Friday, February 24, 2006

Shiny happy people can be critical too

The most recent lead article of the Association for Humanistic Psychology's Perspective Magazine is called 'A Critical Psychology' (by Don Eulart) and is available online. Also click on the events link and see all the shiny happy people!

A new internet journal

Aydan Gulerce, from the Bogazici University in Istanbul, has launched a new internet journal called, Social Practice/Psychological Theorizing. The editorial board is loaded with the usual suspects, but also include a fair amount of scholars from places like South Africa, India, Brasil and Japan. Besides publishing formal academic articles, it seems also to envision functioning as a more interactive discussion forum. It seems like a worthwhile project, so I hope it will become a dynamic and lively space of debate.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I always find the relationship between international scientific/scholarly societies and their conference cities interesting. Generally, it seems that the host city is reduced to an incidental backdrop, preferably wrapped in tourist clichés. Reality should be kept at arms lenght: luckily, modern convention centres and their associated hotels make this very possible. In fact, if you have ever been caught in one of these, you will know that escaping into something resembling a real city street is quite difficult. (In this, they of course resemble much of social theory and other scientific activity, so don't blame their designers too much...) This distancing is especially ironic when the scholarly society in question is the International Society of Political Psychology... They are hosting their 2005 annual conference in Barcelona this July. I am planning to attend this conference, so I have been searching both the conference website and the web more generally for information about Barcelona and the region of which it is the capital (I think), Catalunya. Predictably, the conference website, like most tourist websites, reduces the city and region to another charming part of the kaleidoscope that is steoretypical Spain - bullfighting, payella and olives. Meanwhile, back in the bullring, there are apparently some serious and interesting political tensions around Catalonya at the moment, about its regional autonomy vis-a-vis the Spanish state, about language rights, and about its "national" status. So how sucessfull do you think a conference on political psychology will be in ignoring such interesting events? My guess: very... Any Spanish (sic?) critical psychologists out there who could say something about these current debates and events, and their implications for understanding Spain, Europe, the world, and everything else?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Our world is not for sale...

Check out the Our World Is Not for Sale website. They call themselves "a worldwide network of organizations, activists and social movements committed to challenging trade and investment agreements that advance the interests of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of people and the environment". It is a multilingual, certainly multilateral resource, and filled with enough information, news, articles and current actions to keep you glued the screen for a while. You can also read and sign their New Statement.

Zizek Live

I stumbled upon the perfect way to spend a few good hours in the office, not working, but at least learning something... Video recorded lectures (most of them are about an hour long) by famous people like Slavoj Zizek, Bhikhu Parekh, Stuart Hall, Chantelle Mouffe and others at this link. They were all presented at a conference called "Democracy Unrealized" in Vienna, 2001. From there you can also navigate to lectures by some other, equally famous speakers in Berlin - same year, same theme. Zizek comments on a "great slander" against him, namely that he had recently started writing about movies he had never seen. Not true, he says: "I have been doing this for more than ten years!"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Things go better with water

The zero coke movement wants people to stop drinking coke and donate the money they save to initiatives like UNICEF's Water and Sanitation Programs. Their aim is to change the percentage of people in the world with no access to clean water from 20% to zero. Why pick on Coke? Because "waste, pollution and questionable nutrition are at the centre of Coke's business model". I am all for this sort of thing, of course, but sometimes I worry that there is some sort of unwritten rule that to be a good person one has to suffer and be serious. So my advice is to relax and have a coke. As they say - you can't beat the feeling. Life is good. It's the real thing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Capitalism for dummies

Jason McCabe Calacanis got a letter from Wiley Publishing, Inc. telling him that if he wants to use the phrase "for dummies" in the title of a web post he must include "attribution language" to the effect that FOR DUMMIES is a registered trademark of the good folks at Wiley. Maybe now we'll get a letter as well.