freethought Invites… Andy Merrifield: ‘The Amateur of Life’

Photograph from “A Man Becomes Invisible” by Gordon Parks, 1952. Courtesy The Gordon Parks Foundation

Saturday 28 May 2016, 7PM
Hordaland Kunstsenter
Klosteret 17, 5005 Bergen

7PM Dinner (TASC Ablett & Brafield)
8PM Talk with Andy Merrifield

Writer, urbanist, geographer and political theorist Andy Merrifield joins Louis Moreno of freethought to discuss how the problem of infrastructure relates to the creeping professionalisation of daily life.

In his new book ‘The Amateur’, Merrifield calls for a new politics, a politics of amateurism that shrugs off the personal and social burdens imposed by ‘expertism’ and “dismantles our giant professional infrastructure, stripping it of its legitimacy, of its functioning credibility.” For Merrifield, this is a call to short circuit the logic of technocracy, of the obligation to equate a good life with a well ordered résumé, and engage with a long lost common notion captured in one simple word: ‘amateur’. If to be an ‘amateur’ once meant to be a ‘lover of’ something, what kind of infrastructure is needed to support amateurs possessed by the desire to overcome the rule of experts?

Andy Merrifield is an independent scholar, writer, political theorist and urbanist. Merrifield is co-editor (with Erik Swyngedouw), of The Urbanization of Injustice (1995) and author of nine books, including Metromarxism (2002), Dialectical Urbanism (2002), Guy Debord (2005), Henri Lefebvre: A Critical Introduction (2006), Magical Marxism (2011), and most recently, The Politics of the Encounter: Urban Theory and Protest under Planetary Urbanization (2013) and The New Urban Question (2014). His many essays and reviews have appeared in publications including Adbusters, The Nation, Harper’s Magazine, New Left Review, Harvard Design Magazine, and The Times Magazine. His new book ‘The Amateur’ will be published in 2017.

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