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Sassen


The Possibility of Hope is a short 2007 documentary that accompanied the home release of the brilliant film Children of Men (a film that only becomes more pertinent) focussing on the rising fascism of everyday life, immigration, global warming and its attendant migratory flows, and the absent futures of both capitalism and (potentially) civilisation. The documentary consists of talking heads from Fabrizio Eva (human geographer), John Gray (passive nihilist/pessimist), Naomi Klein (globalisation writer), James Lovelock (Gaia theorist), Saskia Sassen (sociologist), Tzvetan Todorov (philosopher and historian), and Slavoj Zizek (spider killing monster).

While the voices of these academics intone their by turns despairing, messianic or more sober analyses, the eye is subjected to images of ruin and decay, to climatological shifts and their consequences, the flows and faces of refugees, and the armoured, disciplined bodies of armed police. Running throughout the film is an emphasis on movement and its regulation through check-points and walls, nations and ideological “spooks”, as well as the urgency and inevitability of a fundamental shift in the distribution of the species and its life ways.

The film is also available on youtube in three unsubtitled segments, for those who find them a distraction.

…hope must be informed by a realistic understanding of human beings as they are. There is a type of hope now that is a kind of blocking out reality: now I think that is a much more hopeless view.– John Gray.

richard-sennettProfessor Richard Sennett gave the following talk for Keble College on June 7, 2013:

AUDIO: Craftsmanship: Connecting the Physical and the Social

Richard Sennett (b.1943) is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. Sennett is probably best known for his studies of social ties in cities, and the effects of urban living on individuals in the modern world. He has been married to sociologist Saskia Sassen since 1987.

www.richardsennett.com