Archive That, Comrade!

Phil is proud to announce his new book, Archive That, Comrade!  Now available!   The book explores key issues of archival theory and practice that arise for any project aspiring to provide an open access platform for political dialogue and democratic debate. It is informed by the author’s experience of writing a memoir about his involvement in the London “underground” scene of the 1960s, the London street commune movement, and the occupation of 144 Piccadilly, an event that hit the world’s headlines for ten days in July 1969. After a brief introduction that sets the contemporary scene of “archive fever,” the book considers the political legacy of 1960s counterculture for what it reveals about the process of commemoration. The argument then opens out to discuss the notion of historical legacy and its role in “the dialectic of generations.” How far can the archive serve as a platform for dialogue and debate [Read More…]

London 2012  and the Post Olympic City- A Hollow Legacy ?

Edited by Phil Cohen and Paul Watt Published Palgrave Macmillan  May 2017 ISBN 987-1-137-48946-3 The strap line for 2012 was ‘Inspire a Generation’, and with the advent of the Rio Games a new chapter in Olympic history is  being  written – now is the time  to both look back and forward , and reach a considered verdict about how far that promise has been delivered. The London 2012 Olympics are widely seen as a success story. In the referendum debate the Brexiteers  made much  of a moment in which the nation came together to surmount its internal   divisions and triumphantly  stood on its own feet  to show its best face to the world. Even if the moment did not last long,  there is still an official optimism that   2012 will provide a lasting legacy of benefits to the host communities of East London.  As always there is a counter-narrative, in [Read More…]

Graphologies – Phil Cohen with Jean McNeil

Our New book from Mica Press A deliberately hybrid text, the fruit of a partnership over many years between a poet/ethnographer and a painter who have mutually enriched each other’s understanding of the meaning of place, Graphologies takes a line of thought for a walk across poetry and the visual arts, autobiography and fiction, cultural and literary studies, exploring the emotional and narrative hinterlands of the commonplace. The sparkling Introduction outlines the rationale of its poetics, while the paintings, photographs, maps and other illustrations add an important dimension to the book, extending its appeal to a wider audience. Part 1 is then a sequence of poems in which familiar objects, encounters, or relationships have in some way become strange or other. The poems are counterpointed with paintings by Jean McNeil which invoke a sense of transient things arrested in their moment of manifestation or imminent departure : a tide that [Read More…]

Forthcoming, A new Book: MATERIAL DREAMS:maps and territories in the un/making of modernity (New Title)

FORTHCOMING  FROM PALGRAVE MACMILLAN A NEW BOOK BY PHIL COHEN MATERIAL DREAMS : Maps and Territories in the un/making of Modernity The book takes the reader on a journey into the intellectual borderlands of the human sciences. Starting  from Korzybski’s famous dictum that the map is not the territory it develops a critique of both sociological realism and poststructuralism as accounts of  their articulation. Moving from the history of cartography to  autobiography and ethnography, Material Dreams argues for an alternative epistemology, underpinning a method of interdisciplinary research which can get to grips with the deeper, more unconscious ways in which individuals and groups   map and make sense of the world   while staying closely in touch with the material histories of  the specific cultures and communities  to which they belong. In the second part of the book  this approach is applied to  studies of cultures which exist in the interstitial spaces  [Read More…]

Reading Room Only: Memoir of a Radical Bibliophile

Five Leaves Press Nottingham April 2013 Political activists  are popularly  supposed to be  wild eyed visionaries or ranting dogmatists  who spend their time manning  real  or imaginary  barricades. Bibliophiles, in contrast, are expected     to be quiet retiring  academic types who send their whole lives in libraries and can only relate to the world at second hand  through books. In this memoir, Phil Cohen, alias Dr John of the London Street Commune, and erstwhile Professor of Cultural Studies  at the University of East London,  explodes these stereotypes as he re-traces his   chequered career from blitz kid  to public school dropout,   from hippy squatter  to cultural theorist, and from  urban ethnographer   to poet, through his obsession with books. 

On the Wrong Side of the Track? East London and the Post Olympics

  On the Wrong Side of the Track draws on insights from the human sciences to challenge the arguments of Olympophiles for whom the Games can do no wrong as well as Olympophobes for whom they can do no right, using 2012 as a lens through which to examine underlying trends in contemporary culture. What did the 2012 Olympics tell us about who we are, who we were, and who we want to be? This book takes 2012 as a starting point for a debate on national identity, community cohesion, urban regeneration and the persistence of inequalities in British society – from the vantage point of East London not only as the main Olympic venue but also as the main argument why Britain won its Olympic bid. Part one sets the scene, exploring the changing social and physical landscape of East London from the inside – including voices from East [Read More…]