Centre for Urban and Community Research

Here is a piece I have just submitted to the Centre for Urban and Community Research (CUCR) ahead of my talk at Goldsmiths, where I will work through the problems and pleasures of ethnography, via an overview of my Zero book, Small Towns, Austere Times (2014). I will explain the origins of that work in a private archive of visual material relating to one quite neatly bounded place. I will then open up these quite specific things into a much larger debate about the global and local, ethnography, ethics and the limits of seeing ‘in the local’, in the early 21st century. The poster for the event is here. This piece, for the CUCR blog, is a kind of effective Afterword to my Small Towns book:


Deracinated Localism

My explorations of Wales and its borderlands led me to re-apply what I had learned to my formative political landscape, the Calder Valley. Here is the first piece I put out on that place, again for Street Signs, The Dialectics of Deracinated Localism, Some Notes from the North. This then led to my PhD thesis, and the eventual passing of a Viva Voce, and then a book for Zero, Small Towns, Austere Times (2014):


Here is a sample chapter from that book, The Dialectics of Working and Not Working. Through this work I contacted a fellow Zero author, Greg Sharzer, who had No Local published in 2013. We are now working collaboratively on the global, viral rise of Localism as a ‘solution’. This is being articulated theoretically through examples such as Baron Glasman’s theological retrospectiveness, and Syriza’s use of Localism as an immediate response to the continuing crises in Greece. Greg effectively runs a branch of Historical Materialism in Korea.

My last single-author shout on this topic for the moment will be published in a chapter called ‘Is To Fix Always to Return?’ in a volume called Cultures of Repair, which will be published by Berghahn Books very soon. Catherine Malabou has written a philosophically generous introduction to the volume.