Academic journal article New Formations

Writing and Rresistance

Academic journal article New Formations

Writing and Rresistance

Article excerpt

This issue of New Formations presents a range of exciting new work which spans and connects the fields of cultural studies, literary theory and radical political philosophy.

Two essays in the issue are concerned with the specificities of contemporary sexual politics. David Alderson's 'Acting Straight' examines the deployment of the term 'straight acting' to describe men who have sex with other men but are not considered effeminate: a widespread and under-analysed categorisation. His paper looks at the significance of this term in relation to an intensified social self-consciousness of gender, especially in relation to sexuality, by focusing on the reality TV series, Playing It Straight; and he discusses the cultural political dynamics of masculinity and effeminacy in relation to increasing inequality, precarity and austerity. Naomi Booth's essay, 'Bathetic Masochism', examines the privileged position given to masochism in some recent critical-theoretical work and argues that the recent Fifty Shades novels romanticise masochism as a shrinking of the female subject accompanied by an increase in her orgasmic and consumer power.

Three articles are concerned with relationships between writing, disclosure and interpretation. Clare Birchall's 'The Aesthetics of the Secret' departs from the recent revelations of former NS A contractor Edward Snowden, positing secrets as subject to and the subject of radical politics rather than merely as appropriate objects of regulation. Birchall turns from a hermeneutics of the secret towards an aesthetics of the secret, arguing that, considered as a Rancièrean 'distribution of the sensible', this aesthetics can help us to imagine a politics of the secret not bound to policy and legalities. Also concerned with the politics of openness and enclosure, Sarah Kember's ' Why Write? Feminism, publishing and the politics of communication' deals with the enclosure and delimitation of a politics of communication within and across the knowledge and creative sectors, showing how this enclosure is enacted by reform agendas, and specifically by the alignment of copyright and access reform in the UK. The question of writing brings philosophy to bear on policies of openness but, Kember argues, in an environment of increasingly proprietorial knowledge and of creativity as market competition, the key question to ask of writing is not the metaphysical one (what is writing? …

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