In the middle of a revolution... so where the hell is Stringer Bell?
According to Paul Mason's account of 2011, we are in the middle of a revolution; a moment of social upheaval that must be measured against 1848, 1917 and 1968. This article assesses Mason's eloquent description of capitalist crisis by distinguishing between three different parts of it: ideological failure, politico-ideological refusal and social change. Slavoj Žižek's theories of ideology and recent commentary on 2011's revolutionary events are drawn upon to develop three sequential arguments relating to these three moments of crisis. First the paper argues that an obvious ideological failure (of neoliberalism) does not guarantee any kind of ideological rejection, by either political left or right. By extension, we must reassess the political and/or ideological refusal that characterizes many of the protest movements that were ignited by the recent economic crisis. Crucially though, this valuing of politico-ideological refusal cannot come at the expense of normative action. The paper concludes by exploring Žižek's tripartite revolutionary persona - Jack Bauer, Homer Simpson and Stringer Bell. Out of these three characters, Stringer Bell is identified as a key figure of inspiration for critical urbanists. A purveyor of illegitimate goods whose very existence relies on his non-incorporation of the 'legitimate' world of corrupt capitalism can provide a template for those who argue for another type of city. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Davidson, Mark, "In the middle of a revolution... so where the hell is Stringer Bell?" (2013). Geography. 112.