I’ve been writing a lot recently about platform socialisation. I’m interested in how the proliferation of platforms brings about fundamental changes in the process of socialisation, as well as how we respond to these normatively and educationally.
Social media has figured prominently in two literatures in recent years: the rise of authoritarian populism and the desirability of publicly engaged scholarship. These platforms offer incredible opportunities for more publicly engaged scholarship but they also make it more likely this scholarship will be politically contested by groups and individuals outside the academy.
I’m so excited the book I’ve been working on with Lambros Fatsis over the last few years is coming out in June. It’s the result of a long conversation we’ve had about our mutual frustrations concerning ‘public sociology’ which led us to rethink what it means to be public scholars once digital platforms are ubiquitous and the public sphere has been decimated by COVID-19.
There’s a lovely expression in this newsletter describing how pop-futurist Alvin Toffler reifies ‘change’ “into an autonomous abstraction, something that appears to cause itself, with consequences society must then adjust to”. It’s worth reflecting on quite how mainstream this move has become, particularly with regards to a centrism which sees […]
Less than half the UK population was using video call platforms by March 2021 (after three lockdowns) despite the widespread sense in the media these were a ubiquitous feature of life:
What a brilliant poem, shared on his blog here: First they said they needed data about the children to find out what they’re learning. Then they said they needed data about the children to make sure they are learning. Then the children only learnt what could be turned into data. […]
There’s an excellent piece in the NLR by Cedric Durand putting Biden’s apparent left turn into historical context. My initial assumption was that Biden was doing what Starmer promised to do i.e. rebuilding his party by brokering a coalition between the left and the centre, built around the most popular […]
The thrust of the argument was that if social science exists within the horizons of platform firms (i.e. it restricts itself to asking empirical questions which can be answered by platform generated data) then it can’t take platform capitalism as an object, instead leading it to fade into the background as a precondition for analysis. My point was largely about the empiricism of data science and (much) computational social science.
This short introduction (starting around 7 mins 40 secs) to The Public and Their Platforms: Public Sociology in an Era of Social Media by myself and Lambros was part of a panel launching the new Public Sociology series by Bristol University Press.
In our forthcoming book The Public and their Platforms, myself and Lambros Fatsis write about assembly devices. When watching the superb HBO documentary Into The Storm about QAnon (trailer below) I was struck by Cullen Hoback’s description of Cicada 3301 in terms of “collecting like minded others through an internet game”.
I’ve had this passage from The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks (pg 302-203) stuck in my head all day so i thought I’d share it: I think I am like a lot of people, you know: I’ve spent my life waiting for my life to start. It’s as […]
I’ve just finished reading Robert Fine’s Being Stalked: A Memoir. It’s a thoughtful and self-therapeutic reflection by the late political theorist on his experience of being stalked by a former student in the 1990s. Throughout the book, I’ve felt an eery sense there are aspects of his diagnosis which touch upon the psychodynamics of platform capitalism and the epistemic chaos which it generates.
I was delighted to discover that one of my all time favourite lectures has been uploaded to YouTube in its original form. The 1991 Tanner Lectures by Charles Taylor were the basis for his Ethics of Authenticity, in which he investigates those “features of our contemporary culture which people feel very very worried about even as they seem to flow from the development of our civilisation”.
This is a test post from a Wordpress session. I’m demonstrating how to use the Wordpress editor and how simple it can be.
Phil Brooker and I recently completed our second NCRM funded Python for Social Scientists bootcamp. For obvious reasons we switched from a four day intensive face-to-face bootcamp to a five week cross-platform (Slack, Wordpress, YouTube and e-mail) model for the second bootcamp. We reflected on this in a session for the Faculty of Education’s Ideas Lab on Thursday and a colleague suggested it might be a valuable exercise to distill some of the pedagogical principles underlying the project.