Articles by: Paul James

Author Biography:

Paul James is a researcher in the Institute for Culture and Society at the Western Sydney University. He is Scientific Advisor to the City of Berlin, and a Metropolis Ambassador of Urban Innovation. He has been an editor of Arena since 1986, and is author or editor of numerous books including Globalization Matters: Engaging the Global in Unsettled Times (with Manfred Steger, Cambridge University Press, 2019).

Whither Religion in a World of Compounding Crises?

Introduction to Arena Journal no. 49/50, June 2018. By Stephen Ames, Ian Barns, John Hinkson, Paul James and Gordon Preece

Informit: Whither religion in a world of compounding crises?

Though a significant minority across the world enjoy the gross material benefits of a prodigiously productive global economy, our planet is at the same time beset by escalating system-level crises. Deep economic inequality is intensifying both between and within national polities. Ecological degradation is calling into question the future of the earth as we know it, with disruptive climate change only the most prominent issue. Global (dis)order is stoking increased militarisation, including the possession of…

Informit: What does it mean ontologically to be religious?

What does it mean to say that we live in a secular age? This simple question, the first sentence of Charles Taylor's extraordinary book 'A Secular Age', is deceptively complex - and a bad place to start. Any approach that begins with a question that presumes so much, and then continues without changing the terms of that question, is bound to reach an impasse. Even when developed with sophistication, such an approach is limited either…

Informit: Food, and the unsettling of the human condition

Food is basic to human existence. Across the entire period that humans have lived on this planet, food has been central to our social being. The production, exchange, consumption and narrating of the meaning of food has been, and continues to be, fundamental to every family, community, ethnic grouping, religion, nation and civilisation. Food nourishes us - body and soul. It gives us energy - material and social. Eating together is a focus of personal…

Trump: Yes, Fascist, by Paul James

Paul James

21 Jan 2017

This is the ‘unthinkable’ threat that Philip Roth foretold in his novel The Plot Against America.

Foundation Arena Articles: Paul James

Paul James

1 Jan 2017

Four articles by Paul James (one with Freya Carkeek), from the eighties and early nineties: 'Australia in the Corporate Image: A New Nationalism', 'The Nation and its Post-Modern Critics', ' Theory Without Practice: The Work of Anthony Giddens', and ' This Abstract Body'

Informit: Changing forms of economy and class

Dealing adequately with themes as fundamental as 'economy' and 'class' takes incredibly systematic theoretical work. This complexity is compounded when adding in issues of changing historical context, contemporary social consequence and intersecting ontological formations - issues that writers associated with Arena have over the last fifty years sought to think through with considerable intensity. With these demands, adequately theorizing economy and class becomes a massive task. It needs to draw upon different disciplines, from anthropology…

Informit: Exit Europe, stage right

On that Friday morning, people were in shock. Britain's citizens woke up on 25 June to find out they had decided to leave the EU. Their decision taken in 1975 to confirm membership of the European Community had been reversed, and nobody was sure what it meant. The morning papers did not herald the reversal. They had gone to press too early to know. In London, as people stood in queues for morning coffee at…

Editorial – Issue 41/42 ‘People, Planet and the Anthropocene: Spectators of Our Own Demise?’, by Paul James

Humans now have the capacity to produce synthetic life-forms (since 2010) and to destroy life on this planet as we know it (since 1952). It is only by recognizing this point — that we are now reconstituting the very basis of nature — that adequate acknowledgement of the Anthropocene starts to hit home.

Informit: Nationalism and post-nationalism: reply to Joan Cocks [Cocks, J. Fetishizing Ethnicity, Locality, Nationality: The Curious Case of Tom Nairn; in no.10, 1998.]

Informit: Lest we forget [The new meaning of black armband nationalism.]

Informit: Making modernity from the Mashriq to the Maghreb

The recent wave of revolutions across the Arab world has brought to the surface the contradictions in popular understandings of the Middle East and North Africa. The place of the region in the global history of modernity has been unsettled yet again. It is possible to identify several major trends in responses to the momentous events, coinciding with various stages in the unfolding of the revolutions. Firstly, many commentators embraced the early stages of the…