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Twilight of the Enlightenment

The Art Fair, the Culture Industry, and the ‘Creative Class’

Judith Kapferer

The complicity of the arts and the state in the mutual legitimation of corporate market practice is addressed in this critique of the so-called culture industries and 'Creative Class' of late capitalist imagination. The certification of the state-market couple as the dominant ideology of national, transnational, and post-national politics and economics is examined through an analysis of the Frieze Art Fair between 2006 and 2009. I contend that the decline of a culture-debating society and the rise of a culture-consuming society herald the waning of a habit of independent rationality and informed argument that characterized Horkheimer and Adorno's 'Enlightenment project'. The managerialist moment in the arts (as in education) signifies the diminishing status of culture as the cornerstone of an enlightened social formation.

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Paul Nursey-Bray

Within European debates on the left about the future of the socialist project, particularly within the United Kingdom, market socialism has been enjoying a certain vogue over the last decade. It represents one of a number of approaches that have been canvassed in pursuit of a Third Way that would steer a course between the old authoritarian, state-controlled socialism of Soviet and Eastern European practice and the untrammelled excesses of a free market capitalist approach. It has claimed some influential supporters, as well as vehement critics who aver that in surrendering to the market and the law of value market socialism vitiates its socialist credentials. But the issues raised in the European context have specific contextual characteristics. European economies and social structures are what we term developed or advanced. While large disparities of wealth exist between social strata and social classes, there is an absence of the fundamental development problems and crushing poverty that are the all too familiar features of the world of Africa. It may be suggestive therefore to consider the application of market socialism within an African setting, acknowledging that there will be a shift of emphasis. While the concerns for social justice and equality that are central to the evaluation of market socialism in a European setting naturally remain relevant in the case of Africa, there is also the question of development itself. Can market socialism be considered as a prescription for the disease of underdevelopment that continues to undermine the economies, the politics and the very life of African societies? We will begin with a review of the history and nature of market socialism before returning to this central question. In general I subscribe to the view that we should avoid dealing with “Africa” in a general way, since it ignores the need to recognize country by country differences and specifics. However, on occasion, a broad brush is useful. I believe it has utility here in a comparison and contrast between European and African experiences of socialism.

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Black Market Fictions

Au bon beurre, La traversée de Paris, and the Black Market in France

Kenneth Mouré

Jean Dutourd's novel Au bon beurre (1952) and Claude Autant-Lara's film La Traversée de Paris (1956) offer the best-known depictions of black market activity in Occupied France, appreciated by audiences who had lived through the war. This article looks at the black market stories they tell and their reception in France in the 1950s. It focuses on the fictional stories in relation to the historical experience from which they were drawn, and analyzes their selective representation of behaviors and the key relationships on which black market activity relied. Both works capture widely shared Occupation experiences of food shortages and exploitation. They highlight popular resentment of profiteers, the ability of the wealthy to escape wartime hardship and postwar justice, and the corruption and incompetence of the state in managing shortages and postwar purges.

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Needs, States, and Markets

Democratic Sovereignty Against Imperialism

Lawrence Hamilton

One of the more intractable questions in the history of political thought is still around today: how can humans collectively control and enhance the development and satisfaction of their needs? This is a question about the nature of contemporary needs, about which and whose needs are developed and satisfied, and about the extant evaluative control over the generation of needs. That is, it is a question about the mechanisms and institutions that constitute and legitimize the generation, interpretation and satisfaction of needs, in particular, states and markets. And it is also a question about the possibilities and means of transforming these mechanisms and institutions. In this paper, I suggest conceptual means of thinking about the different parts of the question and their relation to democratic sovereignty. The suggestions are based on an account of human need that overcomes the current framework of rights and (utilitarian) preferences tempered by paternalist attention to state-defined human needs.

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Toby Burrows

Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts were a significant commodity in the antiquarian sales market throughout the twentieth century, sought out by very wealthy collectors and small-scale buyers. The history of this manuscript market has not been analyzed systematically. This article is a first attempt to identify themes and trends across the century, beginning with the dominance of the great American Gilded Age collectors like Henry Huntington and the Morgans and their need to memorialize themselves. It argues that future research needs to assemble comprehensive data on prices and buyers in order to make possible more systematic analyses of trends and activities, and a more sophisticated understanding of the different reasons for which collectors collected and of the changing nature of manuscripts as objects with their own biographical trajectories and their own agency.

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Steffen Dalsgaard

The adoption of the Kyoto Protocol was a major breakthrough in committing industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, even if the effect is disputed. The protocol works through mechanisms that ascribe value to the environment in terms of those emissions—a numerical value based on carbon, which is then translated into a monetary value. This article reviews the different understandings of value implicated in debates about the environment seen through carbon. It does this by contrasting the values embedded in some of the various initiatives that have resulted from the Kyoto Protocol, and how they relate to the market, government control, and individual consumer morality, among other things. Controversy over carbon trading is entangled in the capacity of carbon to commensurate a wide range of human and non-human actions via their cost in emissions, which nevertheless is countered by moral differentiation.

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Georg Picot and Arianna Tassinari

Reform of the labor market has long been an important and controversial policy area in Italy, and it was one of Matteo Renzi's core concerns when he took up the leadership of the Democratic Party. This chapter recounts the main changes in Italian labor market policy since the 1990s before discussing the Jobs Act, which started as a highly publicized reform project concentrating on changes to public employment services and unemployment benefits, but which the left strongly challenged when dismissal protection was later weakened.

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Thomas Fillitz

The present economic and financial crises do not seem to particularly influence the global art market of contemporary art. In an attempt to understand this apparent opposition, I adopt a macro perspective, combining my own research ventures in Dakar and Vienna with general art market studies. I argue that this market is a special representation of millennial capitalism (Comaroff and Comaroff 2001). The global art market puts in place an organization of diversity that allows a high flexibility in including specific centers and marginalizing others, as well as a special focus on a globally acting group of “ultra high net worth” individuals. Striking features are the concentration of capital flows to a few major centers, the constitution of complex, transnational networks, the dominant logics for each market field (gambling, glamour, moral economy), and the diversification of the commodity character of the work of art.

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The Marketization of HIV/AIDS Governance

Public–Private Partnerships and Bureaucratic Culture in Pakistan

Ayaz Qureshi

The World Bank-financed 'Enhanced HIV and AIDS Control Program' tried to reorganize HIV/AIDS governance in Pakistan by pushing a neoliberal agenda, marketizing the provision of publicly funded HIV prevention services. NGOs and the private sector competed for contracts with the government to provide services to sex workers, drug users, transgendered people and homosexuals who were deemed 'high risk' groups for HIV. With this contractualization emerged a new bureaucratic field that emphasized 'flexible organization' and 'efficiency' in getting things done in place of the traditional bureaucratic proceduralism characteristic of the Pakistani civil service. This new corporate-style bureaucratic culture and the ambiguities of a hastily contracted (and 'efficiently' rolled out) Enhanced Program meant public funds ending up in the pockets of a few powerful actors. Instead of generating more efficiency, the marketization of services dispossessed the intended beneficiaries of the World Bank loan.

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A Divided City in a Common Market

EU Citizenship and Everyday Instrumentalities on the Polish-German Border

Andrew D. Asher

Based on an ethnographic case study in the border cities of Frankfurt (Oder), Germany and Słubice, Poland, this article explores the construction and maintenance of ethnic difference within the transnational economic and social spaces created by the European Union's common market. Through an examination of three domains of cross-border citizenship practice - shopping and consumption, housing and work - this article argues that even as the European Union deploys policies aimed at creating de-territorialised and supranational forms of identity and citizenship, economic asymmetries and hierarchies of value embedded within these policies grant rights differentially in ways that continue to be linked to ethnicity and nationality.