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Limits of Civility

Glen Newey: Walls

17 March 2011
Walled States, Waning Sovereignty 
by Wendy Brown.
Zone, 167 pp., £19.95, October 2010, 978 1 935408 08 6
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... in a cowshed ends with the King of the Jews shut out from the would-be capital of his people, an apt incongruity for one whose kingdom was not of this world. In Walled States, Waning Sovereignty, WendyBrown notes that walls symbolise the will to closure. As inherited tracts of masonry, they recall bygone enmities, but also mark the limits of civility. Yet the revealed will to close down politics ...

Short Cuts

Rory Scothorne: Class before Nation

14 December 2017
... of Scottish identity, the parochial discourse of ‘Scottish solutions to Scottish problems’ stifled more utopian aspirations for social justice and self-determination. The political theorist WendyBrown has argued that when devolution becomes a function of ‘governance’ rather than democracy, it ‘frequently means that large-scale problems, such as recessions, finance-capital crises ...

The Long Con

Jackson Lears: Techno-Austerity

15 July 2015
The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organised Wealth and Power 
by Steve Fraser.
Little, Brown, 466 pp., £21.99, February 2015, 978 0 316 18543 1
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...  republican, populist and Christian – that combined to promote a sense of commonweal, of public good which transcended private gain. Now that sense is nearly gone from political life. As WendyBrown has argued in Undoing the Demos, neoliberalism has brought about a ‘stealth revolution’, overthrowing and hollowing out classical notions of politics.* In neoliberal public life, debate about ...
3 January 2008
... Gordon Brown, like all prime ministers, like all politicians, like all of us really, is over-reliant on the advice of a small group of people he thinks he can trust. In Brown’s case, these tend to be men who once worked as juniors in his office, having been hand-picked at a very young age. Douglas Alexander became Brown’s researcher and speechwriter when he was in his ...

Diary

Alison Jolly: Among Lemurs

2 January 2003
... I woke up a little bit jealous of Wendy. She told me yesterday that a baby lemur had jumped right into her lap. It was Triangle’s baby, a precocious extrovert. Triangle, named for her high-peaked white brow, is the troop’s alpha animal ...

Don’t tell nobody

Michael Wood: Cuba

3 September 1998
Cuba Libre 
by Elmore Leonard.
Viking, 352 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 0 670 87988 6
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Havana Dreams 
by Wendy​ Gimbel.
Knopf, 234 pp., $24, June 1998, 0 679 43053 9
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... the United States the right to intervene in Cuban affairs whenever necessary for ‘the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property and individual liberties’. Even Wendy Gimbel, who quotes the Adams proposition in Havana Dreams but is no anti-American activist – no sort of activist at all – says this arrangement left Cuba ‘to the mercy of the Americans ...
8 December 1988
The World through Blunted Sight 
by Patrick Trevor-Roper.
Allen Lane, 207 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7139 9006 6
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Visual Fact over Verbal Fiction 
by Carl Goldstein.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £40, September 1988, 0 521 34331 3
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Hockney on Photography: Conversations with Paul Joyce 
Cape, 192 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 224 02484 1Show More
Portrait of David Hockney 
by Peter Webb.
Chatto, £17.95, November 1988, 0 7011 3401 1
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... and intelligence deserve to be de-chatted. Joyce is an eager intrusive interviewer, and the discipline of excising his own comments might have improved the book by removing passages like: ‘WendyBrown came back and said: you’ve got to see that, it’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in photography for years. So we got straight in the car. And I must have told half a dozen people ...

Should we build a wall around North Wales?

Daniel Trilling: The Refugee Crisis

12 July 2017
Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move 
by Reece Jones.
Verso, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78478 471 3
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Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System 
by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier.
Allen Lane, 288 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 0 241 28923 5
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No Borders: The Politics of Immigration Control and Resistance 
by Natasha King.
Zed, 208 pp., £16.99, October 2016, 978 1 78360 467 8
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... of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa try to reach Europe each year, but that is nothing compared to the scale of migration between countries within Africa. Jones gives short shrift to scholars such as WendyBrown, who argued in Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (2010) that today’s border walls are a sign not of strength but that state sovereignty is being eroded by globalisation: they fulfil a ...

Devolution Doom

Christopher Harvie: Scotland’s crisis, and some solutions

5 September 2002
... tend to be sick and old. It costs a lot to die. Is a touch of the Private Frasers – ‘We’re all doomed, ah tell ye, doomed!’ – in order? The Enterprise/Transport/Lifelong-Learning minister Wendy Alexander fled in May, perhaps because McConnell crushed her under all those portfolios, but also, surely, because of the mismatch between her huge responsibilities and her limited powers. Holyrood ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew O’Hagan: The Garbage of England

24 May 2007
... showed me one of the bins outside a large house; it had grass on the top and Tesco bags full of paper underneath. Harrow has a system of compulsory recycling: green bins for paper, cans, bottles, and brown bins for organic waste, which includes garden waste and leftover food. People in Harrow who mix the stuff up, or ‘contaminate’, have their rubbish left uncollected, and must pay £20 to get it ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: Brexit and the SNP

3 November 2016
... urban areas, where they’d never had any success. Four years later, the SNP formed a minority government in Edinburgh. Even then Labour could have reasserted control. In 2008, its then leader, Wendy Alexander, tried to push the SNP into calling an independence referendum – ‘Bring it on,’ she said – but she was slapped down by Gordon Brown, under the advice of Alexander’s brother ...

Who needs a welfare state?

Deborah Friedell: The Little House Books

22 November 2012
The Little House Books 
by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Library of America, 1490 pp., £56.50, August 2012, 978 1 59853 162 6
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The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ 
by Wendy​ McClure.
Riverhead, 336 pp., £10, April 2012, 978 1 59448 568 8
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... stamps or other nutrition benefits’. The books are a fantasy of self-sufficiency in its most charming form. In The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of ‘Little House on the Prairie’, Wendy McClure, a children’s book editor, details her obsession with what she calls ‘Laura World’. She visits the Big Woods in Wisconsin where Wilder was born; the places where Wilder’s parents ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are

5 July 2007
... wanted – or were asked – to capture on film things that were fleeting, strange or dangerous. Animals in motion, for example: a barn owl with a mouse in its beak, caught by Eric Hosking in 1948, a brown rat photographed by Stephen Dalton as it jumped from a bin in 1983. Curiosity about the look of exotic tribes was not limited to pictures from abroad. The four performers of the Abbot’s Bromley ...

My Stars

Graham Hough

21 March 1985
The Magical Arts 
by Richard Cavendish.
Arkana, 375 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 1 85063 004 6
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Astrology and the Third Reich: A Historical Study of Astrological Beliefs in Western Europe since 1700 and in Hitler’s Germany 1933-45 
by Ellic Howe.
Aquarian, 253 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 85030 397 4
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The Astrology of Fate 
by Liz Greene.
Allen and Unwin, 370 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 04 133012 9
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Dreams, Illusion and Other Realities 
by Wendy​ Doniger O’Flaherty.
Chicago, 361 pp., £21.25, June 1984, 0 226 61854 4
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Fruits of the Moon Tree: The Medicine Wheel and Transpersonal Psychology 
by Alan Bleakley.
Gateway Books, 311 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 946551 08 1
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... a hairshirt, and will bring corresponding benefits. Salt in alchemy is earthy, female, and symbolises the body: by eschewing it we free ourselves from carnal taint. The superiority of everything brown to everything white (bread, rice, sugar, more recently, I notice, pasta) seems to spring from some quite non-functional sympathy with the Third World. But few people have carried the physical side of ...

Wolves in the Drawing Room

Neal Ascherson: The SNP

2 June 2011
... at Westminster as the destination of the success trail. Would Labour’s disaster of 5 May have happened if any of its best and brightest – Robin Cook, Douglas Alexander, Alistair Darling, Gordon Brown, even John Smith – had stayed in Scotland to lead the party and the devolved government at Holyrood? Only Donald Dewar took the train back north and became first minister of Scotland in 1999. It ...

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