bluefluff's blue fluff

Friday, November 25, 2005

Like a circle in a spiral...

My first mailing for H806 arrived this morning. Excitedly tore it open, sidestepping my hangover, & was greeted by Manuel Castells! Well, his book...

Now 32 years ago, I was something of an expert on Castells. Spending a year in France as part of my degree, whilst engaged to a sociology student, & harbouring ambitions to become a translator when I grew up, I'd been asked to translate his Luttes urbaines et pouvoir politque (Urban Struggles and political power). So I sat in my rented room & did just that: 130 pages of handwritten labour. The year after, I learned photocopies were being circulated in the university, & vague thanks filtered back to me. I may even still have a copy somewhere, at the bottom of a box.

Ironically, the experience of translating the youthful Castell's dense marxist prose was probably instrumental in helping me gain such a good degree & diverting me from translation, my first love, onto the path to a doctorate, working for the OU & a decade of child-bearing. Half a lifetime on, I find myself steeped in a subject with with the same kind of passionate commitment & fascination that translation once held over me, & there he is!

It wasn't a complete surprise - I'd encountered his name a few times & thought "fancy that!" & "didn't he do well!" - but I never imagined I'd be studying his work. In a way, life has come full circle, yet it can't, of course, because the place you return to is no longer the same, & "you" is no longer the same. I want to read it now & fnd out who I am!

12 Comments:

  • At 25 November, 2005 13:55, Blogger Nogbad said…

    I've got the same parcel (it arrived while I was in the bath so soaking wet I was standing by the bedroom window talking to the postie while snow flurries swirled round my parts!).

    Now I have two copies of the Weller, a goodly collection of OLA CDs and (somewhere) reams of PT3s.

    Not heard of Castells so I'm glad hes a mate of yours :-)

    Onwards and upwards!

     
  • At 25 November, 2005 15:29, Blogger Hazeofpink said…

    Can feel your excitement from here! Did you actually get to meet Manuel Castells? Have googled and have learnt that he is now a pillar of the establishment in Berkley, California. Is he still the socialist he was, and as you say, are you the reader you were?! It's sometimes great when things 'come round' you see how far you've travelled! All the best with the course :-)

     
  • At 25 November, 2005 17:22, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    Nog - I do hope your parts have recovered from their rude awakening!

    Pink - No, we never met. The only famous person I ran into was Chaban-Delmas (mayor of Bordeaux & ex-PM at the time).
    I gather he dumped his marxism in the 80s.

    Tough decision now - do I learn about exponential growth (T175) or carry on with Rheingold, or dip into Castells? Think I might have tea while I'm deciding :-)

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 01:01, Blogger kat said…

    I want to read it now & fnd out who I am!

    But if you find out who you are, you will immediately be different, and the day after you will be ever so slightly different again. ( Like you say - different experiences etc. ) Isn't it more of a case of discovering where you want to be going or what you want to do, rather than who you are, or is it the same thing?

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 01:34, Blogger kat said…

    Just looked this bloke up. This looks interesting:
    In the trilogy, he condenses this view to the statement "our societies are increasingly structured around the bipolar opposition of the Net and the Self" (1996, p. 3). The Net means the new, networked forms of organization which are replacing vertically integrated hierachies as the dominant form of social organization. The Self, on the other hand, relates to the multiple practices through which people try to reaffirm identity and meaning in a landscape of rapid change.

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 01:52, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    Kat - yes, I'm sure you're right, though I find that approach equally tricky. Defining or constructing yourself in terms of an imagined future is all very well, but what if the future turns out to be very different when you get there? Where does that leave your identity?
    The present has a slightly better chance of standing still & letting you look at it, I feel. Even if it does wriggle a lot!

    I like your Castells excerpt. I've only read the foreword of this one (The Internet Galaxy) yet, but I was immediately struck by very similar comments about horizontal networks replacing vertical hierarchies. It ties in so neatly with Bob Taylor...

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 02:24, Blogger kat said…

    "Where does that leave your identity?"

    An ever changing identity. Don't worry about it. :-) I don't want to stay the same person forever. Ruts are appalling - change is good. I believe that more and more as time goes on. If things change and I have to alter my plans I try to make the best of the good things in the changes and more often than not the changes have turned out to be for the best. I have lived too long with the fear of change - It is evil. I can't say that I am completely free of the fear, by any means, but I am getting there. I don't think I've got a choice. Things change and that's the end of it. It is how you deal with it, that counts. There are some things I haven't been brave enough to change for myself but I am getting better at handling those which are almost forced upon me. Oh and I have let go of the biggest disability of them all - Perfection.

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 03:16, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    I don't think you can ever kill perfectionism, but you can maybe neutralise it by putting it "over there", outside, where you can look at it & maybe choose to ignore what it says. As long as it's inside, you've no hope. You just carry on going round in circles, rationalising all sorts of unwise behaviour by saying "I'm doing my best, & my best is what I have to do." You can't allow yourself to make mistakes, so you deny that they are mistakes.

    I've lived with a neurotic perfectionist for 52 years, Kat. I know her sneaky ways all too well.

    I'm not disagreeing with you, btw. I invited change into my life this year & feel better for it. But I've also learned my limits - there's a point where you can disassemble your identity to such an extent that you risk not being able to reconstruct it.

    Take care :-)

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 04:03, Blogger kat said…

    I don't think it is a case of losing my identity - No way would I do that! ( I used to have reoccurring nightmares about that sort of thing when I was little - A cameraman turned everyone into a yellow coat hanger with cloths on. :-)). For me it is finding or rather going back to my true identity. I have lived a big chunk of my life reluctantly doing what I thought other people expected of me and I don't know why I did that because I didn't start out that way. :-) I suppose I want to make the best of my life - I don't want to waste it worrying about what other people think.

     
  • At 26 November, 2005 04:09, Blogger kat said…

    By other people, I mean those who do not have my best interest at heart and those who have narrowminded views about the way other people should live. I am not a yellow coat hanger. :-)

     
  • At 01 December, 2005 08:29, Blogger Morning-Loves-It said…

    Lots of Castells in DD304 'Understanding Cities' a lovely course.

     
  • At 01 December, 2005 12:11, Blogger Bluefluff said…

    morning - that one is on my list of "60 point courses I might consider if there was ever room in my life for a 60 point course", along with a dozen or so others, including AT308 (Cities & Technology). One of these lives I may take it!

     

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