Are we all digital scholars now? Social distancing has normalised digital scholarship within higher education to an unprecedented degree, as what was called a decade ago ‘the coming social media revolution in the academy’ has now come to pass due to the disruption brought about by COVID-19 and associated public health responses. However, the radically […]

The first is The Public and Their Platforms co-authored with Lambros Fatsis. It’s a rethinking of the public sociology debate from the ground up, built around the critical realist sociology of platforms I’ve been developing over the last few years. This was so hard to finish but I’m really enthusiastic to see what people make […]

I thought you might be interested in this new podcast series I’ve started. It’s the audio diary of a social theorist during the pandemic, with self-consciously rough thoughts, speculations which haven’t quite reached the status of work in progress. Mostly short thoughts from me but I’ll have conversations with other people as well. It will involve meta-reflections […]

In this essay from Critical Digital Pedagogy: A Collection, Howard Rheingold recognises his “complicity in the creation of today’s digital culture” and “outright seduction by high-tech tools” (16-17). He suggests that the orthodox tradition of scientific thought has left us in a pre-scientific predicament when it comes to the application of technology: We lack a […]

I thought this was brilliant from Ruha Benjamin, in the forward to Critical Digital Pedagogy, describing the responsibilities of educators. It applies more broadly than our present crisis but it feels even more pertinent against the backdrop of the pandemic: So, what are the responsibilities of educators and educational institutions in a context where this […]

This overview of the findings of this German paper is fascinating. It’s part of an insightful essay about the strange coalitions taking shape which transcend the left-right binary in a way I’ve come to think of as lumpen-libertarian. I particularly valued its focus on “the freelance media hustlers, movement messiahs, and entrepreneurial contrarians who have […]

This essay from Richard Seymour intersected in a thought provoking way with my recent concerns about the securitisation of pandemic response. He explains how this paradigm involves preparation rather than prevention, in the senes of preparing for the inevitability of a range of disastrous outcomes rather than trying to bring about change which might foreclose […]

Who’s to hold up the sky if not you and I?So long, so long, so longWho’s to tame the volcanoes on mountains high?So long, so long, so longJust how long does it take to drink oceans dry?So long, so long, so longAnd someday we’ll say goodbye to goodbyeSo long, so long, so long, sail on

Well, I got a job and tried to put my money awayBut I got debts that no honest man can paySo I drew what I had from the Central TrustAnd I bought us two tickets on that Coast City bus Now, baby, everything dies, honey, that’s a factBut maybe everything that dies someday comes backPut […]

This is a chilling warning from Mike Davis in The Monster Enters. My understanding is this hasn’t been borne out by events since the time he was writing this (pre-June 2020) however I’d welcome any suggestions of literature on this topic which readers might have. It seems inescapable that the great sickly slums of Africa […]

There’s a brief aside towards the end of Apollo’s Arrow which was intended as innocuous but in practice is unsettling. Nicholas Christakis draws a comparison between the potential impact of COVID-19 and other crises which have had a long-lasting influence upon social life. From pg 322: The COVID-19 pandemic awakened Americans to the importance of […]

I appreciated the sobriety of this discussion in Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live by Nicholas Christakis. I’m increasingly worried that we’re entering a situation where an understandable desire to avoid fuelling anti-vaccine sentiment (something which has the potential to undermine a vaccine-led resolution of Covid-19) will […]

From Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live pg 226-227: It was this cumulative culture that allowed us to teach each other things about how to cope with the pandemic when it first struck. Even if people had forgotten or did not know what to do, the knowledge […]