. The researcher’s car was burglarized, his dirty laundry stolen, and a few days later the laundry came back, cleaned and ironed, with a note that said, “Goodbye.” It was, Gambetta noted, “a more enthusiastic rendition of ‘I know where you live.’” “Violence,” he adds, “is known to us because it leaves a body on the ground, it attracts attention. But there is a subtlety in threatening.” And in Palermo, for instance, there is “an obsessive search for meaning” – the workaday side of the signaling theory coin. Another workaday aspect revolved around his work studying taxi drivers, who had to determine which passengers they would pick up based on the drivers’ perception of the person hailing them being a fare that was safe and trustworthy. These instant assessments can rely, however, on short-cuts that reek of racial profiling. In New York, for example, Gambetta that even Black drivers wouldn’t pick up young Black people. This essentially removes the service from that population – “the cost of proving your bona fides, that you are a real passenger despite your age and color, is too costly, is too complicated.” In addition to his professorship at the European University Institute, Gambetta is the Carlo Alberto Chair at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, and an official fellow at Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Among his books are 2016's Engineers of Jihad, Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate from 2009, and 1993's The Sicilian Mafia. The Business of Private Protection.
25 min
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