The Repulsion of Proximity

The idea that we might fear or be repulsed by the other seems to fly in the face of the standard reading of the work of Emmanuel Levinas. His critics see the other as repulsive, as I do, but see this as jarring with their view of Levinas’ supposedly domesticated or gentrified other to whom […]

Barbarous Indifference and Selfish Egotism

In his The Condition of the Working Class in England, an extensive study of London and the industrial cities of the north that he visited as a young man in the first half of the nineteenth-century, Friedrich Engels observed: ‘The more that Londoners are packed into a tiny space, the more repulsive and disgraceful becomes […]

The Colonel’s Workers

The second episode of the BBC’s documentary on KFC, Billion Dollar Chicken Shop, asked: What is it really like to work for a giant fast food chain? It’s been a diverting series, if somewhat failing to probe anything beyond what KFC want to show them, and this episode was no different. Yes, it turns out […]

There is No Rift in Reality

I don’t want to ruin EastEnders for you (that’s the writers’ job, to borrow a joke from Charlie Brooker) but if you haven’t caught up with the Who killed Lucy Beale? storyline yet then best to skip this paragraph, at least. After the cliffhanger culminated in its Maggie shot Mr Burns double-header on Thursday, the cast of […]

Work at the End of Sleep

On retiring from the University of Warwick last month, Professor of Economics Mark Harrison blogged about the various mistakes we academics make, as a reflection on his forty years in Higher Education. It’s well worth a read, based on a rich wealth of experience. One of the mistakes stood out: that we see commitment to […]

In Praise of Retirement

For my birthday last year I asked for a radio alarm clock. I find waking up to Radio 4 is far less jarring than any of the alarms I can set on my phone, so it eases me into wakefulness in a manner that allows me to be less grumpy through the day. The downside, […]