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Showing posts from March, 2017

zizek: (phatic) violence -- review

There is a lot of recycled material in this book and a lot that is off the point altogether. So a typical Zizek book. The one idea I found interesting is his explanation of street protests that turn violent, as well as the kind of thing that went on in Paris in 2005, as 'phatic' violence. That is to say, it serves the sole purpose of saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. But Zizek doesn't take it far enough because in fact the phatic requires two interlocutors and its purpose is to keep open the lines of communication. So the obvious point he missed is that the police response is also phatic. By brutalising the protestors, they too are saying 'I'm here' and 'we're talking'. Moreover, if this in fact the case, then this type of protest action will not bring change because it is a routine exchange. -- from a three-star review of Violence, 2009 This is (perhaps) similar to what's going on in Netherlands recently.

badgers, boundaries, and regicide

Bullock, S, 2016, ‘"Shit Happens": The Spontaneous Self-Organisation of Communal Boundary Latrines via Stigmergy in a Null Model of the European Badger, Meles meles’. in: Tom Froese (eds) Artificial Life XV: Proceedings of The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems. MIT Press This reminds me of a display I saw in the Archaeology museum in Dublin when I first arrived in the British Isles in 2010. The old Irish fiefdoms would often have burial sites at their boundaries, and especially at their corners. In particular, corners where several of these territories met each other would often be places where executions, and, according to the theory, ritual regicides, might be staged.
Badgers are incredibly clean and will not defecate in their sett – they have special latrines (communal toilets) comprising of shallow pits placed away from the setts on the edge of their territory. They will not bring food into the sett either. "The k…