Juan del Nido (Manchester): 'Uber and gladiatorial truths: the moral traction of popular choice in Global South late capitalism'
|Starts:||17:00 29 Jan 2020|
|Ends:||18:30 29 Jan 2020|
|What is it:||Seminar|
|Organiser:||School of Arts, Languages and Cultures|
|Speaker:||Juan del Nido|
Abstract: Based on my fieldwork into the logics, rhetoric and affects surrounding the Uber conflict in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I will examine how the middle class’ conviction that “Uber is what the people want” cast a political, economic and cultural conflict in a moral grammar perversely difficult to get rid of. Among late capitalist subjectivities “choice” appears as a moral good and a site of a raw, unmediated legitimate truth claim I refer to as a “gladiatorial truth”, based on popular support. The latter became the (allegedly) unassailable ground from where the middle class argued that the justice system and the city administration should either drop the case against Uber or design a legal framework for it. I will show how the “near-fanatical obsession” (Chhotray 2011) with unmediated popular politics in our times hinges ultimately on the neoclassical individual, perfectly rational and informed, who knows what they want and need better than anyone else – including, and especially, institutional authorities. I will analyse the effect of gladiatorial truths on democratic and representative legitimacy among peoples already disenchanted in institutions; the perversity of its affront to public policy premised on institutions and expertise; and the economic and political impact of gladiatorial truths’ narrow emphasis on “the bottom line”.
Part of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies seminar series.
Juan del Nido
Role: ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Social Anthropology
Organisation: The University of Manchester
Travel and Contact Information
Samuel Alexander Building