Entries Tagged as 'bibliography'
4 November 2009 · 8.25 pm · by Rachel · 1 Comment
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York: Zone Books, 1994.
Probably the best-known work produced by the Situationist International, Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle was very influential on a number of the other writers I’m looking at, including Marcus, Klein, and Dery. The Society of the Spectacle is a very complex and sometimes internally contradictory text, so I’m still puzzling through a lot of his ideas, but what I understand so far seems to relate to ideas of Frankfurt School, as well as Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism.
Debord writes, “The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.” “The spectacle” is, at least on one level, Debord’s attempt to describe and critique the conditions of a society dominated by mass media and advertising. The alienation that results from capitalist production is compounded by the passivity of media consumption, creating a culture of isolated media “spectators” rather than engaged participants. The “screen” of the spectacle imposes false consciousness through “social hallucination,” resulting in a condition of “generalized autism.” One path of resistance to “spectacular separation” lies in reclaiming urban systems as a “mobile space of play.” (referencing the Situationist practice of derive, which Debord describes in more detail elsewhere.) Ultimately, transcendence of the spectacle is only possible through practices of “negation,” which Debord frames as a resumption of revolutionary class struggle. The “style of negation” is a way of enacting critical theories of art, language and society. Key here is the use of detournement, a practice of borrowing and recontextualizing existing works to undermine their ideological power. (“Plagiarism is necessary.”)
Dery, Mark. “Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs.” Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, 1993. Online edition: Shovelware, 2004. < http://www.markdery.com/archives/books/culture_jamming/#000005#more>
Mark Dery, the journalist who popularized the term “culture jamming” in the 90s, echoes many of the ideas expressed in Debord’s Society of the Spectacle in response to the TV-saturated Regan Era in America. Like Debord, Dery argues that the proliferation of passive spectatorship through corporate-controlled media leads to profound alienation. Dery’s essay is an attempt to answer the question, “What shape does an engaged politics assume in an empire of signs?” In response, Dery cites Umberto Eco’s notion of “semiological guerilla warfare,” which he recasts as “culture jamming.” The term “cultural jamming” was first used by the collage band Negativland to describe billboard alteration and other forms of media sabotage. Dery applies it more broadly to many forms of media subversion, locating the practice of “culture jamming” in a continuum that includes Situationist detournement, artistic cut-up techiniques, media piracy and subcultural bricolage. He describes culture jammers as “Groucho Marxists” with a playful approach to political engagement.
While culture jamming doesn’t explicitly relate to the legacy of punk, it might be an interesting point of comparison as another post-Situationist form of aesthetic protest that takes place at the intersection of art, politics, commerce and media subversion.
Klein, Naomi. No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. New York: Picador USA, 2000.
Published shortly after the Seattle WTO conference protests in 1999, Naomi Klein’s No Logo quickly became one of the most influential books about the anti-globalization movement. Klein states that the title is “an attempt to capture an anticorporate attitude I see emerging among many young activists. This book is hinged on a simple hypothesis: that as more people discover the brand-name secrets of the global logo web, their outrage will fuel the next big political movement, a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations, particularly those with very high name-brand recognitions.”
Klein looks as the proliferation of branding and advertising in contemporary culture, and the ways in which it triggers dissent and resistance, particularly through symbolic attacks on the corporate image. Many of the ideas in Klein’s book, particularly her focus on practices of “culture jamming” or “subvertising” (as defined by Dery) draw on Situationist theory.
Marcus, Greil. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.
Alongside Dick Hebdige’s Subculture, Lipstick Traces is often referred to as a key critical text on punk. Marcus takes an apparently ephemeral pop culture item, the Sex Pistols’ hit single “Anarchy in the U.K.,” and positions it as a continuation of the rhetorical legacy of 20th century avant-garde art movements. According to Marcus, the song matters precisely because it emerges from the mundane sphere of pop music:
“The Sex Pistols made a breach in the pop milieu, in the screen of received cultural assumptions governing what one expected to hear and how one expected to respond. Because received cultural assumptions are hegemonic propositions about the way the world is supposed to work—ideological constructs perceived and experienced as natural facts—the breach in the pop milieu opened into the realm of everyday life.” (3)
The song served as a radical “negation” of the values of everyday life: “Damning God and the state, work and leisure, home and family, sex and play, the audience and itself, the music briefly made it possible to experience all those things as if they were not natural facts but ideological constructs: things that had been bade and therefore could be altered, or done away with altogether.” (6) Marcus links “Anarchy in the U.K.” with the social critique voiced by the Lettrist International and Situationist International in the 60s, whose own intellectual roots lay in turn with “surrealists of the 1920s, the Dadaists who made their names during and just after the First World War, the young Karl Marx, Saint-Just, various medieval heretics, and the Knights of the Round Table.” The sensational media attention the group received, as well as the fact that their career was ostensibly orchestrated as a “scam” by Malcom McLaren, both complicate and underscore their value in the “secret history” of the 20th century.
Nehring, Neil. “The Situationist International in American Hardcore Punk, 1982-2002.” Popular Music and Society. Vol. 29, No. 5, December 2006: pp. 519-530.
While critical discourse on the influence of the theories of the Situationist International on punk has largely focused on the Sex Pistols circa 1977, Nehring attempts to extend the discussion into the 1980s and beyond. The SI’s posthumous, unlikely popularization through Malcom McLaren’s involvement in the British punk scene continues to influence latterday punks. According to Nehring, “Some of the strongest living practices with at least some basis in the work of the SI can be found in American hardcore punk since the 1980s.” The influence of the SI and other progressive political movements were immediately felt by British bands of the 1980s, including Crass and Gang of Four (whose album Entertainment! Nehring calls “the only truly Situationist album in history”). Meanwhile, “Situationism” became a recurring point of reference for American hardcore bands of the 80s and 90s, including the Feederz, Unwound, the Panthers, and Dillinger Four. “Decidedly colloquial and vague by academic standards, the punk derivations from the SI are typically a matter of rejecting consumerism and the mass media,” Nehring writes. However, recognizing the continued influence of the SI helps to cement punk’s role as a vital if underappreciated form of activist music.
Savage, John. England’s Dreaming: Anarchy, Sex Pistols, Punk Rock and Beyond. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991.
Savage historically situates the Sex Pistols phenomenon within the sociopolitical conditions of England in the 70s and the development of the punk scene in England and America. Of particular interest here are early chapters on Malcom McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s roles in developing the punk aesthetic, especially McLaren’s interest (and marginal involvement) in Situationist groups.
Thompson, Stacy. Punk Productions: Unfinished Business. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2004.
In contrast to the primarily aesthetic analyses of punk done by critics like Marcus and Hebdige, Thompson proposes to examine punk not as a kind of semiotics of identity, but rather as a set of material practices: “I advance a materialist investigation of punk economics and punk aesthetics, in order to formulate some of the ways in which punk both resists and is resisted by capitalism, a term that is largely absent from the work of most critics of punk.” (2) Looking at seven major punk “scenes” since the mid-70s and the texts that comprise the “punk project” (music, style, zines, cinema, and events), Thompson explores the fundamental contradiction between the aesthetics and economics of punk. Citing Marx in the German Ideology, Thompson raises two “big questions” about punk as a site of resistance to capitalism: “Can the commodity form be taken up and used against capitalism? Can all aesthetics be commodified?” (3)
Thompson draws on a variety of Marxist cultural theorists (Williams, Jameson and Benjamin, among others), and I think his arguments here will be key to understanding the development of punk since the 70s. It will also be an interesting parallel to Marcus’ and Hebdige’s theories of punk. At one point Thompson specifically criticizes what he calls Marcus’ “transhistorical” reading of punk.
2 November 2009 · 3.02 pm · by Rose · 2 Comments
Bronner, Simon. American Folkore Studies: An Intellectual History. Kansas: University
Press of Kansas, 1986.
The final chapter is called “Folklore in an Era of Communication.” Bronner discusses
the ways in which our current technology affects which folktales survive and how these
have changed. His focus is on how the approaches to scholarship of folklore changed,
which is useful to me because I gain scope in terms of how stories have been interpreted.
This will provide context for the Marxist reading in which stories reflect the dominant
ideas of the ruling class. This chapter will also be particularly useful in that it is
taking the institutions that result from capitalism (progress in communication) and looking
at how this institution affects our storytelling. This is relevant to my attempt to study
a cinematic story.
Ellwood, Robert. “A Japanese Mythic Trickster Figure: Susa-no-o.” Mythical Trickster
Figures: Contours, Contexts, and Criticisms. Eds. William Hynes and William
Doty. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1997. 141-158.
Ellwood discusses the two chracterizations of the Japanese trickster figure, Susa-no-o.
On the one hand, the character is a disruptive outsider, but on the other hand, he is
“a benefactor of humankind” and as such represents a “fertility figure, slayer of monsters,
thief of light…the archaic sacred king” (142). The tension between these two is the basis
of the essay, which is relevant to Beatrix Kiddo’s character in Kill Bill. She is painted
as an outsider, and her trickster status is open for discussion, but she is certainly a
“fertility figure” and a “slayer of monsters.”
Greverus, Ina-Maria. “Clothing: Necessity, Prinzip Hoffnung, or Trojan Horse?”
Folklore on Two Continents. Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980. 250-259.
Greverus discusses the implications of clothing, originally placing clothes as the
indicator of Adam and Eve’s “Fall.” She notes that fashion is seen as an aspect of
capitalist society, and that the implications of clothing go beyond the needs they
meet and instead acts as a symbol. This can be a subversive symbol or one of status.
In Kill Bill, over-the-top costumes (such as the heroine’s yellow jumpsuit) play an
important role in the aesthetic of the film, and this essay will be useful in considering
the possible readings of this costume.
Hyde, Lewis. Trickster Makes This World. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998.
Hyde analyzes the many uses of the “trickster” figure in mythology and folklore.
He considers how the stories told highlight certain essential qualities of this figure,
namely, its ability to exist outside of the normal society, to confound polarity, to “lie,”
to overcome appetite, and to “poach” the habits of other creatures. This text is useful as
a model of analysis in terms of uncovering how a story reflects what is important to a culture
and a people. The trickster figure is also present in certain ways in the characters in Kill
Bill, many of whom are existing on the periphery of the dominant culture and surviving by
Krappe, Alexander. The Science of Folklore. New York: Norton & Co., 1930, 1964.
Krappe considers folklore as an attempt “to reconstruct a spiritual history of Man,
not as exemplified by the outstanding work of poets and thinkers, but as represented by
the more or less inarticulate voices of the ‘folk’” (xv). This work includes a chapter
on each of various types of stories: the fairy tale, merry tale, animal tale, local legend,
migratory legend, prose sage, proverb, folk-song, popular ballad, charms/rhymes/riddles,
superstition, plant lore, animal lore, custom/ritual, magic, and folk-lore/myth/religion.
Problematic in this text is the assumption of a Darwinian (or at least very hierarchical)
development of societies. Also considers that “in the city proper…the typical proletarian
is the most traditionless creature imaginable” (xviii).
Kvideland, Reimund. “Stories about Death as a Part of Children’s Socialization.”
Folklore on Two Continents. Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980. 59-65.
Kvideland’s essay discusses the ways children see death: before age five, it is a
separation, from age five to age nine it is personified, and after age ten it is definite
and unavoidable. Next, the essay addresses how death is manifested in various children’s
stories, and how these presentations affect the way a child might interpret death. This issue
is relevant both internally to the Kill Bill story—there are various children characters who
experience death of a loved one or cause death of another creature—and also to the film as a
story itself, which children and young people will consume.
Luthi, Max. “Imitation and Anticipation in Folktales.” Folklore on Two Continents.
Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl. Bloomington, IN: Trickster Press, 1980.
Luthi discusses the use of imitation and anticipation: the repetition of similar events,
the generally unsuccessful imitation of other characters which generally ends in disaster.
He discusses these devices in their effect on the teller and the listener and also their
implications for how life is lived and how children develop. This is relevant to Kill Bill
because of the recurring theme of learning from and imitating the various “master” characters.
Ozaki, Yukio. Warriors of Old Japan and Other Stories. Boston and New York:
Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909.
A retelling of various Japanese folktales. I will analyze these since part of Kill Bill takes
place in Japan, and I suspect that many of the characters are influenced by Japanese figures.
Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat: the Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. Studio
City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 2005.
Snyder considers cinematic stories as falling into certain categories, including the
“golden fleece” story in which a character is in search of something, and the “dude with
a problem” story in which a character must solve something. The relationship between these
“genres” (really story-types rather than genres in the traditional sense) bear an interesting
relationship to types of parables and folktales, and this theory of cinema can act as a bridge
between Kill Bill and folklore theory.
Stone, Kay. “Fairy Tales for Adults: Walt Disney’s Americanization of the Marchen.”
Folklore on Two Continents. Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl.
Bloomington: Trickster Press, 1980. 40-47.
Stone emphasizes the fact that though Disney cartoons are considered to be for children, in
fact, they are designed to appeal to a wide audience. Furthermore, the characters are
changed in fairly drastic ways from the original tales (for example, Snow White is a teenager
rather than a 7-year-old, and she is not afraid of the dwarves (42)).
Virtanen, Leea. “Contemporary Responses to Legends and Memorates.” Folklore on
Two Continents. Eds. Nikolai Burlakoff and Carl Lindahl. Bloomington, IN:
Trickster Press, 1980. 65-70.
Virtanen examines how people respond to stories about supernatural or fantastical events.
Her conclusions are that there are a particular set of psychological responses, ranging from
a trivialization in the form of an explanation, to a recognition of possible credibility,
which was found to depend on the person’s experience with the phenomenon in question. This
essay can shed light on how audiences interpret and classify the supernatural aspects of Kill Bill.
von Franz, Marie-Louise. The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised Edition. Boston:
Shambhala Publications, 1970, 1996.
von Franz analyzes fairy tales within a Jungian framework, basing her readings off of the
assumption that the characters represent archetypes rather than normal human egos. von Franz
believes that all fairy tales “endeavor to describe one…psychic fact…what Jung calls the Self,
which is the psychic totality of an individual and also, paradoxically, the regulating center of
the collective unconscious” (7). She takes fairy tales as indicators of the psyche. Furthermore,
the assumption of archetypical characters is an expression of the idea that humans are born with
certain qualities. Her method consists of examining the time/place, characters, problem, and
conclusion of the stories (39-40).
von Franz, Marie-Louise. The Feminine in Fairy Tales. Revised Eddition. Boston:
Shambhala Publications, 1972, 1993Discusses the ways in which women are presented in fairy
tales. Fairy tales are taken as stories about ordinary people (as opposed to myths, which are
about gods). She discusses “the anima—that is, man’s femininity,” which is relevant given that
the heroine of Kill Bill was created by Tarantino, a male. Fairy tales are generally both about
the anima and the real woman, depending on the telling.
2 November 2009 · 10.20 am · by zap245 · 1 Comment
- This article focuses on how independent YouTube actually is from the powers that be. Dijck takes into consideration the presentation of YouTube as reclamation of independence by the majority, overthrowing the minority, and compares this to the reality of what YouTube is. Namely, Dijck talks about the fact that YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006, and the use of YouTube as an advertising device. How much power is the majority really claiming from the minority when they use YouTube?
- This article looks at the relationship between the internet (new media in general) and environmental protests. Most notably, they look at the change in power dynamics now that environmental protestors are trying to be acknowledged by new media sources, instead of working with traditional news media (television news, and new papers). They focus a lot on the question on whether this new media has really changed anything, and provided environmental protestors with more power than they previously had, or is the new media simply the newest wave of the minority controlling how things are represented.
- Young focuses on the importance of debate for the electoral process and how, using news and new media, had better informed voters during the 2008 election and hence sent encouraged more people to vote.
- Meehan, Eileen R. and Ellen Riordan, eds. Sex & Money: Feminism and Political Economy in the Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002. Print.
- As the name implies, this book is about the connection between money, women and media, specifically in the media of industrialized countries. The book looks at the convergence of these three things, and also takes into consideration the level of power the government has over these representations.
- Panagopoulos, Costas , ed. Politicking Online: The Transformation of Election Campaign Communications. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009. Print.
- Panagopoulos looks at the use of internet in political campaigns. He uses past campaigns as case studies to argue about the strength of the Internet over the campaign, and to look into why candidates are using the internet. He touches on a wide variety of ways of using the internet, and on different candidates and elections.
- Niedzviecki, Hal. The Peep Diaries: How we’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and our Neighbors. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2009. Print.
- This book is about “oversharing” using the internet. Niedzviecki looks at how the changing way in which we share information is affecting our notions of privacy and humanity, and how we are slowly changing our core values to suit this new “peep culture.”
- Ludlow, Peter, ed. Crypto anarchy, cyberstates, and pirate utopias. Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 2001. Print.
- Ludlow focuses on the creation of independent nations, separate from reality, on the internet. He goes on to focus on the differences between the real world and these cyberstates, and the laws that govern these cyberspace societies.
2 November 2009 · 8.58 am · by qwertyuiop · 1 Comment
Allwood, R. (1996) ‘I Have Depression, Don’t I? Discourses of Help and Self-help Books’, in E. Burnman (ed.) Psychology Discourse Practices. London: Taylor & Francis.
This text examines the way in which depression is presented and dealt with in five popular self-help books. Though I’m reading self-help books on my own to get a sense of their arguments Allwood’s work will be useful a useful resource in generalizing the perceptions of depression and methods of self-help advocated by self-help books.
Hazelden, R. (2003) ‘Love Yourself: The Relationship of the Self with Itself in Popular Self-help Texts’, Journal of Sociology 39: 413–28.
This text will be useful in exploring a foucauldian explanation of the relationship between liberal government and self help culture. I will use it to explore how self-help books are a tool to promote capitalistic values.
Leontev, A. N. Activity, Consciousness, and Personality, Prentice Hall, 1978
This article will be useful in examining the assumptions underlying modern psychology and provides a Marxist critique of an understanding of psychology which does not assume that humans minds are grounded in and shaped by real-life experiences and activity. Thus I can use it to criticize self-help arguments which ignore or downplay real situations and focus instead on the idea that a person simply doesn’t have the right attitude to life, or is conceptualizing the world incorrectly.
McGee, M. (2005) Self-help, Inc.: Makeover Culture in American Life. New York: Oxford University Press.
This book explores how self-help career books, are a result of the the increasing insecurity of people as a result of advanced capitalism. I will use this to examine the results of advanced capitalism on the individual and look in particular for her comments about depression.
Philip, Brigid Analysing the politics of self-help books on depression. Journal of Sociology 2009; 45; 151
This article will be useful in examining how the use of psychology invades the private sphere, normalizing subjective experiences. It also highlights how self-help books fit into a larger ideological idea of understanding depression as an inhibitor to being a productive member of a capitalistic notion, and how they reinforce values that benefit the capitalistic system.
Politzer, Georges, Critique of the Foundations of Psychology. Duqesne University Press, 1994.
This text (written roughly 60 years before Leontev’s essay) will provide additional Marxist-inspired criticism of the modern conception of depression and psychology which is presented in self-help books.
Rose, N. (2003) ‘Neurochemical Selves’, Society November/December: 46–59. This paper describes the limitations of consequences of biomedical explanations of depression. I will use it to criticize the way this methods of understanding depression (which is utilized in self-help books) fails to account for actual social problems and scarily creates a normalized “neurochemical self.”
2 November 2009 · 8.45 am · by calvin · 1 Comment
Hardin, G. (1968). Tragedy of the Commons. Science, 162, 1243-1248.
This is the seminal essay on the topic I strive to discuss in my essay. Hardin is the first to address many of these issues, and although there are a handful of criticisms of this essay, it remains one of the most important in the field. Hardin outlines the social/economical/ecological issues that bring about the over exploitation of common land. His major point throughout the essay is that common land, for example a field used by multiple cow herders, can be ruined by the lack of communal thinking and slight “selfishness” of a few individuals.
Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Ostrom, Elinor, Cambridge University Press, 1990
Elinor Ostrom is a legendary political economist with a major focus on management of common land. She actually just won the Nobel Prize in Economic Studies in 2009 and was the first woman to do so. In this piece Ostrom coins the term “common pool resources” to describe resources shared by different groups which are generally over exploited in the self interest of each single group. The two major solutions here are privatization or control by central government. Ostrom proposes an alternative method of control by cooperative institutions run by the user groups themselves.
Ostrom, Elinor, Gardner, Roy and James Walker, ed. Rules, Games, and Common Pool Resources. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 1993.
In this book, Ostrom and friends expand upon the previously proposed ideas behind Ostrom’s common pool resources. The authors here utilize game theory in order to make predictions about the user groups of common pool resources. In this sense the book has more of a scientific angle to it than any of the other books in my bibliography, which I think will add a nice alternative aspect to my evidence throughout the paper.
Benton, Ted, ed. The Greening of Marxism. New York: Guilford, 1996
This book is a compilation of essays, many of which are possibilities for my paper, but the specific one I’m thinking of using is Marxism and the Environmental Question from the Critical Theory of Production to an Environmental Rationality for Sustainable Development by Enrique Leff. I will use this essay, along with a few of the other prospective pieces in this book to bring in Marxist ideas to my essay. Leff proposes that, ” Marxism in fact offers the theoretical basis needed to demystify the dominant neoliberal discourse and to clarify the current conflict between the conditions of sustainable capitalism (based on the expansion of investment, production, markets, and profits) and those of ecological and environmental sustainability.”
Lessig, Lawrence. The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York: Vintage Books, 2001.
This book provides a different angle from which to discuss ideas of the commons. Rather than a physical thing, Lessig uses the internet as a model for the commons, and shared knowledge as a metaphor for environmental resources. I don’t plan on discussing the internet directly in my paper, rather, I will use Lessig’s theoretical ideas on common resources and connect them with the above authors’ ideas on environmental resources.
Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick. The German Ideology. (1845-46) Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976.
In this piece, Marx and Engels touch on a multitude of important aspects regarding everything from conservationism to the privatization of land. As the earliest piece I will use out of my sources, this seminal essay set the standard for what would later come. The aspect of this essay I find most important to my piece is the break down of the effects, and the history of privatization of property.
Latour, Bruno and Weibel, Peter ed. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. Boston: MIT press, 2005.
This book is a collection of meditations on democracy by a group of different writers from different back grounds. This book will serve to beef up my abstract ideas about commons as well as ideas of privatization as well as making resources public. Although not aligning itself directly with many Marxist ideals, the book proposes radically new ways of looking at democracy, and at the role of politics in a republic. These ideas will add a fresh perspective to some of the dryer methods of Marxism.
2 November 2009 · 2.14 am · by erin · 1 Comment
Chan, Ricky Y.K., and Lorett B.Y. Lau. “Antecedents of Green Purchases: A survey in China.” Journal of Consumer Marketing 17.4 (2000): 338-357.
This study examines the green product purchasing behaviors of people in China, specifically as influenced by Chinese cultural values and “ecological concern” (“ecological concern” is defined as consisting of three components: the amount of environmental knowledge a person has, how emotionally affecting environmental issues are to that person, and the degree of intention a person has to act in an environmentally-friendly way). The study found that despite being emotionally affected by environmental problems and having intentions to buy green products, people lacked knowledge about the environment and made few green purchases (351). This study is useful to me because it tries to empirically map the relationship between cultural values, emotion, intention, knowledge, and green product consumption. It is particularly valuable in that it demonstrates the discrepancy that can exist between concern for the environment (personal and cultural) and level of green purchases made.
Johnston, Josee. “The Citizen-Consumer Hybrid: Ideological tensions and the case of Whole Foods Market.” Theory and Society 37.3 (2008): 229-270.
This article explores the theoretical contradictions in the now pervasive construct of the “citizen-consumer” and tries to tie this theory to the specific case of Whole Foods Market (pretty awesome, as this is what we are supposed to do in our papers!). Johnston is particularly concerned with the possibility of a balanced consumer-citizen: is it possible for a consumer to satisfy both their personal needs/desires and larger social/environmental obligations? This article is especially useful because of the focus it places on discourse (helpful as I want to examine green products from the standpoint of the narratives we construct about our consumption). Through an examination of the “ethical consumer discourse” of Whole Foods Market, Johnston argues that the citizen-consumer is actually more consumer than citizen, paying “relatively superficial attention to citizenship goals in order to better serve three key elements of consumerist ideology” (262). Johnston goes onto say that both the citizen-consumer model and green consumerism in general serve as a temporary fix, allowing people to maintain capitalism consumption in light of greater social and environmental awareness. This article provides theoretical support to Szasz’s basic argument (see below), and will be key to my own argument. Now the only question is, what will my essay add to this?
Micheletti, Michele, and Dietlind Stolle. “Mobilizing Consumers to Take Responsibility for Global Social Justice.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 611.1 (2007): 157-175.
This is an article that seems like it will be less than helpful. I had originally thought that it would be useful as it focuses on ethical consumerism, but does so from the perspective of the anti-sweatshop movement (thus perhaps giving greater insight into whether or not all forms of ethical consumerism are problematic in capitalism, or just environmentally-minded ethical consumerism). This article’s conclusions about different forms of consumer engagement and different strategies for recruiting consumers proved less applicable than I had hoped. One for the recycle bin.
Moisander, Johanna, and Sinikka Pesonen. “Narratives of Sustainable Ways of Living: Constructing the self and the other as a green consumer.” Management Decision 40.4 (2002): 329-342.
This article looks at descriptions of green consumerism as they relate to subject formation. Moisander and Pesonen argue that green consumerism is a form of resistance, capable of creating new subjectivities. I was drawn to this article because of its emphasis on representation and narrative, and find it even more important because of the way it complicates my idea of green consumption. It stresses the difference between mainstream conceptions of green consumerism and more radical, personal self-conceptions of green consumerism, finding the possibility for resistance in these self-narratives. This article will help me think through the ways people construct narratives about themselves through their green product consumption and the resistive (and not-so-resistive) potential of these narratives.
Nelson, Michelle R., Mark A. Rademacher, and Hye-Jin Paek. “Downshifting Consumer = Upshifting Citizen? An Examination of a Local Freecycle Economy.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 611.1 (2007): 141-156.
This article is intriguing to me as it focuses on the consequences of an alternative form of consumption (“downshifting”) that occurs within capitalism/consumer culture, but I’m not sure how helpful this article will be for my paper. Though motivations for downshifting are often environmental, this study looks more at the implications of this alternative form of consumption (specifically participation in a freecycle online community) for civic engagement, highlighting community engagement over environmental concerns. This article is useful to a certain degree because it presents another (and potentially more effective) mode of environmentally-conscious consumption than the purchasing of green products (which I am currently trying to argue is not as beneficial as we’d like to believe). I’d need to do more research, however, if I decided to include downshifting within my paper. One other way this article may be useful: one section of this article argues that in the US, shopping is considered patriotic, an interesting claim in light of our recent discussion of nationalism. I’m considering attempting to incorporate the connections between consumption, environmentalism, and nationalism in my paper, and this study provides some basic information which may prove useful.
Prothero, Andrea, and James A. Fitchett. “Greening Capitalism: Opportunities for a Green Commodity.” Journal of Macromarketing 20.1 (2000): 46-55.
This article is useful in that it poses a counter-argument to my own, claiming that environmentalism and capitalism do not have to be fundamentally opposed. Instead, it is only current discourse that represents the two as such. As we can never get beyond capitalism (all of our language originates from within it) we must use the revolutionary capabilities already present in our system to bring about change – and this is what we are doing when we use “commodity discourse” to promote environmentalism. I am intrigued by this concept of revolution emerging from within capitalism, but find a huge problem in this argument in that it calls on us to commodify the idea that less consumption is desirable – a task that seems impossible and contradictory to me. This article will be helpful in defining the limitations of an argument for green consumerism, and is also very useful in its presentation of (post-Marxist) theory.
Szasz, Andrew. Shopping Our Way to Safety: How we changed from protecting the environment to protecting ourselves. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007.
In this book, Szasz makes the argument that current acts of environmental consumption follow a philosophy of “inverted quarantine” whereby consumers are motivated by the urge to self-protect instead of a desire to create vast social/environmental change. Though he does look at specific threats to the human body in the environment (toxins, etc) and specific products marketed to protect against these threats (bottled water, organic food, “green”cleaning products”), I believe the argument made in his last chapters will be most useful to me. In these final chapters, he argues that inverted quarantine is dangerous because it creates “political anesthesia,” convincing people that they have somehow solved the environmental crisis and are no longer responsible for promoting greater systemic change. Szasz’s argument will be central to my argument about the powerful, complacency-inducing narrative of green consumption. His text, however, fails to fully address the positive implications of green consumerism – a topic I need to further explore in my own paper.
1 November 2009 · 9.16 pm · by william · 1 Comment
Bishop, Jack. “Building International Empires of Sound: Concentrations of Power and Property in the ‘Global’ Music Market.” Popular Music and Society 28.4 (Oct 2005): 443-71. Online Resource.
This source offers a comprehensive look at the big four music recording corporations have responded to the digital age of music. It looks at how copyright law has continually expanded and the detrimental effect this has upon local cultures. The “Big Four” have continually influenced laws in this country, as well as the laws of developing nations in order to “preserve corporate hegemonic control over the music of the world” (444). I like this article because of its in depth look at the four corporations and how they exercise control over creativity. Although Bishop does not offer a solution to this problem, his article is very interesting in what it identifies to be the problem of copyright in the United States and the world.
Demers, Joanna. Steal this music: How intellectual property law affects musical creativity. Athens : University of Georgia Press, 2006.
Demers’s work deals with how copyright law changed with the advent of sampling, wherein music of other artists was “duplicated” instead of simply “alluded to”. This duplication lead to new laws in which sampling without consent (that must be bought) became illegal, laws that greatly increased copyright litigation and to some extent hurt the creativity of the artists. Her conclusion, unlike that of McLeod or Vaidhyanathan, is not simply that copyright law has hurt the creativity of artists, but that it has changed the face of music: “To argue for a consistent, predictable correspondence between IP law and musical creativity, however, would be unwise, if not impossible. After all, the relationship is dynamic, and the circumstances of particular musicians can vary widely” (10). In her book, she interviews a variety of musicians, which will be very interesting to explore.
McLeod, Kembrew. Freedom of Expression. New York: Doubleday, 2005.
This book is a follow-up to Owning Culture, and the two chapters that will be most pertinent to my paper are “Copyright Criminals”, which deals with sampling and what it means to the artists, as well as a deeper look into how the artists have responded (the hegemonic process that is music copyright law), and “Illegal Art”, which deals with how art has fought against the law, and the different forms of cultural dissent to unfair copyright litigation. McLeod is a very interesting writer, and both of his works will be of great use to me, particularly in how they explore how artists have responded to copyright law. I’m interested in exploring how electronic music artists have responded to these laws by allowing their music into the public domain, and permitting other electronic music artists to borrow freely.
McLeod, Kembrew. Owning Culture: Authorship, Ownership, and Intellectual Property Law. New York: Peter Lang Publishers, 2001.
This work deals with the extent to which intellectual property law has been expanded in our modern culture. Although borrowing has always been central to the creation of culture, increases in the power of trademarking ideas leads to the “privatization of culture and the transfer of power into the hands of wealthy individuals and corporations.” This book will be essential to my paper and my analysis of a musical culture in which borrowing is often illegal. McLeod gives a detailed account of how musical borrowing was made illegal, a narrative bound up within race and the movement of technology. He also explores how artists have responded, how music copyright is a hegemonic process.
Rosen, Ronald S. Music and Copyright. Washington : U.S. G.P.O., 2008.
This book is intended as a guide for musicians about how to avoid copyright lawsuits and how to engage in copyright lawsuits if the musicians feels that his own music is being infringed upon. I think the most useful chapter of this book is “The Basic Elements of Musical Language and Ideas: The Copyright Perspective”, which lays out how copyright has come to view music. It will be interesting to see what sorts of ideologies are implicit within this view of music (the first section is entitled “Music as Language”).
Scherzinger, Martin Rudolph. “Music, Spirit Possession and the Copyright Law: Cross-Cultural Comparisons and Strategic Speculations.” Yearbook for Traditional Music 31.1 (1999): 102-25. Online Resource.
In this article, Scherzinger explores how non-Western countries have had trouble implementing copyright laws because they hold different ideological views of the creation of art. Because art’s creation is not often attributable to one person within non-Western countries, Western copyright laws are not applicable to those countries. I haven’t yet decided the extent to which I will explore copyright in other countries, but if I do, this article will certainly be of use to me. Both Scherzinger and Bishop write about how the United States has forced its own laws about music (essentially bound up within capitalist ideologies) upon other countries. I’m not sure if I will look at copyright laws within one genre of music, or what the exact focus of my paper will be yet.
Vaidhyanathan, Siva. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity. New York: New York University Press, 2001.
This book explores similar topics to those explored in McLeod’s works; however, it focuses more on how American culture has shaped the laws that have been put in place. I’m not sure what culture I’m going to be exploring (whether it be American or a more global, musical culture), but in either case, Vaidhyanathan’s candid analysis of copyright and its effect upon creativity will be useful.
1 November 2009 · 2.10 pm · by stella44 · 1 Comment
Boorstin, Daniel J. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York: Vintage Books, 1992. Print.
Boorstin’s book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America is a very early and perhaps the first description of hyperreality and postmodernity. Boorstin describes shifts in American culture—mainly as a result of advertising—in which the reproduction or simulation of an event becomes more “real” than the event itself. Coining the term “pseudo-event”, Boorstin describes events that serve little to no purpose other than to be reproduced through forms of publicity. I will probably focus on Boorstin’s explanation of celebrities, in which he states, “a celebrity is a person who is well-known for their well-knownness”. Boorstin’s analysis will help me understand the implications of celebrities’ involvement in political and social causes.
Braudy, Leo. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame & Its History. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. Print.
Leo Braudy’s influential work The Frenzy of Renown: Fame & Its History starts with Alexander the Great and goes on to detail some of the most famous people throughout history, from Julius Caesar to Marilyn Monroe. Braudy focuses on both the celebrities and their audiences and why we are so obsessed. Braudy explores how and why certain men and women have had the ability to captivate the attention of societies from 350 BC to 2009. The Frenzy of Renown will be especially beneficial to my research because of its emphasis on politics as opposed to only looking at celebrity presence in pop culture.
Holmes, Su. Framing Celebrity: New Directions in Celebrity Culture. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Su Holmes’ Framing Celebrity: New Directions in Celebrity Culture explores the sprawling presence of celebrity culture in our everyday lives. Not only does celebrity culture shape the production and consumption of media content but also the social values through which we experience the world. Framing Celebrity is a collective work that analyzes the phenomenon of celebrity from the angles of media, culture, and politics. Holmes’ book fits in with my research because it addresses the issues of celebrity involvement in social and political spheres that I am focusing on. The section entitled “Fame Now” will be particularly informative as it concentrates on celebrity in politics.
Jackson, David J., and Thomas I. A. Darrow. “The Influence of Celebrity Endorsements on Young Adults’ Political Opinions.” The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics 10.3 (2005): 80-98. Print.
This journal article details a study performed by David Jackson and Thomas Darrow on the influence of celebrity endorsements on young adults’ political views, which is very applicable to my research. The article talks a lot about how politics and popular culture have become increasingly intertwined over the past fifteen years and what the implications of this phenomenon are. The authors admit that little scholarly research has been performed on the impact of celebrity endorsements on voter turnout; however, they provide a good summary of what has in fact been done. The conclusions presented in this article will provide me with solid evidence for my argument.
Marshall, P. David. The Celebrity Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
David Marshall’s The Celebrity Culture Reader is an 800-page compilation of works encompassing the theories, definitions, historical and current examples, and effects and implications associated with celebrity culture. From scandal to the notion of the celebrity industry, Marshall’s Reader covers essentially everything one could want to explore within the realm of celebrity culture. The broad scope of material within this one book will be incredibly useful, especially the chapters on celebrity involvement in charities and politics.
Pease, Andrew, and Paul R. Brewer. “The Oprah Factor: The Effects of a Celebrity Endorsement in a Presidential Primary Campaign.” The International Journal of Press/Politics 13.4 (2008): 386-400. Print.
Andrew Pease and Paul Brewer’s scholarly study focuses on the effects of celebrity endorsements of political candidates, specifically in a presidential primary campaign. Centering their research on talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, Pease and Brewer coin the term “Oprah effect”, indicating that when a big name with a significant amount of media exposure endorses a candidate, it is likely that people will be more willing to vote for said candidate. This study will be very helpful to my research because it will bring in actual numbers and statistics to back up my argument. It is one thing to say that celebrities influence public opinion, however, it is much more convincing to use actual studies to support the claims.
Street, John. Politics and Popular Culture. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1997. Print.
John Street’s Politics and Popular Culture focuses on the link between the political sphere and popular culture. Street argues that we must understand politics as a form of popular culture and popular culture as a form of politics. He also explores the debate over whether this relationship is a form of manipulation or just a new means of expression and communication. Street’s book will be valuable to my research because it focuses solely on the integration of popular culture, including celebrity, into politics, which coincides perfectly with the questions I am trying to answer.
1 November 2009 · 1.28 pm · by jori · 1 Comment
Dahlberg, Lincoln. “Democracy via cyberspace.” new media & society 3.2 (2001): 157-177. Web. 29 Oct 2009.
This journal article was published almost eight years ago but I think it is important in studying the future of the internet, to really understand what the internet was proposed or thought to be at the beginning stages. Dahlberg outlines two positions on the internet, that of the individual user and a more “communitarian” view. In outlining these two points of view, he argues for a third position, deliberative democracy, and the ways in which this could be incorporated into the web. This article is interesting to my paper to compare the ways people envision deliberative democracy over the web, and how those visions have or have failed to turn into realties.
Frechette, Julie. “Cyber-Democracy or Cyber-Hegemony? Exploring the Political and Economic Structures of the Internet as an Alternative Source of Information.” Library Trends: “The Commercialized Web: Challenges for Libraries and Democracy” 53.4 (2005): 555-575. Web. 30 Oct 2009.
In this journal article, Frechette argues that many people are quick to criticize government regulation of the internet but largely overlook the ways in which corporations are beginning to regulate the internet through advertising. These practices, she argues, leads to a power play between businesses and users of the internet where users are “tricked” into giving their consent to seeing ads. This article is important to my argument because in exploring trends of internet usage in developing countries, it is also important to analyze the introduction of ads into those communities and the effects that this advertising has on deterring users from taking advantage of the technology as a tool for democracy.
Lessig, Lawrence. Code Version 2.0. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Print.
This book will be particularly helpful in my discussion of cyber-democracy and the ways in which the internet is regulated now, as well as discussions on the future of internet regulation. Lessig challenges the belief that many assume thinking that the internet cannot be regulated. Many of my sources and examples of youth that have utilized social networks to get around strict governments seem to show the ability of the internet to be autonomous from government rule. Lessig shows that the structure of the internet is based on code. Therefore, the ways in which internet can be a place of freedom depend on who is controlling the code. He argues that with the surge of consumerism on the web, the internet is becoming more tightly controlled. However, this isn’t necessarily inevitable – who controls “code” is not set in stone.
Passy, Florence, and Marco Giugni. “Social Networks and Individual Perceptions: Explaining Differential Participation in Social Movements.” Sociological Forum 16.1 (2001): 123-153. Web. 28 Oct 2009.
This journal article offers an important sociological perspective that seeks to understand the how and why behind participation and action within social networks advocating for change. The authors argue that participation in social networks rely on intensity of participation as well as how embedded the network is. The article shows the progression of participants from when they join a network, are socialized in the ideas of the network, and finally their decision to be actively involved. This article talks about social networks in general, separate from the internet. I am interested in using this sociological framework and applying it to the ways that social networks, via the internet, function. I will apply these theories to see if they match up with internet participation.
Shapiro, Samantha M. “Revolution, Facebook-style.” New York Times 25 Jan. 2009: Web. 7 Oct 2009.
This newspaper article talks about how the youth in Egypt is protesting and sharing their anger of Israel’s occupation of the Gaze strip – via Facebook. In Egypt, the government has rules since 1981 that the state is under a “permanent state-of-emergency” law. Therefore, many political organizations are banned as well as gathering in groups with more than five people. Shapiro shows that Facebook has been an important tool in giving the youth and dissenters of the government a voice that they were previously denied. She also gives a history to the April 6 protests and the ways that internet technologies influenced the participation. The article concludes with an important statement central to my thesis. Many protesters are able to meet online but can rarely move this participation to the streets – What does it mean if online “democracy” cannot translate outside of internet blogs and chatrooms?
“The road to e-democracy.” Economist 16 Feb. 2008: Web. 30 Oct 2009.
This article in The Economist talks about the general arguments and positions surrounding “e-democracy.” The article cites Web 2.0, with the introduction of almost free file sharing, as a hope to promote more democracy on the web. The article argues that technology has shown to intensify the democratic process, but not fundamentally change it. It also argues that e-democracy is more incorporated in places where the middle class was previously disengaged with politics. This also alludes to another facet of e-democracy, which is that it leaves out disenfranchised communities who are not connected to the web or have very limited access. This article is helpful to my paper in laying out general arguments but is only a starting point for me to dig deeper into these issues.
Tsagarousianou, Roza, Damian Tambini, and Cathy Bryan. Cyberdemocracy: Technology, cities and civic networks. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.
This book will also aid in my discussion of cyber-democracy as well as the ways in which electronic technologies interact with forms of democracy. The book is a compilation of essays that explore case studies of technology and democracy in the United States and Europe, as well as debates around public participation in cyber technologies and the ways in which the public service uses or will use these technologies. I will use discussions of theory in this book to help me analyze my case studies of technology use in the developing world.
“Twitter revolution beats old-style media.” The Business Telegraph: Independent News and Media (Northern Ireland) 25 Jan. 2009: Web. 7 Oct 2009.
This news article from Ireland talks about how the newer social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, allow for cyber-democracy that was never present on the internet before; this is because it is hard for governments to censor the micro blogs of these social networking sites without affecting the country’s economy. Even though governments, such as Iran in this case, can shut down websites, they cannot control what people post in other countries, which allows them to serve as proxy-servers for protesters in Iran. We are such an interconnected world via the internet, that no country can isolate themselves anymore.
30 October 2009 · 8.22 pm · by Tlali · 2 Comments
- Aviles, Jaime. Marcos y la insurreccion Zapatista, La “revolucion virtual” de un pueblo oprimido. Mexico, D.F.: Editorial Grijalbo, 1998.
In this book, Jaime Aviles provides an overview of the importance the use of the internet has had to the EZLN movement. Aviles explains that one of the key weapons to the Zapatistas has been the ability to mobilize an international network of supporters of their cause. For many years, Aviles explains, the indigenous people of Mexico have suffered many kinds of human rights violations, including massacres, rapes, and other atrocities. All these years, indigenous people were taught to endure such violations under the idea of their biological and cultural inferiority. Anger, resentment and hate have inhabitated their hearts and souls, but feeling powerless to a dominant (ideological) majority of mestizos, they have kept their revolutionary urges suppressed. The arrival of various socialist activists from Mexico City, with their technological expertise and their understanding of the way the system worked, enabled indigenous Maya to appeal to a broader audience for help in fighting their cause of basic human survival.
This book is written in Spanish and is only available in Mexico, yet it is a very valuable source of information to understand the “virtual revolution” which has been key to the success and protection of the Zapatistas movement. Aviles argues that without the support of a cyberg community, it is very likely that the EZLN would have been massacred by the Mexican military (under the direction of the U.S. government firms such as Chase Manhattan). Aviles also explains how Mexico has always had leftist tendencies and crushing the EZLN could ultimately lead to another civil war. He believes that having access to communication is key to the survival and spread of the Zapatista movement and ideology.
- Batalla, Guillermo Bonfil. Mexico Profundo, Reclaiming a Civilization. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
Guillermo Bonfil Batalla’s book provides a missing aspect of Mexican history, the story of its indigenous people, what he calls “una civilizacion negada” (a denied/unvalidated civilization). This illustrates the negation of a civilization which continues to exist despite the genocidal approach towards its destruction. Bonfil Batalla explains that Mexico is not a mestizo country, but rather a country whose majority continues to be rooted in Mesoamerican civilization as the culture and values reflect those practiced by its ancestors for thousands of years. Mexico Profundo includes those who speak an indigenous language, and who are living in extreme poverty today in the various states of the Mexican republic. He states that “their way of life has endured as they have resisted outside forces, appropriated and adopted as their own useful items from outside, and in turn created new and original elements of Mesoamerican civilization” (p.vi). Bonfil Batalla was a distinguished Mexican anthropologist and served as director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) until his tragic death in a car accident in July 1991.
Bonfil Batalla’s Mexico Profundo erupted into the national consciousness in 1994 during the EZLN uprising in Mexico. The strength of Mexico Profundo is most evident in the power and public support of the Zapatista uprising, as well as other forms of civil disobedience present all throughout Mexico. Bonfil Batalla has written extensively on the importance of understanding the indigenous culture and heritage of Mexican people, therefore his book is key to the understanding of the political struggle within Mexican culture.
- Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or survival, American quest for global dominance. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2003.
Hegemony or survival is a fascinating analysis of the imperialism of the U.S. today and the fast spread of unregulated capitalism through the hegemonic practices of the elite that run the world. Chomsky warns us of the eminent threat that hegemony poses to our survival today. He explains that there are basically two major world powers which hold the fate of humanity, one is the U.S. militaristic imperialism, and the other is public opinion. Chomsky provides a lenghty and well-supported/factual overview of the hegemonic practices of the U.S. during the 21st century all around the world. Furthermore, he explores the way that the U.S. has manipulated the goverments of Latin America to protect its interest and keep people subjugated. Wilsonian theories have promoted a paternalistic view of the indigenous people of the Americas which justify and even promote colonization for the development and civilization of the natives in Latin America.
This book provides a factual based context for the resistance of indigenous Maya people through the Zapatista movement. Chomsky discusses what the media in the U.S. omits to keep us ignorant of the real conditions of indigenous people and their context to maintain the power and privilege of the U.S. at the expense of the indigenous people and their land. Many conservatives have dismissed and even advocated attacks towards the Zapatistas claiming they are a threat to U.S. interests as they allegedly promote communism in Mexico. Chomsky’s book provides the evidence of the political exploitation and genocide which has been taking place among indigenous communities in Latin America. One such massacres took place in the town of Acteál in Chiapas Mexico, when 45 people, many children and pregnant women who were peacefully participating in a religious prayer and were killed by “unknown” paramilitary forces.
- Coe, Michael. The Maya. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999.
Michael Coe is considered one of the leading experts in Mayan archaeology and ancient culture. He was one of the experts who cracked the Mayan code and has been able not only to decipher ancient Maya culture, but to connect it with modern day Maya indigenous people. Coe explains the cultural perseverance of the Maya as being the result of geographical isolation. The Maya were untouched by the Spaniards as they moved into undesirable territory in the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala. Later, the Mestizo population left them alone as they were considered inferior and backwards. However, after the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed, former Mexican President, Salinas de Gortari, decided to abolish the legislation which granted ownership of land to those campesinos who worked it. This also opened the door for corporations to move in and use the land previously inhabited by Maya indigenous people for crop farming. The Maya would then serve as a source of cheap labor. Coe argues that this has exposed indigenous Maya to western culture, diseases, and exploitation for which the Maya are not able to survive.
In his book, Michael Coe refers to them as the enduring Maya and wonders how a culture which has lasted for thousands of years will respond to the pressures of globalization and hegemony of the west. Coe’s work inspired me to research this fascinating culture which I had been taught was long dead. Many people visit the Mayan ruins in Mexico and are told that the ancient Maya were a very advance civilization, yet fail to recognize the merits of their descendants who carry a wealth of knowlegde about their ancestors and the environment they live in today.
- Collier, George. Basta! Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas. New York: Food First Books, 1999.
George Collier’s book Basta! provides an in-depth study of Chiapas, Mexico. He explains the legacy of conquest and moves through a historical analysis of the revolution and its agrarian reform. He then focuses on Eastern Chiapas and the building of social movements in this region, both economic and religious responses to the oppression facing indigenous people. In the second part of the book he explores the economic aspects, including the oil and agriculture crisis, energy development, and political issues of controlling resources, production, and labor in Chiapas. He concludes the book with an overview of what he calls “the New Indigenous movement” or new Zapatistmo and the effects of global networking and Neoliberalism in Mexico.
This book takes a more general view at the complex aspect surrounding the Zapatista movement. Collier has a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Harvard and is professor emeritus from Stanford University where his focus was in agrarian politics and agrarian change in Chiapas, Mexico in the 1960s. Chomsky states that “Collier’s inquire into the roots of the Zapatista rebellion lucidly reveals their depth and intricacy…illuminating fundamental and ominous tendencies in the global socioeconomic order” Collier’s book is a must in any academic understanding of the situation in Chiapas pertaining to the EZLN.
- MARCOS, Subcomandante. «Our Word is Our Weapon.» Our Word is Our Weapon. De Seven Stories Press. New York, 2002.
This CD contains the readings of many essays and poems written by Subcomandante Marcos. In these texts, Marcos explains who the Zapatistas are and what they are fighting for. He references the conditions of indigenous people through Mexico’s history. Marcos’s poetry appeals to the well-being of humanity as a whole, by promoting the protection of the earth’s resources and the respect and preservation of indigenous people in the world.
I like this CD because it includes the emic perspective of the voice of the Zapatistas, subcommander Marcos. In it, he expresses the values and the demands the Zapatistas make for their struggle to end. I think it is interesting that their demands include what some may consider basic human rights, such as land, freedom and respect for their autonomy. I love his poetic voice and his elegant use of language though when he translates it to English, I feel it loses some of its charisma and power. Marcos thick accent makes it a bit hard to understand what he is saying.
- Marx, Karl. A contribution to the critique of political economy. Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1911.
In “A contribution to the critique of political economy” Marx explores the way that in a capitalist society (of free competition) inequalities become inevitable. Most complex societies have more social stratification, tribes and chiefdoms tend to be more egalitarian. After the industrial revolution, and with the birth of capitalism, 100,000 years of human evolutionary history was erased. The industrial revolution came to be seen as the emergency of “true humanity” and civilization and taken as the historical start point. Marx critiques the development of a capitalist system and its ideology justifying human inequality on the basis of a meritocracy. Marx also explains how the idea of land ownership gives rise to major, inevitable inequalities, and a system based on the exploitation of those who don’t own land, by those who monopolize land ownership.
Marx theory resonates with the Maya ideology which forms the basis of Zapatista culture. The Zapatistas advocate for equality and the idea that land belongs to those who work it (agrarian reform). Just like Marx, the Zapatista fight against the unregulated spread of capitalism, and believe that human equality should be granted to all individuals. I think that Marx’s theories are very much aligned with the demands of the Zapatistas and provide a great framework for understanding an alternative to the ideology which dominates the West and Neoliberalistic practices today. I plan to review more of Marx’s work to compare and contrast with the Zapatista as a counterculture.
—. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and the Communist Manifesto. New York: Prometheus Books, 1988.
—. The German Ideology. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964.
- Ramirez, Gloria Muñoz. The Fire and the Word; A hisotry of the Zapatista Movement. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2008.
In this fascinating book, Gloria Munoz Ramirez provides a rich overview of the history as well as the poetic symbolism of the EZLN. Gloria was born in Mexico City and worked as a journalist for many newspapers during the EZLN uprising, including Punto, German news agency DPA, and La Opinion (a U.S. based newspaper. In 1997 she left her family and work to live with the Zapatista communities for seven years, which gave her an insider perspective of the EZLN culture. She currently works for La Jornada a Zapatista sympathizing newspaper in Mexico and also writes for the magazine Rebeldia.
This book provides a general story of the Zapatista movement, from the moment it came out publicly in 1994, to its international impact which continues as of today. Gloria provides rich emic perspectives by incorporating interviews of indigenous Maya who struggle to survive on a daily basis. The story is composed of what Subcomandante Marcos calls “the little pieces of mirrors and crystals that make up the various moments of the Zapatistas, years of open struggle, the reflections of a history that is still being made, one which continues to inform and inspire activists and intellectuals around the globe.” This book will be a great source of information as it provides a rich insider view of the actual Zapatistas, as well as a more up-to-date analysis of the movement and its effects worldwide.
- Ross, John. Rebellion from the roots, Indian Uprising in Chiapa. Tennessee: Common Courage Press, 1995.
One of my favorite parts of the book is the first chapter titled: “?Feliz Año Nuevo, Cabrones!” This is in reference to the EZLN uprising in January 1994. John Ross is a journalist who has been reporting on the popular struggle in Mexico and Latin America for over two decades. He is considered a poet and an activist. His extensive experience and knowledge of the media and representations of liberation movements make this book a compelling read for understanding the impact of the media to the Zapatista movement. Ross explores questions like, what does the EZLN uprising mean for the U.S.? Who really killed presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosion? Who is Marcos? Will Mexico have freedom or a free market? Do elections represent a step toward democracy or the promise of further strife?
This book provides a different view on the Zapatista movement , one which includes the perspective of the media. Ross has extensive experience writing for Mexican newspapers as well as U.S. journals, including the Nation, the Village Voice and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. I think this book provides a general overview of the perception of the Zapatistas around Mexico and in the U.S. with a bit of Mexican “picardia” or cultural twist. Rebellion from the Roots was the American Book Award Winner in 1995.
- Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books, 1993.
In this book Edward Said explores the various aspects that lead to the imperialistc power of the West over the colonized continents. He explores the effects of the production of an ideology that was based on the power to narrate and reconstruct history and culture in order to promote the superiority of the colonizer. Such ideology promotes the inferiority of some races and provides justification for their inferior condition. Said explores the roles of the novels of the 19th century to strenghten the ideology of the colonizer as superior and “cultured.” He describes the continous hegemonic spread of colonizers in the West who achieved (and in term of the U.S. continue to do so) their power through the exploitation of the natives. Said points out that by 1914 “Europe held a grand total of roughly 85% of the earth as colonoies, protectorates, dependencies, dominions, and commonwealths” (p.8). When such as small minority has control of such a vast majority of oppressed, the internalization of an ideology is key to its existance.
Said’s work is very important to understanding the struggle and political dimensions that led to the uprising of indigenous people in Mexico and their dedication to the EZLN. Said explains the way that the annals of schools, missions, universities, scholarly societies, hospitals in Latin America established so-called modernizing trends, yet maintained the divide between the native and Westerner (p.223). Such divide however, was broken when University professors, in exile, joined the movement in 2001.
- West, Cornel. «The New Cultural Politics of Difference.» Ferguson, Russell. Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Cultures. New York: The MIT Press, 1990. 19-37.
Cornel West explores the “New Cultural Politics of Difference” in an essay. He states that “the new cultural politics of difference consists of creative response to the precise circumstances of our presen moment” The three bais changellend of the new cultural politics of difference include: intellectual, existential, and political. The intellectual challenge centers in the monopoly and homogenization of history, culture, and society. In this he cites Fanon and his theories on the decolonization of the Third World, as it marked the end of the Age of Europe, but the emergence of the USA as a world power. This historical analysis applies to Mexico, as it too was colonized and controlled by Spain, only to find itself “liberated” from Spanish control but exploited by what Fanon calls “the national bourgeoisie” and now the U.S.
West’s second challenge is the existential challenge, which refers to the cultural capital to thrive independently of the nation or the status quo. I believe that the EZL has the “high-quality skills require to engage in critical practices and the self-confidence, discipline and perseverance necessary for success without an undue reliance on the mainstream for approval and acceptance” (32). The mainstream approval refers to the conservative, capitalist mestizo Mexican population which has openly criticized the subversive aspect of the EZLN. Finally, West poses the question of whether or not a civilization that evolves more and more around market activity, buying and selling commodities, expand the scope of freedom and democracy. The EZLN has been critical of this unregulated abuse of resources, and the inequalities of a market system based on consumption.