Month: January 2012

My Parisian Academic Crush: Falling in Love with Pierre Bourdieu

The last social scientist that I fell in love with was Susan Strange, a political economist who questions much of the structure of the global economy and international politics. In fact, no one else deserves more credit for the birth of the study of ‘International Political Economy’ as a distinct field of inquiry than Susan. During my studies here, however, I have stumbled across Pierre Bourdieu. In his case, he challenged his readers to question the social order of the world around them – and in the book that I am reading at the moment, “Language and the Structure of Power” he gives an extremely interesting argument to pay attention to the powerful role that language plays in the construction of social reality and the reverse. That is, the extent to which social realities influence language. He also spoke quite extensively on language as a tool and source for power – something I admit is not entirely new, but there is something compelling in how he presents concepts like a ‘linguistic market’ that makes his …

Idan Raichel Project in Paris – this weekend!

I have loved the music of this ensemble for a while. Even more so, I have loved the group’s underlying concept of Being a culturally diverse group from a part of the world where divisions based on religion, cultural heritage, history, political persuasion run deeply. It is an ‘Israeli’ group to the extent that it comes from Israel but it debunks all of the negative stereotypes and caricatures of the state of Israel ,the controversial political entity (to state the case mildly). The Idan Raichel project’s music is elevating to mind, body and spirit – no need to understand what they are saying. If you have a basic vocabulary of semitic languages it may be possible to decipher parts of the music – but the power of the Idan Raichel project lies not only in their poignant lyrics and message but in the spirit that underlies their music. For that, no inguistic skill is needed. This is set to be a worthwhile concert to attend, if only to catch a glimpse of a vision of …

French elections 2012

So, last night the President fielded an interview on the economy ahead of an EU Summit today where the Eurozone economy is going to be the big elephant in the room under discussion. On his part, Sarkozy spelled out some potentially risky steps that he will take to buttress France from the continued effects of a struggling regional economy – an upward hike in sales tax by 1,6 points to 21,2%; A ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions that would come into effect around August. He also spoke on reducing working hours and more apprenticeships for young people (big topics especially given that unemployment is at one of its highest points – one would also add here that the logic behind the hike in sales tax is ostensibly to shift the responsibility of paying for social welfare to consumers. Therefore, employees would use the extra money to employ more people) He also struck an optimistic note, suggesting that the public deficit would turn out to be lower than predicted by about 0,4 percentage points. He …

Why Paris is the City of Love

There are several images that have come to be associated with Paris – one of which is it as a city of light, a title attributed to it as a result of its intellectual history and partly also as a fruit of its place of leadership in technological advancement in the past. Among other things, it lead the way in the diffusion of electric street lighting. Changes in the distribution of the global balance of intellectual power, however, now means that the production of knowledge is now largely in English. The French language while still holding its own, now arguably holds less relevance for the diffusion of knowledge compared to English. English has arguably become the global language of ideas. Equally so, places like Silicon valley come to mind more swiftly in any discussion of the geography of technological advancement in today’s global economy than La Defense for example. Needless to say, the ease of communication has also meant that knowledge spreads more widely so it is now more common to hear about advances in …

Super Pop corn for the workout

French electro pop and house music are perfect accompaniments for Saturday morning jogs/workouts. And my most recent discovery is this Parisian outfit, Super Pop Corn. (I strongly believe this band name sounds the most appealing when pronounced with a local accent along the lines of ‘supeur pop ceurn’) Now, whether their music is availbale via iTunes is not quite clear, but one could always keep abreast with this elctropop duo through their facebook page (click HERE):