Articles

Articles

Online essays and prepublication articles from Thesis Eleven Journal. You can find the final published versions here


Remembering Riaz Hassan 1937–2022

by Iván Szelényi

Riaz Hassan passed away in Melbourne on June 8, 2022 after a long illness. His is a great loss to the Australian social sciences and to the social sciences in general. Riaz was a great scholar, a wonderful colleague, a good friend and an excellent teacher. He was the mentor of a whole generation of social scientists. His death is an especially great loss to me personally.

Retrospective: Harry Redner – Pursuing Philosophy as a Vocation

by Jill Redner

For Harry, philosophy was a vocation in Weber’s sense. But pursuing this ideal in today’s technocratic multiversity can seem almost quixotic, because specialist knowledge and technical expertise are cultivated, rather than a general intellectual grasp of problems affecting humanity. Generalists still exist but are increasingly likely to find themselves dismissed as mere “intellectuals”. Harry accepted this situation with good humour: “Though my academic sins be scarlet”, he quipped recently, “let my books be read”.

Extract: The Birth of Science from the Spirit of Art

by Harry Redner

Section I. The origin of the natural sciences in music and painting.

Western achievements in the arts and sciences began with the Greeks. During the great age of Classical civilization, that of the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome, the basis was laid for all the later achievements in the development of the arts and sciences in the West…

Extract: Theorybabble

by Harry Redner

The history of Theorybabble is now well-known to everyone and is an often-told story that need not preoccupy us unduly. It arose in the hothouse atmosphere of the avant gardist intellectual circles of the Paris of the 1960s and 70s. But it only really flourished in the American elite universities of the 1980s and 90s. Since then, it has become much more widespread, though not in Paris itself, where it has more or less petered out.

Extract: West and East

by Harry Redner

We are now undergoing a historic transformation in the destiny of mankind that is in many ways as decisive as any of those in the historic past, perhaps as far back as the Neolithic Revolution. For the very first time in history mankind has come together in a global society that some have called a technological civilization.

Matthew Barker on Alfonso Lingis: ‘The bodies that touch us’

by Matthew Barker

Alfonso Lingis asks the reader in the opening paragraph of Bodies That Touch Us: “are the bodies we touch really the bodies described by phenomenology?” (p.159). His question probes the limits of the possibilities of description vis a vis the actual body described. To answer the question, Lingis wanders through selected phenomenological texts and writers, pulling attention to moments of significance. His approach is meditative rather than calculative (see Heidegger, 1966) and his overture to Maurice Merleau-Ponty is as noticeable as his silence on Emmanuel Levinas.

The Carnival is Over

by Howard Prosser

“Carnivals in History” (1981) is the only article Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie published in Thesis Eleven. The piece’s appearance, then and now, arguably says more about the journal than it does the esteemed historian. Having him appear in its early pages was a coup for the new publication. Other big names followed. And, mercifully, some lesser ones. To include his piece in the Top 40 offers a marker of the journal’s prestige as well as the persistence of critical thought among its many pages.
 

Article: Where are we home? Revisited

by Katie Terezakis

Home is a loaded idea. Call to mind the common sayings: home is where the heart is, you can never go home again, etc. The abundance of mottoes doesn’t dampen the sentiment; the idea of home remains charged with longing for a place we knew or hope to create.

If The Beatles had read Heller

by Mark Davis

It’s an evocative theme, a ‘Top 40’. A little alarmingly for some listening no doubt, Thesis Eleven was first conceived the year I was born, 1978. Growing up here in the UK during the 1980s, encountering the ‘Top 40’ meant listening to the radio (later watching TV) to learn which songs had climbed or fallen a few places in the charts depending on the music-buying public’s affections. I used to wait, enduring the songs that didn’t excite me in order to sing the songs that did.

Jack Palmer on ‘The Making and Unmaking of Strangers’

by Jack Palmer

I first read ‘The Making and Unmaking of Strangers’ where it is republished in Postmodernity and its Discontents, a collection of wide-ranging and loosely connected essays. A form typical of this stage of his work. Some of them are transcripts from lectures delivered at invited and esteemed lectures (the Manchester Annual Peace Lecture, for instance), reflecting perhaps a new-found fame and notoriety. Thesis Eleven was clearly a testing ground, it seems, a collection of the like-minded, alongside Telos, Theory, Culture & Society and The Jewish Quarterly.

John Grumley on George Márkus’s ‘Four Forms of Critical Theory’

by John Grumley

George Márkus’s Four Forms of Critical Theory was first published in Thesis Eleven no. 1 in 1980. Reading it again meant revisiting a paper that I had first read forty years ago with fresh eyes. I always thought George was a special person and a great philosopher. He supervised my PhD and became my senior colleague after I was appointed to the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. We became close friends after his retirement.  

Stuart Macintyre 1947-2021

by Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski

Stuart Macintyre died in Melbourne on 22 November 2021. He was one of the leading Australian historians of our times, an inspiring scholar, a culture builder, and endless source of generosity and enthusiasm for the work of history as well as the social sciences. A young Althusserian, all those years ago, he was a lifelong socialist and labour movement enthusiast.

Maria Markus’ ‘Lovers and Friends’: In lieu of a conversation

by Harry Blatterer

I encountered Maria’s paper on friendship for the first time as an undergraduate student, so quite some time before it was finally published in Thesis Eleven as part of a Festschrift collection in celebration of Maria’s work. I remember that first encounter vividly.

Article: My Own Private Utopia

by Peter Beilharz

Utopia has always been part of my world, ever since I started thinking about it. Was this 1968? A little after, later in high school. Utopia seemed ubiquitous; the possibilities of new worlds abundant

Article: Johann Arnason’s unanswered question by Peter Wagner

Johann Arnason’s unanswered question: To what end does one combine historical-comparative sociology with social and political philosophy?

by Peter Wagner

This article is a special prepublication of an article forthcoming in Thesis Eleven Journal

COVID-19: CODA

by Peter Beilharz and Sian Supski (Melbourne)

Covid-19 has taken over the world, taken over everything including our waking everyday lives, our dreamlives, our scholarship and future institutional funding logistics. Our friend and collaborator from Jozi, Peter Vale, provoked this special project in insisting that we must respond, call out members of our global network and others to respond to – think and write – this crisis.

Cuba: autocratic governance and pandemic juncture

by Johanna Cilano Pelaez (Mexico)

While COVID-19 has impacted all of Latin America, Cuba has faced it from its own particular situation. The state’s ability to control the main resources of the economy and regulate social behaviour – important for the implementation of mitigating measures at a pandemic juncture – goes hand in hand with the absence of a rule of law and the lack of mechanisms of participation to reduce the arbitrariness of power.

Covid Disaster in America and the World

by Craig Calhoun (Tempe, Arizona)

The disaster in America points to hard truths about Covid that matter everywhere. Covid strikes rich countries as well as poor, powerful as well as weak. Vulnerability that does not map neatly onto old divisions of developed from underdeveloped or imperialist from post-colonial. Its impact is shaped by pre-existing social conditions and it is uneven inside each country as well as internationally. Politics readily compromises response and sometimes all but completely derails it.

Eleven theses or hypotheses on the way out of the pandemic

by Michel Wieviorka (Paris)

How to think about the post-pandemic? This is not a simple question. The phenomenon is global, since it concerns the whole world, but its treatment is mainly national, with considerable differences from one country to another. The pandemic is not static but moving. Paradoxically it may well be long-lasting, since we do not know if and when humanity as a whole, but also specific countries, will be able to stop living with the pandemic, and precisely envisage emerging from it.

What Is a Crisis?

by Phumlani Pikoli (Johannesburg)

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has been in a state of panic, fearing the unprecedented times we face. The idea that the pandemic has induced some pre-pubescent existential crisis is laughable, however.

As the world has been forced to sit and reckon with its own systemic failures and global structures of existence the real crisis is, ‘what does it mean to be a human supporting the failed system of global capitalism’? After all, is democracy not a rich person’s game?

Postcards from the Covid-19 pandemic

by Simon Marginson

The Covid-19 pandemic is instructive for social theory. It is like a gigantic experiment. It is not a controlled experiment, but a universal condition that enables differentiation on the basis of time and space, both geographical and discursive. It is possible to compare society before and during the pandemic, and also to compare the political and social evolutions and manifestations of society-under-pandemic-conditions in different nations and regions.

Possible Futures, Now

by Tawana Kupe (Pretoria)

Drawing from both traditions, universities are trying understand how it was that science largely missed the signs of Covid’s coming, and so fulfil their obligation to secure the long-term future of humanity on this planet.

But they know, too, that the university must rise to the immediate challenges of global health, education and economic crises; job losses; poverty; and the overriding sense of uncertainty and insecurity. These all existed pre-Covid, of course, but the pandemic has aggravated each with knock-on effects.

Noticias educativas from the international Mexican newsroom

by Alonso Casanueva Baptista

The secretariat of public education in Mexico – the institution in charge of the standardized schooling practices there – organized for the current semester to take place via radio, internet, but most importantly, television. From August 24th to the end of the school year (July 2021), thirty million Mexican students will enrol in school whilst relying on technologies that usually do not play a central role in their formal learning experiences. The written word will be overtaken by waves, signals, and connections.

Between the acts: at home in uncertain times

by Timothy Andrews

In the current pandemic, we find ourselves in a similar situation to that of Virginia Woolf’s audience in Between the Acts. Forced into our homes as a result of lockdown measures, a mirror is held up to us so that we can see the intimacy of our lives under the stark light of history unfolding in the present. Like Woolf’s audience, we too are on the cusp of a new era.

I can’t wait to see what it’s like on the outside now: a postcard from quarantine in downtown São Paulo

by Isabela Capovilla Romanetto and Matheus Capovilla Romanetto

That it was possible to dream in more depth is immediately related to how much more silent the city became. This is not only an effect of the absence of people on the streets, but also of changes in the mobility system, which for some time had less buses, and generally less cars around. Downtown São Paulo is an enemy of dream life.