LONDON AFTERSHOCK:    Museum of London Salon Script

  This is the full script for a  salon organised by LivingMaps at the Museum of London in December 2017, as part of their City Now, City Future programme. THE GREAT DEBATE The chair and two speakers seated on platform , with lectern and mikes.   Introduction In Town Tonite sound/music sequence with accompanying visuals , freeze on STOP Announcers Voice :We halt the mighty roar of London’s traffic  to bring you : Welcome to our salon. I am Phil Cohen , Research director of Living Maps and we have put together an  evening of live performance, multimedia, debate and play  in which we will be exploring  different visions of life in London in 2049 when it has become a city of perpetual commotion, officially dedicated to those who like living life in the fast lane. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe,  some Londoners have chosen to defend themselves against future [Read More…]


 Rethinking the Youth Question with C Wright Mills  Look,mum, it comes down to something pretty simple. If I get a job when I leave school, its gonna be part time-most probably serving some rich kid  fried chicken.I’ve started to see myself like dad. And I don’t know if that’s such a bad thing. Dad does things. When he had a job he did his job. When they took that away, he had to do something else. So he picked up a parcel of drugs and drove it to Epping. When you can’t see an answer it paralyses you. I think I’d rather be like him. FIN  in The Precariat  Chris Dunkley  All there is with contingent labour is the fleeting present: the anxiety of the whirlpool we call now, running from place to place  Bruno Gulli Earthly Plenitudes  The Wage don’t fit – Sleaford Mods   There is  a  long [Read More…]

Mapping the Real : Ethno-graphology and the ‘Other Scene’

…  since Neolithic times  we have been marking down representations on cave walls, in the dirt, on parchment, trees, lunchplates, napkins, even on our own  skin-all so we could remember  where we have been, where we want to be going, where we should be going. There is a deep impulse ingrained in us to take these directions, coordinates, declarations out of the mush of our minds  and actualize them in the real world. Since making my first maps  I had learned that the representation was not the real thing, but in a way  this dissonance  was what made it so good: the  distance between the map and the territory allowed us breathing room to figure out where we stood’ Reif Larsen The Selected Works of T.S.Spivet  It is significant that ‘culture’ is sometimes described as a map. It is the analogy which occurs to an outsider  who has to find [Read More…]

Born to Flying Glass

In this talk, given to a number of  conferences and seminars in Germany, Sweden and the UK in  2005/6 I discuss a number of theoretical and methodological issues related to a research project on early  childhood memories of civilian bombing  in World War Two. View the text here:  Born To Flying Glass

Not Lost in Translation: Phil Cohen and Nora Rathzel in Dialogue on the Youth Question

This video is a short extract from a lecture ‘ Young heads,Old Shoulders’ given  to a conference of youth workers and educationalists in Hamburg. It is included to illustrate some of the issues raised by translating issues from one national context and field of discourse  to another. This Anglo-German dialogue on the Youth question was pursued further in the context of a collaborative research project  looking at young people’s sense of place, and identity in London and Hamburg. The results  were published in ‘Finding the Way’ by V & R Unipress  in 2007.  The methods  used in this research are discussed in the video  Methods in Dialogue/ Finding the Way Home.

On Pseudonyms

 This essay briefly surveys  the history of the   pseudonym, its  changing contexts  and uses, and  draws on Kripke’s theory of baptismal naming to consider some of the implications for understanding the games people play with identity. The paradox of the literary pseudonym, that it takes on a new lease of life once it is revealed, is discussed, and  also its function as a virtual identity. View the text here:  Essay on Pseudonyms

Methods in Dialogue / Finding the Way Home

This video illustrates some of the innovative methods used in a research project which explored young people’s sense of place and identity  in two deprived neighbourhoods in London’s Docklands. The aim was to provide a  space of representation in which the young people felt free to express their fears and anxieties, whether through artwork, or the  stories they told about the everyday  incidents of their lives. The implications of this approach for current debates about research methodology in the social sciences are explored.   It is linked  to the discussion on inter-disciplinarity developed in Chapter four of Borderscapes.

Depicting the Gospel of Work: From Moralised Landscape to Mechanical Reproduction

Throughout the nineteeenth century, the association of heroic forms of masculinity with manual work was adumbrated less through political rhetoric than through biblical imagery and also in aesthetics of labour developed by the painters and photographers of the first industrial revolution. We will look briefly at each in turn. View the full text here:  Phil Cohen Gospel This gallery of 120 images in  Body Politics contains the following sections:   Elemental Labour-Mummers, miners and sweeps-Time and Motion Studies-Automata- Youth culture and extreme sport-physical culture and the dream of the collective body- masculinity and  manual labour in a post industrial world.It is designed to support ‘On the wrong Side of the Track?’ and  ‘Borderscapes’.  

Glossary of Concepts

This glossary contains short essays on 12 of the key concepts used in ‘On the Wrong side of the Track?’  contextualising them in relation to current debates in the human sciences. View the full document here:  Glossary of Concepts

Beyond Storm and Stress Some reflections on War, Modernity and Youth after 9/11

In the West, during the ‘heroic’ 19th century   phase of nation and empire building ‘youth’  was placed rhetorically and actually in the front ranks of violent confrontation. Young men were cast as the main protagonists of class war and civil war, not to mention the ‘war of generations’, the struggle of the forces of modernity against tradition. In the process young women were effectively sidelined.