Sevilla Streets: Fifty Shades of Grey  © Eduardo A. Ponce | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia & PublicsSex & Gender

Libidinal Ecology: Sex and the Anthropocene (I)

In 2013, reports starting circulating in the media that the global best-seller 50 Shades of Grey was beginning to outstay its welcome as a cultural artifact. In the UK alone, it sold 5.3 million copies to that point, even before the film based on the story was released. A large percentage of these books ended up in charity stores. Unfortunately, these stores could not resell the books, nor pulp them safely. As the Telegraph newspaper reported at the time: “the country has amassed a ‘paper mountain’ of unwanted copies . . . 

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Danger sign © Mary Crandall | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysThe Left

On the Heilbroner Center’s Manifesto

Explanation and Critique

In our opinion, the document drafted by Julia Ott and Will Milberg for the new Robert L. Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies should be the beginning of a debate among NSSR faculty about the Center’s mission rather than a final manifesto. There are many claims in the document with which we wholeheartedly agree: the pressing necessity to return to discussing and analyzing large structures, long processes, and big questions; the idea that capitalism must be a central object of study and concern; the interpretation of capitalism as a social process; the identification of various power relations as critical determinants of economic outcomes; and the acknowledgment that economic theories operate as political ideologies. Further, we agree with Ott and Milberg that capitalism “should not be assumed.” However, we think that it should not be only “explained,” as the present document suggests, but also, by the same token, criticized. Critique, indeed, is a constitutive part of the explanation of social phenomena and processes, and explaining capitalism without criticizing it does amount to assuming it. …

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