Despite the fact that Amanda Coker has now cycled further in a year than any other human, she has been dogged by critical voices on social media. This in part relates to her methods —she has ridden in circles around the exact same seven-mile loop for the past 365 days, and she often rides a relaxed 'recumbent' bike. Chris Townsend explores the excessive nature of her achievements, and attempts to make sense of the claim that what she has done is "not real cycling".
If the Norfolk Broads are a landscape woven on the loom of history, then the Anthropocene could represent the age of its unravelling. Drawing on both his research experiences in the Broads, as well as the mythological and folkloric significance of that landscape, Jonathan Woolley asks why, when our darkest nightmares are becoming ecological reality, we find ourselves so paralysed to act.
With measures of subjective well-being on the rise, what role does happiness have to play in politics? Should it inform our judgements about who receives welfare payments? Might the government try to direct society towards a particular notion of ‘happiness’? Sam Dalton explores these questions and more, and argues that a public, deliberative politics of happiness might indeed be a good thing.
While the left-leaning media bemoan the rise of a "post-truth" political culture, might not the left wing be just as easy to caricature as "post-factualist" as is the right? Natalie Morningstar examines the figure of the hipster, as liberal consumer par excellence, and argues that a moralising language of truth and reality – of factualism – spans the full breadth of the political spectrum.
What can contemporary art tell us about the reality in which we’re living? Through a reading of "Liquidity Inc." by the German artist Hito Steyerl, Gary Zhang reflects on 2008 as a technological, economic and aesthetic turning point — and on its consequences for representing realism in a 'post-truth' world.
As is now tradition for presidential candidates in the United States, Donald Trump committed many of his key policies to print ahead of the 2016 election, in the campaign book "Crippled America". Now, after Trump's campaign was proven successful and at the end of 2016, Chris Townsend turns to the book for some answers.
At the end of 2016, Zadie Smith's Swing Time feels both apposite and timely, as a story about "the failure of liberal thought". Rebecca Liu details the ways in which the novel deals a blow against the myth that individuals from any background can, with the right attitude and enough effort, achieve their dreams — and the notion that wealth is an indicator of success.
During the Great Depression 85 years ago, when masses of American voters had 'lost all confidence that politics can accomplish anything significant', American philosopher John Dewey wrote of the urgent need to move beyond the business-dominated two-party system. The Democratic and Republican national committees were at the time colluding to restrict both extra-party competition and intra-party dissent in ways that strikingly resemble today's two-party cartel. Dewey's argument is both as obvious today as it was then, and as woefully unfulfilled.
The leader of the U.S. Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, has had an election campaign marred by blunders and blusters. But Johnson is seen by many as the only viable alternative to the Clinton-Trump race for the Whitehouse, polling as high as 6%. As a rebranded Libertarian Party attempts to court both disenfranchised Democrats and rebellious Republicans alike, Jack Marley-Payne examines the truths and the fictions behind their policies and promises.
When questioned about his apparent involvement with the Pinochet's militant regime by Newsweek in 1976, Milton Friedman observed that "I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague".
This article traces the roots of the now-ubiquitous conception of economics as a neutral technical order by examining how contemporary voices bracketed 'the economic' from 'the political' in the case of the Chicago Boys. Rebecca Liu argues that those from the financial and economic sector have insulated their discipline from critique by performing a series of rhetorical manoeuvers that shut off a priori the efficacy of these criticisms through using a language of 'expertise'. The result, however, is the coagulation of ideological positions into 'scientific, self-evident truths' that challenge our very ability to make sense of, and fight for, our standing in the world.