[csaa-forum] New Reviews in Culture Machine

gary hall gary.hall at connectfree.co.uk
Thu Oct 13 21:10:04 CST 2005

CULTURE MACHINE <http://www.culturemachine.net> is pleased to announce
the publication of the following new book reviews:

* Jacques Rancière (2004) The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution
of the Sensible. London and New York: Continuum. Reviewed by Sean

Jacques Rancière is one of the most important and original contemporary
French philosophers. This book provides perhaps the best available
introduction to his thought in English. It is a slim but densely packed
little volume. Its main contents are two interviews with Rancière: one
originally published in French in 2000, the other new for this edition.
These are not the usual easily assimilated interview fare; it is
difficult to imagine anyone actually speaking these words. They provide
an extraordinarily concise and systematic summary by Rancière of the
main themes of his recent work across its whole range. 
project is promising. It is illuminating to see aesthetics as political
and politics in aesthetic terms, as a form of the 'distribution of the

* Dianne Chisholm (2004) Queer Constellations: Subcultural Space in the
Wake of the City. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.

Reviewed by Catharina Landström.

In Queer Constellations Dianne Chisholm extends the territory of
literary scholarship beyond the analysis of writing. She develops
theory, reconfigures space and outlines a queer methodology. Her project

is about articulating ways of approaching urban space from beyond the
dominant heterosexual perspective, without producing a purely negative
mirror image of it. The book is positioned as a contribution to a genre
of critical analysis initiated by Walter Benjamin. The substantial
introduction situates Chisholm’s project in a web of theoretical
relationships – to Benjamin’s work, to studies of space, to literary
studies and to queer theory. A theme that runs through the entire book
is Benjamin’s non-explicit comprehension of the city as a sexual space.
This thread serves as an historical point of reference for Chisholm’s
reading of queer city writing and as the position from which the
significance of both the queer in city writing and the city in queer
writing becomes visible.

* Vincent Mosco (2004) The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace.

Cambridge and London: MIT Press. Reviewed by Bernadette Wegenstein.

The Digital Sublime is a useful book for those of us semioticians who
are interested in understanding the discourse universe around and beyond

the digital turn, as well as the technologies that have brought this
turn upon us, mainly the computer. Mosco provides a classic and firm
analysis in the structuralist tradition of Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, and
other French philosophers of the twentieth century, carving out the deep

structure of cyberspace and the consequences of its 'epochal
transformation in human experience' . He analyzes three central and
growing cyber-myth regimes: the ‘time-myth’ that famously announces the
end of history; the very popular ‘space-myth’, declaring the end of
geography; and the obviously even more problematic ‘power-myth’,
proclaiming the end of politics. Historically, Mosco positions his own
approach to the myths generated by the digital turn as a response to the

extraordinary boom-and-bust cycle dating back roughly to the year 2000,
when the collapse of the dotcom and telecommunication industries led to
the stock market crash.

The reviews are available at:

Dr Gary Hall
Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, Middlesex University
Co-editor of Culture Machine http://www.culturemachine.net
My website http://www.garyhall.info

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