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Variant 33 Winter
Front cover by: Angry
Variant Affinity Group
From the censorship of Variant magazine by Culture & Sport Glasgow
to the forced formation of Creative Scotland, in the midst of the ongoing
financial crisis, a warning of the effects of devolving power to private
interests set on the marketisation and financial exploitation of culture.
If reason prevails, this moment should provide an opportunity for cultural
workers to redefine what constitutes 'the public interest' and to reassert
a claim over how public finance in the field of culture should be managed
and allocated and in whose interest.
Labour History Resurgent?
An inclusive, constructive review of Paul Mason's ‘Live
Working or Die Fighting : how the working class went global’ (Vintage
paperback, London, 2008), which "is not a programmatic statement
for new forms of socialist organisation that can meet the needs
of the emerging global working-class movement Mason writes about,
but it is certainly relevant to those who want to participate in
The Clyde Gateway: A New Urban Frontier
Examining the "biggest regeneration programme
in Scotland", Gray probes the "disjuncture
between the triumphal neo-liberal ideology of the city – of
successful self-regulating markets achieving optimally
balanced economic growth – and the everyday reality
of uneven development, intensifying inequality, and generalized
Clear-cut review of Nick Crossley and John Michael Roberts'
edited collection of essays which both directly and indirectly
respond to Habermas’s thinking on the public sphere; ‘After
Habermas: New Perspectives on the Public Sphere’, Blackwell
Urban Nightmares and Dystopias,
or Places of Hope?
Addressing the spectre of the council estate, Mooney establishes that "there's
no escaping that what we have ... is the continuing prevalence for a
people and place stigmatisation that is shaped ... by decades of conservative
thinking around poverty and disadvantage." Countering, that social
housing provides a unique opportunity for building community.
'Estates: An Intimate History' , Lynsey Hanley, Granta Books, 2007
'Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right and the Moral Panic over the
City' , Steve Macek, University of Minnesota Press, 2006
Public Service Denouncement
US crime fiction has enjoyed a renaissance, aspiring to the status of
serious literature as well as pulp populism, embracing ambitions to critical
social commentary. Pioneer James Lee Burke built on the genre’s
founding characteristics; temporary victories of cynically lovable rogues
unmasking the amoral excesses of the rich and powerful, but which promise
no enduring impact. But there is another trajectory in recent noir fiction
which starts from the proposition that the suffering associated with
criminal violence falls disproportionately and routinely on the poor;
Dennis Lehane's books are now the source material for big-budget films.
The last adaptation to reach the screen 'Gone, Baby, Gone' provides Jennings
with an opportunity to evaluate any advances made by this revisionist
or Natural Flows
A review of James Ferguson’s ‘The Anti-Politics Machine:
Development, Depoliticisation and Democratic Power in Lesotho’ (1994)
and ‘Global Shadows: Africa in the Neo-Liberal World Order’ (2006),
that trace the complex relation between rhetoric and policy within neo-liberalism. "Rather
than seeing Africa as an anomaly to the successes of globalisation elsewhere
in the world, such as the Asian ‘tiger’ economies, Ferguson
suggests that the economic marginalisation of large parts of Africa is
not anomalous, but rather is intrinsic to the process by which a globalised
economy is restructured."
The Food-Fuel Crisis
The devastating inter-connections between: the decline of cheap oil,
modern agriculture and food practices, international finance and speculation...
Creative Scotland Blog
Creative Scotland is the proposed merger of the public bodies, the Scottish
Arts Council and Scottish Screen, into a private company. Culture Minister,
Linda Fabiani, recently insisted of Creative Scotland: “We all
want to get this up and running.” In truth, this apparent urgency
conceals a major ideological fault line between public and private
provision in Scotland.