I’m a sociologist of technology exploring the intersection between social platforms, human agency and education in the broadest sense. I’m interested in how these platforms, as socio-technical infrastructures which enable users to interact within parameters defined by their operators, become taken for granted features of everyday life. Far from the […]
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.
This volume engages with post-humanist and transhumanist approaches to present an original exploration of the question of how humankind will fare in the face of artificial intelligence. With emerging technologies now widely assumed to be calling into question assumptions about human beings and their place within the world, and computational […]
I understand the point to be that existence is higher or fuller when things are acting through us rather than action arising from us, reflecting an involvement in our situation rather than a detachment from it. To reclaim the Homeric gods doesn’t necessitate polytheism but it does mean cultivating a sensitivity to the range of potentials inherent in each situation, overcoming what has gradually lost in modernity.
What I find particularly valuable in Dewey is his sense of how as an individual “passes from one situation to another, his world, his environment, expands or contracts” with the “knowledge and skill in one situation becomes an instrument of understanding and dealing effectively with the situations which follow” (pg 44). The nature of this experience constitutes the conditions which facilitate or frustrate the individual’s flourishing.
I found this reprint from Hubert Dreyfus quite inspiring to engage with again, over a decade since I read the original book. It feels more relevant than ever when considering the constraints of education during the pandemic, with the core challenge posed by Dreyfus of how much involvement can be established remotely being one which anyone teaching via Zoom will have felt over the last year.
The ability to inquire and create constructively and independently without external controls.
What sorts of experiences do social platforms generate? What “attitudes and habitual tendencies” (pg 38) are being generated? Which “are actually conducive to continued growth and what are detrimental” (pg 39)?
I love this music by Simone Eringfeld based on her MPhil research on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education:
I wrote last month about the censoriousness which seems to have proliferated during the pandemic. It frustrates me when I see it in others but I then notice it welling up in myself, in ways connected with but irreducible to behaviours which increase transmission risks.
From John Dewey’s Experience and Education pg 17: The history of educational theory is marked by opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without; that it is based upon natural endowments and that education is a process of overcoming natural inclination […]
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION:We aim to build ”HCI4SouthAsia”, a strong community of HCI researchers and practitioners who work/will work in the South Asian region (i.e., in and around the countries Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). As a first step, we are organizing a half-day virtual workshop […]
This is a really powerful account by Roberto Unger about the role of education in producing capable agents, able to act within the present order but also to resist it and see beyond it, opening out possibilities for transformation which are latent within the way the world currently is. He […]
I’ve spent an enjoyable afternoon listening to Chomsky talk about education. The overarching issue this has raised for me is how education relates to agency. How does education support the capacity to act in the world? How does it redistribute power in Weber’s sense of the probability that someone will […]
An education of the kind that Bertrand Russell or John Dewey talked about. That’s a value in itself, whatever impact it has on society. It’s a value because it helps creates better human beings. After all that’s what an education system should be for.
What is education? This perspective from Susan Robertson and Roger Dale, drawing on Connell’s work, resonated with me: Here, ‘learning’ is placed at the centre of anything that we might know as education, but it is seen as a collective property of the social world, and our understanding of the […]
It is a time-space granted for self-fulfilment. To become who one is. That’s what the university is. That’s why the university is called the university. Because it fulfils the purpose of the universe. Humbolt’s ideal is that without external pressure or demand, the individual will find within herself or himself, […]
In his account of socialisation in Democracy and Education, Dewey places a great stress on habit formation. There’s an inevitability to habit as “excessive stimulation and excessive and ill-adapted response” necessitate that “certain stimuli are selected because of their relevancy, and others are degraded”.
I found this extremely interesting from Dewey’s Democracy and Education loc 562-575. He argues that the concept of ‘imitation’ tends to mistake an outcome for cause, imputing to a generic tendency to copy each other what is better explained by commonly constituted agents finding themselves in similar situations which tend to produce similar responses.
I’m enjoying Massimo Ragnedda’s The Third Digital Divide because of how lucidly he lays out the theoretical issues raised by the notion of digital inequalities. This is from pg 4 of the book: From his neo-Weberian perspective these questions encompass economic, cultural and political aspects. It’s a matter of status […]