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CfP: Feminist Early Career Academics

This looks good: Please see below and attached a call for papers for an edited book entitled ‘Feminist Beginnings: Being an Early Career Feminist Academic in a Changing Academy’, to be edited by Dr Rachel Thwaites and Dr Amy Godoy-Pressland. Please circulate around your networks. In a fast-changing higher education […]

‘Rank and Yank’ in Higher Education

From What about Me?: the struggle for identity in a market-based society by Paul Verhaeghe: Enron, an American multinational, introduced this practice at the end of the previous century, dubbing it the ‘Rank and Yank appraisal system’. The individual performances of its staff members were continually monitored and contrasted. On the […]

The Sociology of Civilizational Collapse

How do we envisage our future? To ask this question usually invites reflections upon personal biography. More rarely does it address ‘our’ in a civilizational sense – I use the term loosely here to refer to the totality of organised human social life which, in contemporary circumstances I would take to […]

The Blues, Mary

I learned how to hammer in the burning August sun I learned how to lie and cheat, how to steel and just how to run I fell asleep most nights with somebody else’s blood on my tongue, Your tongue You learned just how to run But it’s just the blues, […]

The temporal horizons of sociology

I just came across a passage by James Meek in which he describes being drawn to, the obscure realm of events that are too fresh for history, but too old for journalism; the murky gap of popular perception that covers the period from two years ago to about twenty-five years […]

Evading the necessity of selection

In her The Reflexive Imperative, Margaret Archer presents an idea she terms the necessity of selection: the necessity of selecting from the options available to us. These options are always structurally and culturally circumscribed, albeit to wildly varying degrees, however they remain options. The nature of our ‘selections’ vary wildly but they are […]

Technology and Human Nature

In their Webcam, Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan offer what they describe as a theory of attainment. While I’m not sure they’d accept my terminology, I read this as an attempt to theorise the causal powers of technology in relation to the causal powers of human beings. They start by recognising that “people have relationships […]

CfP: Queering Paradigms

SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS: Queering Paradigms 6 Deadline extension: New deadline 30 November 2014. After an exciting and highly productive five year journey through four continents, the Queering Paradigms conference will visit its point of origin again in its sixth incarnation. Queering Paradigms 6 is planned to be held in […]

Social analytics as an agenda for digital sociology

What Nick Couldry says here is a pleasingly precise statement of what I’ve been trying to articulate when writing vague statements like the “distinctively sociological sensibility which is marginalised by computational social science”: The starting-points for a hermeneutics of the social world are, in key ways, being transformed by big data and […]

The myth of ‘us’ in a digital age

In his A necessary disenchantment: myth, agency and injustice in a digital world, Nick Couldry argues that transitions in media infrastructure are facilitating the emergence of a new myth of collectivity: A new myth about the collectivities we form when we use platforms such as Facebook. An emerging myth of natural collectivity […]

The decoupling of sex and romance

If we accept this account then we can see the ‘sexual revolution’ as constituting a decoupling of sex from commitment. Can we read the emergence of asexuality as a parallel decoupling of commitment from sex? “The really big change in sexual practices among young Americans occurred with the Baby Boomer generation, that […]

The intellectual legitimacy of academic blogging

One of my favourite academic blogs is Understanding Society. Written by the philosopher Daniel Little, it covers a diverse range of topics across the social sciences while continually coming back to a number of core theoretical questions that fascinate me. Reflecting on its seventh anniversary, Little offers some interesting thoughts on the role that […]

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