NLR 39

Kasian TejapiraToppling Thaksin

How Thailand’s billionaire Prime Minister was overthrown by mass mobilizations in April 2006, and role of the Palace–Barracks–Temple triumvirate in his defeat. Kasian Tejapira on the twin conjuncture of 1997—combining a ‘good governance’ Constitution with the Asian financial crisis—that put the country’s corrupt electocracy into the hands of its telecom magnate.

Robin BlackburnFinance and the Fourth Dimension

The concept of alternative futures, banished from postmodernity’s eternal present, flourishes on the financial summits of the global economy. Robin Blackburn argues against a neo-Luddite dismissal of the new financial engineering techniques by the Left, while coolly assessing the economic and social costs of their current configurations.

Leo Chanjen ChenCinema, Dream, Existence

With City of Sadness and The Puppetmaster, Hou Hsiao-Hsien established the landmarks of Taiwan’s New Cinema—distinguished by aesthetic distance and break with political taboo. Chen traces the origins of Hou’s achievement to a mixture of an apprenticeship in commercial film, a unique synthesis of islander and high-modern culture, and impartial sympathy for those caught up in history’s storm.

Alain SupiotLaw and Labour

Behind the struggles over employment laws in France and Germany, Alain Supiot describes a deeper battle over legal systems. Are national legislative models—now benchmarked for investment efficiency by the international institutions—becoming rival products in a world market of norms?

Susan WillisGuantánamo’s Symbolic Economy

How to explain the importance to the US Administration of the primitive torture facilities at Guantánamo Bay? Incarceration and intelligence farming, as imagined by LeGuin or Philip K. Dick, and strategies—active and passive—for resisting reduction to ‘bare life’.

The World Made Flesh

Perry Anderson on Hervé Juvin, L’avènement du corps. Premonitions of a new regime of individualism under the aegis of the human body, as life distends and capital mutates to meet it.

Celluloid and Plasma

Tony Wood on Laura Mulvey, Death 24x a Second. How has the digital era changed the cinematic viewing experience—and the spectator? Freeze-frame fetishism and narrative disruption from Lumière to Kiarostami, via Hitchcock and Rossellini.

Venezuela’s Murdoch

Richard Gott on Pablo Bachelet, Gustavo Cisneros: un empresario global. Portrait of the Latino media baron—Venezuelan salesman for the American way, purveyor of soft drinks and soap operas, key conspirator in the 2002 coup attempt against Chávez.