[csaa-forum] the sixties

Graham St John g.stjohn at uq.edu.au
Tue Jun 5 06:39:01 CST 2007

Good questions Stephen

I've had an interest in how activisms from the 1990s onwards from 
local environmentalism to alter-globalization have inheritied the 
carnivalized politics of the past (e.g.  the history of radical 
avant-garde movements and 1960s guerilla theatre) with the assistance 
of new technologies (audio, visual, cyber). Festal hacktivism, 
tactical frivolity, anarchist (un)masking practices and other 
performances have intersected in the contemporary *protestival*, a 
heuristic which is sufficient to comprehend those performative 
moments simultaneously transgressive and progressive, against and 
for, by which the marginal may take their grievances to the physical 
and symbolic centres ('summits') of neo-liberalism, where alternative 
logics and spectacles are performed, and 'another world' is lived.

Amidst the summit sieges, autonomous convergences and other reflexive 
events constituting transnational carnivalesque rituals, 
politico-religious pilgrimage destinations, or spatial 
reconfigurations critical to the renewed opposition to capitalism, it 
is the increasingly ubiquitous Global Day of Action (for instance 
seeking interventions in neo-liberalism, the war on terror, climate 
change) which is of particular interest to me. Not only does this 
research necessarily reference the historical inheritance for these 
developments but it also necessarily draws on cultural studies 
(including subcultural studies), performance studies and the study of 
new social movements to make sense of it. 

Graham St John

At 9:18 AM +1000 6/4/07, Stephen Muecke wrote:
>The Sixties Revisited
>There are many reasons for a renewed interest in the sixties. The 
>worst reason is, of course, for superannuated baby-boomers to 
>indulge in nostalgia, the best is for people born, say in the 
>eighties, to analyse a period where there were real and effective 
>languages of political contestation, which could be taken even to a 
>national scale (Mai '68, the Cultural Revolution in China, student 
>movements toppling the governments of Sth Korea and Thailand, 
>national liberation movements against colonialism).
>In terms of culture there were radical forms of experimentation in 
>everyday life, the birth of ecological movements, homosexuality was 
>legalised, a stunning new visual style emerged in in iconography, 
>fashion, fine arts and cinema. Popular music came of age in the USA 
>and the UK, and there was a new cosmopolitanism of youth movements. 
>In science and industry plastics emerged, the transistor made 
>electronics portable, Man walked on the Moon, nuclear met 
>Today, in repudiation of the sixties, the world seems engulfed by a 
>neo-liberal market-driven culture which has narrowed the language of 
>political analysis. Conservative opinion-makers are busy 
>characterising the sixties as a time of looney left excess, a 
>smokescreen perhaps for the excesses of global corporate capitalism 
>Are the current forms of political and cultural activism derived 
>from the sixties? Community-based localist or micro-activisms, 
>autonomists, hackers and bloggers, ferals and sub-cultural 
>Serious research should determine how cultural and political 
>analysis of this four-decade-old history can sort out continuities 
>and discontinuities. Most world leaders grew up in the sixties, so 
>the period still has a hold on their unconscious: Can they let it 
>go? Can people in their twenties and thirties teach them to look at 
>the present more clearly?
>The question I'd like to put to the List, perhaps with a view to a 
>seminar, is who in Australia is working on the sixties (really the 
>late 50s to the early 70s)? Who is prepared to work up a topic? 
>There is the potential for interesting Asian links-see Inter-Asia 
>Cultural Studies issue of December last year, 'The Asian Sixties'.
>Stephen Muecke
>Director, Transforming Cultures Centre
>Humanities and Social Sciences
>University of Technology, Sydney
>Box 123 BROADWAY NSW 2007 Australia
>Ph: +61 2 9514 1960
>Fx: +612 9514 4344
>mb 042 5261 232
>discussion list of the cultural studies association of australasia
>change your subscription details at 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://bronzewing.cdu.edu.au/pipermail/csaa-forum/attachments/20070604/ab56e00d/attachment.html 

More information about the csaa-forum mailing list