Lost Binder

Language and Power. A brief farewell to a non-troversy.

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We read the wrong book in the right corpus. Rather than being sensitive to the creation of cultural capital we should have been aware of the creation of new social categories by the ambassadors to subculture. By forcing people into belonging (or not), or merely in acknowledging a nonexistent controversy, a category is brought into being. As common sense might instruct the very act of asking people to choose creates a new identity. In what were formerly heterogeneous, autonomous and vital groups a new subscription is born, and at the very moment of the greatest subcultural diversity and destructive reinvention of identity a unity is proposed, under abjectly consumerist form. In other words, just as commercial culture risks losing any ability to follow, predict or capitalize on trends it creates a name for all trends, in a kind of hedge fund of cultural capital.

Underneath this commercially administrated culture are the real, but no less mediated, impulses and material circumstances which generate particular styles. For example, in terms of clothing, the opposing impulses towards distinction and conformity, to compete as a creations of oneself, or to ‘pass’ in the ‘straight’ world of wage labour (or to balance both demands) without money are both parodied as new styles of affordable (but profitable) street fashion (examples could be extended endlessly). It would be untrue to the experience of everyday life to claim that these original impulses are no more or less authentic than their commercial co-optation. When put on the defensive subcultures (just as with political tendencies) are forced to accept belonging or not, and must relinquish autonomy and virulence, in a sad parody of the class unity which is none the less strongly present in the genesis of style. These new categories subsequently come into existence, with the encouragement of commercial sponsorship and are capable of forging their own truces and accommodations with the demands of autonomous styles. It remains the task of those with some sense of loyalty to produce an imminent critique of their own Chimera, the profitable mass exploitation of practical affordable living.


Written by Jesse Huisken

August 15, 2011 at 12:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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