Programme notes

articles
Perry AndersonThe Centre Can Hold

How did Emmanuel Macron become President of France virtually overnight? What are the likely consequences of his rule? The long epoch of collusive alternation between Centre-Left and Centre-Right, and its abrupt ending; the realities of Le Pen’s Front National, and the riposte of Mélenchon’s La France insoumise. Has neo-liberalism finally arrived in force in Paris, and if so what are the implications for Europe?

Julian Stallabrass Memory and Icons

Fate of the photographic icon of war in the age of embedded journalism and the digital camera: why so few images of the conquest of Iraq are recollected, and so many of the fall of the Twin Towers pre-selected? The importance of counter-narratives for fixing meaning to shots of fighting or suffering, and the latent possibilities of the democratization of image-production today.

Tom HazeldineRevolt of the Rustbelt

The historical geography of Ukania’s referendum on the EU, pitting London and Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, against every region of England outside its pampered capital. The North as fulcrum of the victory for Leave, the accumulating reasons for its disaffection with the Westminster establishment, and the carry-through of its rebellion into the electoral upset of 2017.

Patricia McManusHappy Dystopians

Fears of mass culture generating visions of rule not by fear, but by the narcotics of conformity and abolition of privacy, in the fiction of Huxley and Eggers—‘total sociability’ resistable only by figures of the doomed individual. The fading even of high culture as notional refuge in the passage beyond the Brave New World.

Owen HatherleyComparing Capitals

In a time of fashionable talk of ‘global cities’, Göran Therborn has produced an antithetical panorama of the capital cities of the world, across all six continents, as centres of political power—combining a sociology and iconography of their lay-outs, buildings, monuments, from DC to Cairo, Brussels to Islamabad. Owen Hatherley reports and assesses his findings.

reviews

Francis Mulhern on Ferdinand Mount, English Voices: Lives, Landscapes, Laments. The literary and political sensibility of Britain’s most independent-minded Conservative thinker, aide to Margaret Thatcher, admirer of Virginia Woolf, and devotee of William Gladstone.

Alice Bamford on Amanda Anderson, Bleak Liberalism. Rehabilitating intellectual oracles of the Cold War in the service of a tragic ethos and pragmatic politics, and their interweaving as a liberal aesthetic, in fiction from Trollope to Lessing.

Tim Barker on John Judis, The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics. Virtues and paradoxes of a level-headed antidote to the bien-pensant Atlantic hysteria of the hour.