World Development today is a contested concept, and one that provokes debate across the board. Culture Wars is bringing together reviews of books and the arts, to engage with everything from globalisation to slum cities, from consumerism to international aid.
Questions dealt with throughout these reviews include: following massive economic growth from China and India, are we seeing a new distribution of power on the world stage? How should we respond to the perceived costs of development such as global warming and the erosion of communities? And what are the best models for growth?
The real and true menace is not Communism, nor the new government, but the Future, and it the Future which has its thundering cannons pointed firmly against the sentimental bourgeoisie.
The sheer vitality of Žižek’s thought usually serves to ensure that his work is an enjoyable read. In First as Tragedy, Then As Farce this effect is amplified by the urgency of his topic and the passion with which he approaches it. It’s perhaps inevitable though that this urgency does not translate easily into prescriptive politics and this is the one aspect of the book’s thesis which disappoints.
Can Willetts afford himself the luxury of reticence? This book is not just about a supposed inter-generational conflict. It’s really about the state of the nation. This topic should not invite despair, but nor should it simply breed good - but insubstantial – intentions.
A 1988 essay entitled ‘The University and the Leadership Factor in Nigerian Politics’ perhaps surprisingly offers a message directly applicable to the current moment in British politics. ‘Leadership is a sacred trust, like the priesthood in civilised, humane religions’, Achebe writes. His writings should be on a list of required reading for all those thinking of taking up office; perhaps then we might end up with a political class ready to treat the electorate with the respect it is due.
An introduction to Muslim Cinema allows Muslims to take a critical reflection about their own beliefs and culture, as well as providing a window for those who are of other faiths to see who Muslims are. Where does one start?
Boris Johnson has used his powers to galvanise the anti-high-rise sentiment into an object of policy. So far, he has gotten away with this unchallenged. But it is incumbent on us, those who welcome the prospect of transforming London’s skyline into an exciting scene that represents the city’s dynamism, to publicly challenge this short-sighted and un-ambitious policy.
It would appear that pathos and disappointment define a strong contemporary current, with fewer options projecting and inspiring us forwards. It seems that that the scope of our future orientation is constrained. We’re not just nervous about setting ambitious goals. The attempt to do so is understood as seen as arrogant. Such audaciousness will see us repeating past mistakes
At the time of independence, the idea of diversity was about the right to free and open political, linguistic, cultural and religious expression. What stands in its place today is a politics of representation that has made diversity itself a political right rather than a cultural fact.
Contrary to Rand’s image of heroic capitalists as beacons of integrity and thrusting enterprise, the capitalist class has shown itself in recent years to be every bit as snivelling and mendacious as the worst of the collectivist villains in Rand’s fiction. Who’s been raking in all that bailout money, after all?
I wondered: is it really true that the Chinese will eat any part of just about anything that moves? How did they turn out this way? How can two neighbouring Asian countries have such divergent approaches to what they consider food?
The construction of the Shell Building on the South Bank of the Thames, near Waterloo, caught Auerbach’s imagination. ‘Shell Building Site from the Thames’ (1959) shows a cable being lowered by a crane into the deep excavation that was carried out for this building. As the cable drops against a background of bright, light clay it’s difficult to stave off an attack of vertigo.
Meredith blasts away the stereotypes with cold fact and blunt candour in this magisterial yet concise history in order to demonstrate how what followed in the years after independence was in many ways disastrous for most of Africa’s nascent states.
Reaction to the film has been divided on its portrayal of the Nigerian gangsters who feed off the misery of the alien refugees. Much of the blame lies at the door of what superficially makes the film most interesting: its allegorical treatment of apartheid politics. And yes, the film does come down on the side that apartheid was bad, while at the same time portraying Nigerian characters as dehumanised and barbarous savages. Is this hypocritical, anti-human or deliberate?
Shot in a documentary style with hand-held cameras that give it a visceral immediacy, and with truly fantastic special effects, it avoids the didacticism of other overtly ‘political’ films of recent years, preferring the traditional science fiction technique of exploring the real world through allegory.
One wishes the Civitas team well: it makes a compelling case. But it has a mountain to climb in attempting to rejuvenate - or, rather, resurrect - British manufacturing policy. Effecting change will not be easy, especially when it comes to the determined slaying of disparate sacred cows like equality legislation, laissez-faire, protectionism, and the all-must-have- prizes attitude which results in education lacking intellectual rigour