Sunday, 25 April 2010
A bit off topic perhaps, but just riffing on from the last post and comments. In The Culture of the New Capitalism, sociologist Richard Sennett discusses how we have moved from a culture that valued craftsmanship and experience to one in which potential is paramount. What he terms 'the specter of uselessness' now shadows workers across the board—multi degree-holding professionals and manual labourers alike. This is also an idea explored by one of my (this is Noëlle writing) favourite sociologists, Zygmunt Bauman. Over-simplifying here, but essentially ZB's thesis is that globalisation has given rise to a fluid life (liquid modernity) in which our central anxiety is the fear of being dumped or pushed aside.
You can read an interview ZB gave in 2005 here on OpenDemocracy.
How does this relate to theatre?
Well, on a personal note, I find ZB's ideas really interesting; I'm working on a piece which draws on them—still in its early stages. But secondly, and more generally, the decision of Arts NSW and the judges of this year's play entries to reallocate the $30,000 prize money from an award that recognises achievement to a development program seems bang in line with what Sennett and ZB are saying.