Friday, 30 September 2016

Batley and Spen, pot noodles and the decline of Tolerance..the legacy of Brexit....

It is no accident that the Batley and Spen by election has brought out the worst. Two of the candidates are using descriptions that strongly ressemble the words shouted by the assaialnt and killer of Jo Cox. One has even empassised it by including an exclamation mark. How has it come to this. The national Front and the English democrats have crawled out of the woodwork using their hatefull bile and accusations to make capital out of this womens murder. The by election will occur on October 20.
Richard Charles Edmonds - National Front
David Furness - British National Party Local People
Therese Hirst - English Democrats: ‘Putting England First!’

In Wales we have seen the use of mid Wales by britain First to set up a training camp and we have seen vists to South Wales of its leadership. However the thing that gives me a really good belly laugh is the fact that the boys of britain First were fed by good old fashioned "British" real pot noddles.

I have included a report by Hope not Hate on how we have changed Its sad and must cause us all to reflect
How Brexit changed us
Britain is now a more polarised, divided and anxious country and the divisions are likely to grow over the next few years. Nick Lowlesreflects on how Brexit has changed the political situation. The decision to leave the European Union has fundamentally changed Britain. We have a new Prime Minister, there are leadership elections in both the Labour Party and UKIP and we could be about to see a new and very well funded nationalist party. Economically, the pound has slumped, confidence has evaporated and house prices, in London at least, stagnated. And socially, we have seen a huge spike in racist attacks and uncertainty about amongst the three million EU nationals living in this country. Britain is in a nervous state and it has every right to be. To understand how the Referendum campaign and the decision to leave the EU have changed opinions, HOPE not hate commissioned another Fear and HOPE report. In the week after the Referendum, the polling organisation Populus asked 4,035 people in England a total of 84 questions about their attitudes to race, identity, multiculturalism and their thoughts on the EU Referendum itself.
Like our previous Fear and HOPE reports, we divided the population into six identity tribes, depending on their attitudes to immigration, multiculturalism, cohesion and violence. The two groups most open to immigration and supportive of multiculturalism were the Confident multiculturalists (22% of the population) and Mainstream Liberals (16%), while the two most hostile were Active Enmity (7%) and Latent Hostiles (13%). English population by segment As the table on the right shows, there has been a growth in the two liberal groups since February’s 2016 Fear and HOPEreport. I will explain the reason for this later in the article. The two groups in the middle are theCulturally Concerned (16%), slightly older, more affluent voters who have cultural concerns around immigration and integration, and Immigrant ambivalence (26%), who are generally ok about immigration but worried about further immigration because of their economic anxieties. With many of the questions the same as we asked in February’s 2016 Fear & HOPE report, we were able to see if and how the views of the English had changed as a result of the Referendum and its outcome. The polling found England has become a more polarised society as a result of the Referendum. 63% of respondents believe Britain is more divided as a result of the vote and there has been an increase in the numbers of people who believe there are tensions between different communities at a local and national level. Just 12% of people disagreed. Is Britain more divided as a result of the referendum When asked about community tensions, 62% of people agreed with the statement that there was rising tension between ethnic groups, whilst 38% of people thought groups got on well together. The divided nation is also reflected in how we voted in the Referendum, with those more comfortable with immigration and a multicultural society generally voting to Remain, whilst those most opposed voting overwhelmingly to Leave. How segments voted in EU Referendum There were also diverging views on the Referendum campaign itself. People who voted to Remain in the EU overwhelming believed the Leave campaign ran a racist and anti-immigrant campaign. Leave voters, unsurprisingly, had quite the opposite view. Leave voters, though, believed strongly that the Remain campaign exaggerated the negative economic consequences of leaving the EU, whilst Remain voters were more evenly split. Despite these obvious and widening divisions in English society, the public as a whole appears to have adopted more positive views to immigration and a multicultural society. Our 2016 Fear and HOPE report shows a significant shift in opinion towards the two tribes that are more positive to immigration and multiculturalism – up from 24% in 2011 to 32% in February 2016. Professor Rob Ford and I attribute this to a growing confidence in the economy easing some of the economic anxieties and rapidly changing demographics and attitudes among young people. The new poll seems to suggest a continuation of the movement, with now the two most liberal tribes making up 38% of society. At the same time, the two most hostile groups have shrunk from 24% to 21%. The Culturally Concerned group has shrunk from 24% to 16%, while the Identity Ambivalents (who have the economic concerns over immigration) has grown from 20% to 26%. Political affiliation by segment
A few things seem to have happened. The Referendum result has pleased those who voted for the UK to leave the EU and, as a result, they are arguably less angry than they were a few months ago and certainly less angry than they would have been if the vote had been to remain in the EU.
Paradoxically, the two most liberal tribes are overwhelmingly furious with the tone of the Referendum campaign and the result. These factors have reinforced and hardened their own support for immigration and multiculturalism and this is reflected in even stronger views on these issues in our poll. Horrified at the result and the increase in racist incidents, the liberal 48% are now the angry outsiders. However, there is perhaps a third explanation for the shift and that is the death of Jo Cox. Her murder, a week before the Referendum vote shocked the country and a sudden reluctance to air strong anti-immigrant views appears to be partly responsible for the sudden reversal in the opinion polls, many of which showed strong Leave leads becoming significant Remain leads in the final few days.
Perhaps, our pollsters have argued, it suddenly become socially unacceptable for some in the Culturally Concerned tribe to publicly articulate views that might have motivated Jo Cox’s killer. This reasoning might explain why fewer people who voted Leave in the Referendum cited stopping or limiting immigration as their primary reason for voting how they did than when similar questions were asked by pollsters before Jo Cox’s murder.

According to our poll, 45% of those voting to leave the EU cited sovereignty over decision-making as their primary reason, with 35% citing controlling immigration. Amongst the Culturally Concerned tribe, the gap was even bigger, with 51% choosing sovereignty over 27% stating immigration. Most important reason to vote leave Most important reason to vote leave While it would be totally wrong to suggest that everyone voting to leave the EU did so just because of immigration or are indeed are racist, it would seem clear that Jo Cox’s death made some people more reluctant to state anti-immigrant views. The optimistic pessimists The polarisation in society following the Referendum vote is reflected in attitudes about the future. Those voting for the UK to Remain are pessimistic about the economic wellbeing of the country, while those who voted Leave are suddenly super-optimistic. The polling shows a startling turnaround in attitudes. Expectation of national economic circumstances Expectation of national economic circumstances In our February Fear and HOPE survey, 69% of our Latent Hostile tribe and 68% of the Active Enmity tribe felt pessimistic about the future. Now, 55% of Latent Hostiles think the economy will improve in the future (with just 16% believing it will get worse) and 49% of the Active Enmity group thinking the same (with 20% thinking things will get worse). Conversely, 69% of Confident Multiculturalists and 68% of Mainstream Liberals think the UK economy will worsen over the next few years (with only 10% and 14% thinking it will get better). Back in February, 70% and 67% of these groups were optimistic about the future. This remarkable optimism amongst the Latent Hostiles and Active Enmity groups is mirrored in their belief that the British government will be more able to control immigration. 81% of Latent Hostiles and 83% of the Active Enmity tribe expect the government to be able to limit immigration, with just 2% and 5% respectively thinking the government will be less able to limit immigration and 17% and 12% believing that leaving the EU will make no difference. Post Brexit ability to limit immigration Expectation of national economic circumstances The divisions in society was clearly illustrated when people were asked about Britian’s future outside the EU. 85% of Latent Hostiles, 83% of the Active Enmity tribe and even 72% of the Cultrually concerned, felt Britain could thrive outside the EU and the single market. Just 27% of Confident Multiculturals and 30% of Maninstream liberals thought Britain would thrive. This newfound optimism amongst the two groups most hostile to immigration and multiculturalism is likely to be short-lived as the reality of life outside the EU begins to bite. The demographic makeup of these two groups means that they are likely to be adversely affected by job losses – especially in the manufacturing industry – and any reduction in public spending. And when the penny drops, these people are likely to get very angry and will probably take even more anti-establishment views. Enter Arron Banks, the main financier of UKIP over the last few years, and his promise to put £10 million of his own fortune into a new right wing nationalist party. It will not be difficult for Banks, a British Donald Trump, to convince them that they have been sold out yet again by the political elite rather than their own unrealistic expectations. And with the Labour Party in complete disarray, the prospects of Banks’ new party eating deeper into Labour’s heartlands in the north are both real and frightening. While Theresa May will undoubtedly experience a honeymoon period and a significant bounce in the polls, this could also well be short-lived. Negotiations with the EU will not be easy and, despite the bullish headlines of some of the media and politicians, the UK will not be entering them from a position of strength. Britain will clearly not get the deal it wants and there will be significant areas of compromise. However, our polling shows that there is little appetite for compromise amongst many of those who voted Leave. A hefty majority of Leave voters believes Britain can thrive successfully outside the EU and the single market, the probable requirement if the government is to halt free movement of labour as it has promised to do. Similarly, 57% of the Culturally Concerned, 76% of Latent Hostiles and 87% of the Active Enmity group thought leaving the single market was a price worth paying to stop unlimited EU migration into Britain. Only 17%, 7% and 5% of these three groups thought that the economic consequences of leaving the single market would be so dire that they would support continuing free movement in return for staying inside it. And there would appear little group for compromise, at the moment at least. Some politicians and business leaders have floated the possibility of a deal whereby the UK retains access to the single market in return for continuing to pay into the EU budget and accepting a limited number of EU citizens migrating to the UK each year. Quite apart from whether other EU countries will accept this – and the early indications are that they won’t – opinion is split. 41% of people said that such a compromise would be acceptable to them, whilst 40% deemed it unacceptable. A third of people thought such a deal was likely, with 49% believing it unlikely. Acceptability and likelihood of single market settlement Acceptability and likelihood of single market settlement However, amongst the three groups to the right of our tribe scale, opinion is strongly against such a compromise. Just over half (53%) of the Culturally Concerned saw it as unacceptable, compared to 39% who believed it as acceptable. Amongst Latent Hostiles this gap was 70% to 19% and amongst Active Enmity it was 67% to 13%. Pragmatic views Whilst many people clearly have strong anti-immigrant views and these are unlikely to change in the short-term, there is also a pragmatism amongst many people in the middle about immigration policy and this should give some reason for optimism.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Pot Noddles and the Devil`s music hatred amd intolerance from then to now.......

What is happening to us. Wales turning racist? or has it allways been so.. Here is a picture taken in Swansea museum condemning Jazz as the Devils music. Swansea museum of their 'jazz in south wales' display. 

The text on the photo can be read if you zoom in. You can read of local opposition to jazz in the swansea valley in the photo text, but some accompanying text in the museum display also mentions ministers in local welsh chapels in Altwen and Pontardawe condemning Jazz and warning their parishioners. The 20s and the 30s were a period of rising nationalism, of looking inwards and blaming the other. A bit like now if you like......
Members of Britain First have been in the Welsh mountains holding what they described as an “activist training camp”.
A dozen people took part in the camp in the mountains of Snowdonia, where they said they learned things including self-defence, martial arts, knife defence, survival techniques, rough camping and mountain climbing. I hope the pot Noddles are "British"..........

Mistress' diaries detail Mussolini's racism

Mistress' diaries detail Mussolini's racism Alessandra Rizzo, Associated Press Published 4:00 am, Sunday, November 29, 2009
Benito Mussolini was a fierce anti-Semite, who proudly said that his hatred for Jews preceded Adolf Hitler's and who vowed to "destroy them all," according to previously unpublished diaries by the Fascist dictator's longtime mistress.
According to the diaries, Mussolini also talked about the warm reception he received from Hitler at the 1938 Munich conference - he called the German leader a "softy" - and attacked Pope Pius XI for his criticism of Nazism and Fascism. On a more intimate note, Mussolini was explicit about his sexual appetites for his mistress and said he regretted having affairs with several other women. The dairies kept by Claretta Petacci, Mussolini's mistress, between 1932 and 1938 are the subject of a book coming out this week titled "Secret Mussolini." Excerpts were published Monday by Italy's leading daily Corriere della Sera and confirmed by publisher Rizzoli. Historians said the diaries appeared to be convincing and reinforced the image that Mussolini was strongly anti-Semitic, even though early on there was some Jewish support for his Fascist movement. But they cautioned that these are the diaries of the dictator's lover - not Mussolini himself - and therefore must be taken with a grain of salt. Corriere said the diaries shed new light on Mussolini, who had been seen as more obsequious toward the pope and "dubious" over Italy's racial laws, which led to widespread persecution of Italian Jews. Many of the excerpts that were published date to 1938, a crucial year during which Mussolini's Fascist regime passed the racial laws and Europe sealed its appeasement toward Nazi Germany at the Munich conference. "I have been a racist since 1921. I don't know how they can think I'm imitating Hitler," Mussolini is quoted as boasting in August 1938. "We must give Italians a sense of race." Italy's racial laws restricted the rights of Jews and expelled them from government, university and other fields. In 1943, German troops occupied northern and central Italy, and thousands of Jews were deported. According to some researchers, there were 32,000 Jews in 1943 in Italy, of whom more than 8,000 were deported to Nazi concentration camps. "These disgusting Jews, I must destroy them all," his lover quoted Mussolini as saying in October 1938. At another point he calls them "enemies" and "reptiles," according to the excerpts. Mussolini also denounced Pius XI, who saw the rise of anti-Semitism in the last years of his 1922-39 papacy as harming the Catholic Church. Pius commissioned an encyclical to denounce racism and the violent nationalism of Germany, but he died before releasing it and it was never published. The Fascist dictator said that "there never was a pope as harmful to religion" as Pius XI and accused him of doing "undignified things, such as saying we are similar to the Semites," according to the excerpts.
For years, the Vatican has struggled to defend Pius' successor - the wartime Pope Pius XII - against claims he didn't do enough to save Jews from the Holocaust. Mussolini had kind words for Hitler, whom he said was "very nice" and had tears in his eyes when he met the Italian dictator in Munich. "Hitler is a big softy, deep down," Mussolini is quoted as telling Petacci on Oct. 1, 1938, shortly after the conference. Mussolini also wrote to Petacci about his "mad desire" for her "little body" and his regret over having had relations with other women. "I adore you and I'm a fool. I mustn't make you suffer," he was quoted as saying.
Mussolini and Petacci were shot by partisans on April 28, 1945, and their bodies were displayed to a jeering crowd hanging upside down from a gas station in a Milan square. Piero Melograni, a historian who has written several books on Fascism and World War II, said the excerpts were "convincing in terms of the character that emerges and therefore the authenticity of the diaries."He said the diaries appear to strengthen the notion of a strongly anti-Semitic Mussolini, as demonstrated by the 1938 laws and several speeches. But he said the personal quotes almost "humanize" him.
Another prominent historian, Giovanni Sabbatucci, said that while he has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the diaries, he is less sure of their historical significance because they might not reflect Mussolini's real thoughts. "We must not forget that, even when authentic, we are reading what a mistress was writing about what her lover told her," he said in a phone interview.

Jews in Italy under Fascist and Nazi Rule

It is certainly no understatement to say that Benito Mussolini was a complex personality who led Italy from rebuilding after World War I to catastrophe and defeat in World War II. Perhaps a major part of his personality was the ability to create the illusion that his threatening pronouncements were not to be taken seriously.
The popular image of Mussolini is that of a nationalist, dragged into anti-Semitism by his desire to appease his neighbor to the north, Nazi Germany. According to this book, nothing could be further from the truth. As early as 1909, when Adolph Hitler was an unknown twenty-year-old, Mussolini was writing of a caricature from a ghetto, who had “the hooked nose of the true Semite.” Four years later he became the editor of the anti-Semitic Avanti!newspaper. In 1930-1931, before Hitler’s rise to power, Mussolini essentially excluded Jews from professional societies.
In retrospect it is hard to believe, but Mussolini was so adept at covering his anti-Semitic sentiments that numerous Jews were amongst his earliest supporters. Disillusion came only later. After all, Mussolini promulgated a message of Italian nationalism, and many Jews saw their future as loyal citizens of a new and strong Italy.
Italy was not Germany. It can well be argued that Mussolini’s anti-Semitism was cultural and religious, not racial. He dangled the promise that Italian Jews who served the country honorably in the “Great War” would be exempt from increasingly harsh restrictive laws; the impression, though, was better than the reality. Very few Jews evaded restrictions. There were Italian “red lines” that did not exist in Germany. It was only after the German occupation of Italy in 1943 that Italian Jews were deported and murdered.
There were those Nazis who were uncomfortable with the deportation of Jews. There were those Italians who risked their lives to save Jews. And there were those who followed German orders with enthusiasm. At the individual level it is hard to generalize about Italian acquiescence to Nazi rule. The Roman Catholic Church, however, is different. It is a hierarchic institution with an ultimate leader, who bears final responsibility for the actions of his organization. The book devotes considerable discussion to the role of the Church in anti-Jewish actions.
As a preface to discussion of the Church it must be noted that Roman Catholicism, the predominate religion in Italy, is taken extremely seriously by the average person. Thus, the pronouncements of the Church have strong significance in the formulation of public opinion and action.
According to this book Giacomo Paolo Giovanni Battista della Chiesa, better known as Pope Benedict XV, set the tone of papal thinking when he declared that it is a Christian’s duty to adhere to those in authority. His successor, Pius XI followed that line until it became untenable. He remained silent in the face of racism and murder until his conscience dictated that he had to change course. He ordered the drafting of a papal statement opposing Nazi policies, but the document was held up in the Church bureaucracy. He passed away before he could approve it.
Pius XI was consistently undercut by Eugencio Pacelli (Pius XII), his successor, who remained silent on the issue of Nazi atrocities. The author of one essay goes to great length to prove that Pacelli never issued a papal encyclical condemning or even disapproving Nazi action. He remained silent (even verbally) in his effort to “save the Church.” (One can only wonder cynically why the physical Church was more to him than moral values.)
Not all, however, was negative. There were Roman Catholic religious institutions that saved Jews, sometimes from true humanitarian concern, and sometimes as an inducement to conversion. In one curious case a Church organization saved Jews during the war and former Fascists and Nazis after the fighting stopped.
If Pius XII was bothered by anything, it was that the Nazis still considered Jews converted to Catholicism as Jews.
How much did Pius XII know about local Church organizations protecting and saving Jews? According to this book, he probably was aware of a general picture, but he never received specific details. Again, he acted in accordance with his general behavior. He kept silent.
A strong condemnation of Pius XII is in the 1963 drama, “The Deputy,” by Rolf Hochhuth. An essay in this books details how Hochhuth’s work (later made into both a Broadway play and a movie) stirred world consciousness.
Pius XII is not alone in the atmosphere of silence. Recently declassified American communications intelligence documents show that the Allies knew of Nazis opposing the deportations from Italy. They knew the routes of the trains and even the numbers of the cars. Could the Allies have done more to thwart the mass murders that followed deportation? We shall never know.
This book is highly recommended as an introduction to the fate of Jews during Fascist and subsequent Nazi rule in Italy. The essays by a variety of authors together paint a picture of a small Jewish community tormented as a scapegoat, the disdain for which was used to unite the country under a dictatorial leadership. The book also succeeds in analyzing the situation of Italy --- very different from Germany. The book is certainly worth reading

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

“I am an old scholar, much better looking than when I was young. That is what sitting on your arse does to your face “

I have tried to live my life with these core principles: social and environmental justice, which supports a radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole. To understand that the threats to economic, social and environmental well-being are part of the same problem, and recognise that solving one of these crises cannot be achieved without solving the others. Humankind depends on the diversity of the natural world for its existence. We do not believe that other species are expendable.
The Earth's physical resources are finite. We threaten our future if we try to live beyond those means, so we must build a sustainable society that guarantees our long-term future. Every person, in this and future generations, should be entitled to basic material security as of right.

Our actions should take account of the well-being of other nations, other species, and future generations. We should not pursue our well-being to the detriment of theirs.
A healthy society is based on voluntary co-operation between empowered individuals in a democratic society, free from discrimination whether based on race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, religion, social origin or any other prejudice.
We emphasise democratic participation and accountability by ensuring that decisions are taken at the closest practical level to those affected by them.
We look for non-violent solutions to conflict situations, which take into account the interests of minorities and future generations in order to achieve lasting settlements.
The success of a society cannot be measured by narrow economic indicators, but should take account of factors affecting the quality of life for all people: personal freedom, social equity, health, happiness and human fulfilment.
Electoral politics is not the only way to achieve change in society, and we will use a variety of methods, including lifestyle changes, to help effect progress, providing those methods do not conflict with our other core principles.
In dark times like this and amidst my imperfections and those of the society I live in . I do my best and try to live up these principles.

 I am an old scholar, much better looking than why I was young. Thats what sitting on your arse does to your face “

"Get over it, Move on the leitmotiv of the political now"

I watched the Trump Clinton debate. It echoes debates all around the world, There is the simplistic closing of the mind. Many have been seduced by the simplistic refrain of being anti immigrant. It is inspiring that Jeremy Corbyn refuses to say he will talk numbers on immigrants. It is wonderful that he states that the problems caused by immigration are not the problems of the immigrants bit are the problems of the economic system. These are the problems of how housing and education are provided for, Immigration does effect communities and does effects wages and services and so it is the job of government to build sufficient houses , to provide schools and services necessary. Th job of a political party is to educate, inform, advise and to help. It is not to pander to Farage, Trump or Marine Le Pen. Its job not to pander to the daily mail and the Sun. Shortages are caused by economic decisions not migrants. Politics is more than the cynical “move on, get over it” Its the shorthand that so many pseudo racists and the new right use. Its a leitmotiv of the continuing hope of the Right for the continuation Thatcher revolution. Its the leitmotiv of closing your door and your eyes to the community. Its the leitmotiv of branding the other ,the scrounger and the parasite.
Yesterday morning whilst having breakfast I began to reflect on the Jeremy Corbyn interview on the Andrew Marr show. It was refreshing, open and suggested the beginning of a new politics. It seems open , tentative and embracing of many strands of thought and outlook. It stresses the
collective , yet also includes the interdependence of individuals across cultures, communities and life style.
 Then   I Iremembered another Jeremy who has been in the news recently. That Jeremy was of course Jeremy Kyle.Kyle's approach is simplistic, it is “get a job” ( no mention of the minimum wages, no understanding of deskilling, no appreciation of the nature of modern work, no understanding of globalisation, the rise of the multinational and the impersonation of large sections of the public, and the rise of the conservative simplistic agenda), “put something on the end of it” ( no appreciation of the complexity of human passion, no appreciation of the poor quality of sexual education in our schools and and no understanding of how broken and vulnerable that we all are) and finally “give up drugs” ( no understanding of addiction, the wide availability of drugs and the failure of the so called war upon drugs). Kyle solutions are simplistic , individual and crass beyond belief.
There is an analogy between Kyle's outlook and the simplistic model of conservatism. Conservatism equated the national economy with the family budget. It draws parallels between how both work. It ignores the fact that a a modern states political economy produces its own currency, has imports and exports and commits itself to the illusion of debt. The modern individual , or family does not have this choice. The logic of the Kyle show promotes a similar myth, the analogy it draws is toxic , shameful and gives simplistic Cognitive Behavioural approaches to complex situations stored in structures going back many years, are ignored, denied and hidden.
The Kyle show is a conservative approach to the problems of modern life, of our loves and our relationships. Austerity is the Cognitive behavioural Therapy of this Conservative government. It is simplistic and lacks a real understanding of the numerous problems that we all face.
Of course Cognitive Behavioural approaches has
value when allied with wide ranging approaches and means of analysis but simple fundamental approaches offer little. Conservatism has become a religion, Corbyn,the Green Party and similar movements stress the challenge that dissent brings to the high priests of neo liberalism. As Thoreau once said “ certainty is the hobgoblin of the closed mind”. Perhaps we should add simplistic solutions as a new example of the closed mind. The main stream
politicians even look like Kyle is this an accident I wonder?.

“[Charity] is not a solution [to poverty]: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible…Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good…” Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Bourdieu and ‘Habitus’

Raul Leon 016The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu approaches power within the context of a comprehensive ‘theory of society’ which – like that of Foucault – we can’t possibly do justice to here, or easily express in the form of applied methods (Navarro 2006). And although his subject was mainly Algerian and French society, we have found Bourdieu’s approach useful in analysing power in development and social change processes (see the articles by Navarro, Moncrieffe, Eyben and Taylor and Boser in Eyben, Harris et. al. 2006; Navarro offers a particularly solid introduction to Bourdieu’s method).
While Foucault sees power as ‘ubiquitous’ and beyond agency or structure, Bourdieu sees power as culturally and symbolically created, and constantly re-legitimised through an interplay of agency and structure. The main way this happens is through what he calls ‘habitus’ or socialised norms or tendencies that guide behaviour and thinking. Habitus is ‘the way society becomes deposited in persons in the form of lasting dispositions, or trained capacities and structured propensities to think, feel and act in determinant ways, which then guide them’ (Wacquant 2005: 316, cited in Navarro 2006: 16).
Habitus is created through a social, rather than individual process leading to patterns that are enduring and transferrable from one context to another, but that also shift in relation to specific contexts and over time. Habitus ‘is not fixed or permanent, and can be changed under unexpected situations or over a long historical period’ (Navarro 2006: 16):
Habitus is neither a result of free will, nor determined by structures, but created by a kind of interplay between the two over time: dispositions that are both shaped by past events and structures, and that shape current practices and structures and also, importantly, that condition our very perceptions of these (Bourdieu 1984: 170). In this sense habitus is created and reproduced unconsciously, ‘without any deliberate pursuit of coherence… without any conscious concentration’ (ibid: 170).
A second important concept introduced by Bourdieu is that of ‘capital’, which he extends beyond the notion of material assets to capital that may be social, cultural or symbolic (Bourdieu 1986: cited in Navarro 2006: 16). These forms of capital may be equally important, and can be accumulated and transferred from one arena to another (Navarro 2006: 17). Cultural capital – and the means by which it is created or transferred from other forms of capital – plays a central role in societal power relations, as this ‘provides the means for a non-economic form of domination and hierarchy, as classes distinguish themselves through taste’ (Gaventa 2003: 6). The shift from material to cultural and symbolic forms of capital is to a large extent what hides the causes of inequality.
These ideas are elaborated at length in Bourdieu’s classic study of French society, Distinction (1986), in which he shows how the ‘social order is progressively inscribed in people’s minds’ through ‘cultural products’ including systems of education, language, judgements, values, methods of classification and activities of everyday life (1986: 471). These all lead to an unconscious acceptance of social differences and hierarchies, to ‘a sense of one’s place’ and to behaviours of self-exclusion (ibid: 141).
A third concept that is important in Bourdieu’s theory is the idea of ‘fields’, which are the various social and institutional arenas in which people express and reproduce their dispositions, and where they compete for the distribution of different kinds of capital (Gaventa 2003: 6). A field is a network, structure or set of relationships which may be intellectual, religious, educational, cultural, etc. (Navarro 2006: 18). People often experience power differently depending which field they are in at a given moment (Gaventa 2003: 6), so context and environment are key influences on habitus:
‘Bourdieu (1980) accounts for the tensions and contradictions that arise when people encounter and are challenged by different contexts. His theory can be used to explain how people can resist power and domination in one [field] and express complicity in another’ (Moncrieffe 2006: 37)
Fields help explain the differential power, for example, that women experience in public or private, as Moncrieffe shows in her interview with a Ugandan woman MP who has public authority but is submissive to her husband when at home (2006: 37). This has been widely observed by feminist activists and researchers, and is another way of saying that women and men are socialised to behave differently in ‘public, private and intimate’ arenas of power (VeneKlasen and Miller 2002). See gender perspectives on power and a New Weave of Power chapter 3 Power and Empowerment.
A final important concept in Bourdieu’s understanding of power is that of ‘doxa’, which is the combination of both orthodox and heterodox norms and beliefs – the unstated, taken-for-granted assumptions or ‘common sense’ behind the distinctions we make. Doxa happens when we ‘forget the limits’ that have given rise to unequal divisions in society: it is ‘an adherence to relations of order which, because they structure inseparably both the real world and the thought world, are accepted as self-evident’ (Bourdieu 1984: 471).
Bourdieu also uses the term ‘misrecognition’, which is akin to Marxian ideas of ‘false consciousness’ (Gaventa 2003: 6), but working at a deeper level that transcends any intent at conscious manipulation by one group or another. Unlike the Marxian view, ‘misrecognition’ is more of a cultural than an ideological phenomenon, because it ‘embodies a set of active social processes that anchor taken-for-granted assumptions into the realm of social life and, crucially, they are born in the midst of culture. All forms of power require legitimacy and culture is the battleground where this conformity is disputed and eventually materialises amongst agents, thus creating social differences and unequal structures’ (Navarro 2006: 19).
While much of this may sound abstract, Bourdieu’s theories are firmly grounded in a wide body of sociological research, and across a range of social issues. Part of his appeal, in fact, is that his research is so prolific and empirically documented. Another appeal of Bourdieu for politically committed researchers is that he sees sociological method as part of the process of change. Careful analysis can help to reveal the power relations that have been rendered invisible by habitus and misrecognition (Navarro 2006: 19).
Bourdieu proposed a ‘reflexive sociology’– in which one recognises one’s biases, beliefs and assumptions in the act of sense-making – long before reflexivity became fashionable. Self-critical knowledge that discloses the ‘sources of power’ and reveals ‘the reasons that explain social asymmetries and hierarchies’ can itself become ‘a powerful tool to enhance social emancipation’ (Navarro 2006: 15-16).
The methods and terminology used by Bourdieu are distinct from those used in the powercube, and suggest much more detailed sociological analysis of power relations rooted in a comprehensive ‘theory of society’. Yet the implications for applied analysis and action resonate very strongly with the meanings of internalised, invisible power and ‘power within’, and with the implicit ‘theory of change’ in the powercube, This is the idea that understanding power and powerlessness, especially through processes of learning and analysis that expose invisible power, cat itself be an empowering process.
References for further reading
Bourdieu, P. (1980). The Logic of Practice. Stanford, Stanford University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London, Routledge.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). ‘The Forms of Capital’. Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Capital. J. G. Richardson. New York, Greenwood Press: 241-58.
Gaventa, J. (2003). Power after Lukes: a review of the literature, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.
Moncrieffe, J. (2006). “The Power of Stigma: Encounters with ‘Street Children’ and ‘Restavecs’ in Haiti.” IDS Bulletin 37(6): 31-46.
Navarro, Z. (2006) ‘In Search of Cultural Intepretation of Power’, IDS Bulletin 37(6): 11-22.
VeneKlasen, L. and V. Miller (2002). A New Weave of Power, People and Politics: The Action Guide for Advocacy and Citizen Participation. Oklahoma City, World Neighbors.
Wacquant, L. (2005) Habitus. International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology. J. Becket and Z. Milan. London, Routledge.

Chris Evan`s book the Industrial and Social History of Severn Sisters....looking for a copy

I am looking for a copy of Chris Evan`s book the Industrial and Social History of Severn Sisters. Hywel Francis describes him as an organic intellectual. I met him once when I was a know all young man. Now I am "know all late" middle aged man and would like to find a copy. Chris Evans was a man of the people a critical thinker..his sort are now very scarce, If anyone can help I can be emailed at and my landline is 01792 48024

Hywel Farncis wries of Chris Evans  "The book that has had the greatest impact on me is very much in this oral tradition. Chris Evans's Industrial and Social History of Seven Sisters was written by one of the true organic intellectuals of the Welsh working class. I read it before leaving for university and, if ever there was a volume that legitimised my own experiences and those of my community, then it was this one. Here is a sensitively written history of an industrial community in the western part of the South Wales coalfield in which this retired miner had shrewdly brought together the anecdotes of an oral tradition of over a century of social development. To some extent his closing paragraph predicts the demise of all coalfield communities in the 1990s: "Hirfynydd bears the scars of forestry, the young saplings have taken root, in a few years' time the surrounding mountains will once more be covered with that dark green look. Will the village then be forgotten? Will it return to the days of long ago with nothing to disturb its peaceful surroundings but the murmurings of the streams, the braying of the beast and the sweet twittering of birds and the memories of old men?" I am now in the position of following the footsteps of the late Evans in writing a specific history of Seven Sisters: the centenary of its rugby club. 

People like Evans were the forerunners of what is now known as participatory research, working in coalition with social movements and the powerless, although the people of Seven Sisters would not see themselves as powerless or disadvantaged. 

Only analysts who've experienced the infinite in their own life are effective.

"From the standpoint of modern depth psychology, [a] shamanic experience amounts to undergoing an invasion of the collective unconscious and dealing with it successfully. When the training analysis of a future analyst remains hung up in discussion of personal problems, in my experience, that person never turns out to be an effective analyst later on. Only when he has experienced the infinite in his own life, as Jung formulated it, has his life found a meaning. Otherwise it loses itself in superficialities. And, we might add, then such a person can only offer others something superficial: good advice, intellectual interpretations, well-meaning recommendations for normalization. It is important that the analyst dwell inwardly in what is essential; then he can lead the analysand to his own inner center. A shaman said aptly to a piece of wood which he wanted to turn into a drum: 'Make your mind free from quarrelsomeness and discord, larch, you’re going to become a drum.'"
Marie-Louise von Franz, Psychotherapy

The inner conservatives within Corbyn`s Labour Party..why a Welsh Green and Ecosocialist party is essential.

Watching the labour party conference last night I saw another tendency deep within it. It was mot the remnants of the Blairites, nor the non Corbynite parliamentary Labour party it was an inate conservatism within the ranks of the GMB and Ynite Trade unions. Unite would not look beyond the implications of jobs if Trident was scrapped. The GMB was the same over fracking. You can still here members of the Socialist Labour party rave about opening the mines again and of the value of clean coal..a veritable contradiction in terms. Its the same sort of conservatism that I saw yesterday within parts of Plaid about their attitude to renewables and paryicularly wind energy. Scotland is far ahead of Wa;es in renewable energy production because of the lack of guts within both Labour and Plaid to support it.

We live in a post industrial society, we must take on board the idea of a citizens income that is paid to people because of where they live rather than what they do. Poorer people and moderately paid people spend more of their income in the locality, they support more local services and they create more jobs because of this demand. The wealthy, the large corporations are locked into the economy of mass production, low wages and the race to the economic bottom. The ordinary people are not the ones who will exhaust the finite resources of the world that will be done by the large corporations and the hypnosis of consumerism used to keep us quiet.

Corbyn and MacDonald understand that and show signs of progress. The labour Party is a coalition and within it lurks the unimaginative inner conservative that has not joined up the thoughts of what society is, how we are citizens irrespective of our work. A citizen income would break up the right wing world view about the scrounger and the migrant. It would show that all of us who live here are Welsh, citizens and people who all contribute in numerous ways from economic production, to wisdom and insight.

There has never been a greater need for a Green party perhaps it will form part of a progressive alliance. However the value of alliance can only really happen if Plaid and others decide once and for all that they are a decentralised socialist party and that independence for Wales means far more than a Welsh brand of austerity or a Welsh “ aircraft-carrier” During the 20s and the 30s the Communist party fed a creative current into the left within Wales as whole. Perhaps this may be a role for the Greens in feeding these ideas into a Cobymite Labour Party and to keep it honest creative and critical

The brutal destruction of the Coal mines by the Thatcher government was a brutal attack on the communities of Wales. The coal industry has shaped our geography and our people but that is not all that Wales was and is. The Coal mines needed gradually phasing out and its workers retrained and given new opportunities. We must not romanticise the coal industry it was important and essential to our development and culture. We must challenge the inner conservative within that is largely macho, male and industrial. We are in a different world and there has never been more need of a Welsh Green Party that is Ecosocialist and supports an independent Wales. It must be a Wales within Europe and a non aligned, neutral country. Last year I summed it up as the Seren2020 declaration. At the weekend Paul Masson called for Scottish Labour members to support an independent Scotland it upset the conservatives within and it must cause a paroxysm of fear amongst the monolithic conservative members of Welsh Labour. The Corbynistas have a long way to go in Wales

Seren Werdd 2020 "Our aim must be to create an Independent Welsh Green party. We seek an independent socialist and green Wales. A Wales where power is devolved to the lowest possible administrative unit. A Wakes that is diverse, tolerant, open to all that does not judge or impose conformity on lifestyle, beliefs or identity. A Wales where its people are aware of it culture, history and language and which is fully bilingual and multi cultural. A Wales that supports workers rights, public services and a comprehensive welfare system. A Wales that protects the rights of animals to be free from exploitation. We are opposed to Nuclear Power and seek a Wales powered by renewables that are owned by the communities of Wales. We seek a Wales that is a non-aligned, neutral republic and which is free from the arms industry".

Monday, 26 September 2016

The long drift to the centre? much for the anti austerity alliance...........

I fundamentally am depressed by this response from Leanne Wood. Instead of welcoming the victory of a socialist in another political party we get this response. Plaids response is what I have long feared. Plaid moves to the centre/ It is not centre policies that will combat the rise of racism and chauvinism. It is these centre policies that have fed trump, Farage and Le Pen It is the elite "moderates" who have fed globalisation and let the flames of proletarian nationalism. What are Plaid to become the 2new Liberal is something I have feared and predicted for many years...where goes the Eco Socialists within Plaid now? I wonder.......National Left gives us much to ponder on here.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Stephen Kinnock is as ambitious as Lucifer and as cold as a Lizard

I borrow Sam Houston quote on Jefferson Davies for this blog article. Stephen Kinnock is as ambitious as Lucifer and as cold as a Lizard listen to him he calls for this, More recently, high profile Labour MPs Rachel Reeves, Emma Reynolds and Steven has Kinnock called for an end to free movement of people within the EU in response to voters' concerns". Is it not enough that he has left us with this given us a nest of unpleasant racist kippers within Port Talbot now he panders to them. I feel sick just thinking about him. As ambitious and empty of political principal..just like his father. let us hope that the Labour party in Port Talbot because of boundary changes lead to his reselection He has already provided a clear message of his support for private education by sending his daughter to the exclusive Atlantic College. It has been alleged in one blog within Wales that he had obscured this from the selection committee of the Labour party in Port Talbot. Once more he is all things to all people. I heard an interview today on radio 4 today where he was back tracking on his challenge to Jeremy Corbyn. Just mildly now talking about electing the shadow cabinet and distancing himself from big daddy Kinnock. Its only just really struck home to me as I write this. I spent Thursday night debating with an earnest young man insisting that mass immigration had been a plot all along to change the nature of this country. This young man had claimed that immigration migration had nothing to do with arms sales, the propping up of dictators, and the international economy, He defended Mussolini and claimed he was not racists. I can understand how a young man of baby boomer parents can fail to appreciate the post war settlement of the British state and not understand how it has helped him go to University , live in a society where real strides have been made in living standards and feel that he has the right to dismantle the structure and helped criticise the welfare state.

I can understand that that the young man has never met people who have lived in fear of authoritarian right wing regimes throughout the world. Never waited for their husband outside a Pinochet regime prison or feared the knock at the door in the middle of the night like one of my students. This a matter of meeting others and reading about human experience of becoming a refugee. I can understand all of this. I can understand that if you are white in a predominant white society you will never see racism because you have no experience of it. We are not persecuted for what we are not we are persecuted for what we are.

I can understand how that happens but to pander to the market, the racist sentiments released by Brexirt and other events is something that I cannot forgive Steven Kinnock for. We live in a time now where we must choose between the "Libertarian but really Authoritarian Right and decentralised Libertrain Socialism that appreciates and makes Environmentalism its heart and to understand that resources are not infinite. I have had enough of such lackies who pander to the right..and I am sick at heart.

Friday, 23 September 2016

By the clicking of his pen..something rightwing this way debate reflections..Friday morning.

/By the clicking of his pen something right wing this way comes.........I would like to thank Benjamin for taking on the old pro. It was a good feeling to get back into public debate. We know that nearly 1500 people have so far watched the debate. I was very amused by some comments I read prior. A Mr Bletsoe from Bridgend Debate and Argue described me as "morally bankrupt" and a "misogynist". A Claire Ivins from Port Talbot said that just thinking about causes her sexual arousal to fade away and Mr Robert "Einstein" Miller claimed I take ketamine and drink during the day. The odd thing was that none of my detractors had the gits to contribute or ask questions. So this what I have to say to these keyboard warriors...put up or shut up, I will take you on any time. I would also like to thank Darren Nichols for promoting this event I look forward to taking part in the future. It would be good if local Neath and Port Talbot characters like Gareth Hanford, Robert Francis, and Stephen Karl Hunt would take part. Stephen Karl Hunt think is very good at saying if you don't like his rules on his Facebook group then you can leave...perhaps he has the nerve to take part in debate and discussion when he his not in control...I wonder. I was well behaved and really liked to perhaps show that I am not some Anti-Christ laying waste society and slaying the unborn children of the NPT area. Benjamin seemed rather keen to make this a regular event before the debate started but seemed somewhat more reluctant at the end...I wonder why. I think at best it is dangerously naive to act as a promoter of the idea that Hitler was a Socialist. In a Europe where nationalism, racism and bigotry are rising again it is best to separate one`s ego from the consequences of your actions, concerning what you say and how you say it,.....

Thursday, 22 September 2016

This is a warring peace,a sweet wound and a mild evil........the old Pagan at the Autumn Equinox.....

I am the Old Pagan at the Autumn I come to the crossroads of light and dark, when what is clear and what is not is in balance. In the world as I look around I see that it is less than eight weeks to the American Election. I see that even if Trump loses unthinking racism has been brought out and made acceptable. On the Radio 4 news today I heard the white supremacist claim the validity of race even though the fiction of race is clearly shown. In the USA riots break out in the south and fear stalks the deep south. A new 68 election looms between a worst, debased Nixon of the crudest kind and and flimsy flaky Clinton.

In Europe the far right polls 14% in Berlin elections and in Essex a young pole is chased and killed by a mob. The saga of Labour continues, which way will it go. A nascent progressive alliance stirs within the Greens and amongst other progressives. The cycle of victim, abuser and rescuer circles endlessly. The process of projection and displacement runs on endlessly and victim becomes abuser and vice versa...........this is the time of balance in the eye of the ideological storm. The Conservative riles without meaning and direction, post austerity leads them back to the dictum of empiricism tempered by prejudice, the white walkers cross the wall and march south ..winter is coming.
At the Autumn Equinox I will debate with a young man with plenty of confidence but little experience of the brutality of fascism and the far right as a late middle aged man. Slightly world weary and battered but very much aware of brutality and bullying wherever it may come from. The greasy poll of politics and the battle for tenderness and respect clearly set against one another. This is the Autumn Equinox of 2016. This is the conjunction of opposites. This is a warring peace, a sweet wound and a mild evil. This is a Hegelian moment.........

However just been told that the original Wicker Man the 1973 film is on the horror channel this weekend. Burner or rescuer you decide......

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Henry James background for today in Philosophy

Henry James, (born April 15, 1843, New York, New York, U.S.—diedFebruary 28, 1916, London, England) American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in the transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, as illustrated in such works as Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), and The Ambassadors (1903).

Henry James was named for his father, a prominent social theorist and lecturer, and was the younger brother of the pragmatist philosopher William James. The young Henry was a shy, book-addicted boy who assumed the role of quiet observer beside his active elder brother. They were taken abroad as infants, were schooled by tutors and governesses, and spent their preadolescent years in Manhattan. Returned to Geneva, Paris, and London during their teens, the James children acquired languages and an awareness of Europe vouchsafed to few Americans in their times. On the eve of the American Civil War, the James family settled at Newport, Rhode Island, and there, and later in Boston, Henry came to know New England intimately. When he was 19 years of age, he enrolled at the Harvard Law School, but he devoted his study time to reading Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, Honoré de Balzac, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. His first story appeared anonymously two years later in the New York Continental Monthly and his first book reviews in the North American Review. When William Dean Howells became editor of The Atlantic Monthly, James found in him a friend and mentor who published him regularly. Between them, James and Howells inaugurated the era of American “realism.”
By his mid-20s James was regarded as one of the most skillful writers of short stories in America. Critics, however, deplored his tendency to write of the life of the mind, rather than of action. The stories of these early years show the leisurely existence of the well-to-do at Newport and Saratoga. James’s apprenticeship was thorough. He wrote stories, reviews, and articles for almost a decade before he attempted a full-length novel. There had to be also the traditional “grand tour,” and James went abroad for his first adult encounter with Europe in 1869. His year’s wandering in England, France, and Italy set the stage for a lifetime of travel in those countries. James never married. By nature he was friendly and even gregarious, but, while he was an active observer and participant in society, he tended, until late middle age, to be “distant” in his relations with people and was careful to avoid “involvement.”

Recognizing the appeal of Europe, given his cosmopolitan upbringing, James made a deliberate effort to discover whether he could live and work in the United States. Two years in Boston, two years in Europe, mainly in Rome, and a winter of unremitting hackwork in New York City convinced him that he could write better and live more cheaply abroad. Thus began his long expatriation—heralded by publication in 1875 of the novel Roderick Hudson, the story of an American sculptor’s struggle by the banks of the Tiber between his art and his passions; Transatlantic Sketches, his first collection of travel writings; and a collection of tales. With these three substantial books, he inaugurated a career that saw about 100 volumes through the press during the next 40 years.
During 1875–76 James lived in Paris, writing literary and topical letters for theNew York Tribune and working on his novel The American (1877), the story of a self-made American millionaire whose guileless and forthright character contrasts with that of the arrogant and cunning family of French aristocrats whose daughter he unsuccessfully attempts to marry. In Paris James sought out the Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev, whose work appealed to him, and through Turgenev was brought into Gustave Flaubert’s coterie, where he got to know Edmond de Goncourt, Émile Zola, Alphonse Daudet, and Guy de Maupassant. From Turgenev he received confirmation of his own view that a novelist need not worry about “story” and that, in focusing on character, he would arrive at the life experience of his protagonist.

Much as he liked France, James felt that he would be an eternal outsider there, and late in 1876 he crossed to London. There, in small rooms in Bolton Street off Piccadilly, he wrote the majorfiction of his middle years. In 1878 he achieved international renown with his story of an American flirt in Rome, Daisy Miller,and further advanced his reputation with The Europeans that same year. In England he was promptly taken up by the leading Victorians and became a regular at Lord Houghton’s breakfasts, where he consorted with Alfred Tennyson, William Gladstone, Robert Browning, and others. A great social lion, James dined out 140 times during 1878 and 1879 and visited in many of the great Victorian houses and country seats. He was elected to London clubs, published his stories simultaneously in English and American periodicals, and mingled with George Meredith, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edmund Gosse, and other writers, thus establishing himself as a significant figure in Anglo-American literary and artistic relations.

James’s reputation was founded on his versatile studies of “the American girl.” In a series of witty tales, he pictured the “self-made” young woman, the bold and brash American innocent who insists upon American standards in European society. James ended this first phase of his career by producing his masterpiece, The Portrait of a Lady (1881), a study of a young woman from Albany who brings to Europe her narrow provincialism and pretensions but also her sense of her own sovereignty, her “free spirit,” her refusal to be treated, in the Victorian world, merely as a marriageable object. As a picture of Americans moving in the expatriate society of England and of Italy, this novel has no equal in the history of modern fiction. It is a remarkable study of a band of egotists while at the same time offering a shrewd appraisal of the American character. James’s understanding of power in personal relations was profound, as evinced in Washington Square (1881), the story of a young American heroine whose hopes for love and marriage are thwarted by her father’s callous rejection of a somewhat opportunistic suitor.
In the 1880s James wrote two novels dealing with social reformers and revolutionaries, The Bostonians (1886) and The Princess Casamassima (1886). In the novel of Boston life, James analyzed the struggle between conservative masculinity embodied in a Southerner living in the North and an embittered man-hating suffragist. The Bostonians remains the fullest and most-rounded American social novel of its time in its study of cranks, faddists, and “do-gooders.” In The Princess Casamassima James exploited the anarchist violence of the decade and depicted the struggle of a man who toys with revolution and is destroyed by it. These novels were followed byThe Tragic Muse (1890), in which James projected a study of the London and Paris art studios and the stage, the conflict between art and “the world.”

The latter novel raised the curtain on his own “dramatic years,” 1890–95, during which he tried to win success writing for the stage. His dramatization of The American in 1891 was a modest success, but an original play, Guy Domville, produced in 1895, was a failure, and James was booed at the end of the first performance. Crushed and feeling that he had lost his public, he spent several years seeking to adapt his dramatic experience to his fiction. The result was a complete change in his storytelling methods. In The Spoils of Poynton (1897), What Maisie Knew (1897), The Turn of the Screw and In the Cage (1898), and The Awkward Age (1899), James began to use the methods of alternating “picture” and dramatic scene, close adherence to a given angle of vision, a withholding of information from the reader, making available to him only that which the characters see. The subjects of this period are the developing consciousness and moral education of children—in reality James’s old international theme of innocence in a corrupting world, transferred to the English setting.

The experiments of this “transition” phase led James to the writing of three grandiose novels at the beginning of the new century, which represent his final—his “major”—phase, as it has been called. In these novels James pointed the way for the 20th-century novel. He had begun as a realist who describes minutely his crowded stage. He ended by leaving his stage comparatively bare, and showing a small group of characters in a tense situation, with a retrospective working out, through multiple angles of vision, of their drama. In addition to these technical devices he resorted to an increasingly allusive prose style, which became dense and charged with symbolic imagery. His late “manner” derived in part from his dictating directly to a typist and in part from his unremitting search for ways of projecting subjective experience in a flexible prose.
The first of the three novels was The Ambassadors (1903). This is a highcomedy of manners, of a middle-aged American who goes to Paris to bring back to a Massachusetts industrial town a wealthy young man who, in the view of his affluent family, has lingered too long abroad. The “ambassador” in the end is captivated by civilized Parisian life. The novel is a study in the growth of perception and awareness in the elderly hero, and it balances the relaxed moral standards of the European continent against the parochial rigidities of New England. The second of this series of novels was The Wings of the Dove, published in 1902, before The Ambassadors, although written after it. This novel, dealing with a melodramatic subject of great pathos, that of an heiress doomed by illness to die, avoids its cliche subject by focusing upon the characters surrounding the unfortunate young woman. They intrigue to inherit her millions. Told in this way, and set in London and Venice, it becomes a powerful study of well-intentioned humans who, with dignity and reason, are at the same time also birds of prey. In its shifting points of view and avoidance of scenes that would end in melodrama, The Wings of the Dove demonstrated the mastery with which James could take a tawdry subject and invest it with grandeur. His final novel was The Golden Bowl (1904), a study of adultery, with four principal characters. The first part of the story is seen through the eyes of the aristocratic husband and the second through the developing awareness of the wife.
While many of James’s short stories were potboilers written for the current magazines, he achieved high mastery in the ghostly form, notably in The Turn of the Screw (1898), and in such remarkable narratives as “The Aspern Papers” (1888) and “The Beast in the Jungle” (1903)—his prophetic picture of dissociated 20th-century man lost in an urban agglomeration. As a critic, James tended to explore the character and personality of writers as revealed in their creations; his essays are a brilliant series of studies, moral portraits, of the most famous novelists of his century, from Balzac to the Edwardian realists. His travel writings, English Hours (1905), Italian Hours (1909), and A Little Tour in France (1884), portray the backgrounds James used for his fictions.
In his later years, James lived in retirement in an 18th-century house at Ryein Sussex, though on completion of The Golden Bowl he revisited the United States in 1904–05. James had lived abroad for 20 years, and in the interval America had become a great industrial and political power. His observation of the land and its people led him to write, on his return to England, a poetic volume of rediscovery and discovery, The American Scene (1907), prophetic in its vision of urban doom, spoliation, and pollution of resources and filled with misgivings over the anomalies of a “melting pot” civilization. The materialism of American life deeply troubled James, and on his return to England he set to work to shore up his own writings, and his own career, against this ephemeral world. He devoted three years to rewriting and revising his principal novels and tales for the highly selective “New York Edition,” published in 24 volumes. For this edition James wrote 18 significant prefaces, which contain both reminiscence and exposition of his theories of fiction.Throwing his moral weight into Britain’s struggle in World War I, James became a British subject in 1915 and received the Order of Merit (O.M.) from King George V.

Henry James’s career was one of the longest and most productive—and most influential—in American letters. A master of prose fiction from the first, he practiced it as a fertile innovator, enlarged the form, and placed upon it the stamp of a highly individual method and style. He wrote for 51 years—20 novels, 112 tales, 12 plays, several volumes of travel and criticism, and a great deal of literary journalism. He recognized and helped to fashion the myth of the American abroad and incorporated this myth in the “international novel,” of which he was the acknowledged master. His fundamental theme was that of an innocent, exuberant, and democratic America confronting the worldly wisdom and corruption of Europe’s older, aristocratic culture. In both his light comedies and his tragedies, James’s sense of the human scene was sure and vivid, and, in spite of the mannerisms of his later style, he was one of the great prose writers and stylists of his century.
James’s public remained limited during his lifetime, but, after a revival of interest in his work during the 1940s and ’50s, he reached an ever-widening audience. His works were translated in many countries, and he was recognized in the late 20th century as one of the subtlest craftsmen who ever practiced the art of the novel. His rendering of the inner life of his characters made him a forerunner of the “stream-of-consciousness” movement in the 20th century.