Updates from February, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Mark 8:28 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Training, teaching or empowering people with social media? 

    A podcast interview with Jennifer M Jones

     
  • Mark 8:16 pm on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    A case study of a university’s digital strategy 

    A podcast interview with Jennifer M Jones

     
  • Mark 9:29 am on February 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Some notes on ‘University Publishing In A Digital Age’ 

    University Publishing In A Digital Age

    By publishing we mean  simply the communication and broad dissemination of knowledge, a function that has become both more complex and more important with the introduction and rapid evolution of digital and networking technologies. There is a seeming limitless range of opportunities for a faculty member to distribute his or  her work, from setting up a web page or blog, to posting an article to a working paper website or institutional repository, to including it in a peer-reviewed journal or book. In American colleges and universities, access to the internet and World Wide Web is ubiquitous; consequently nearly all intellectual effort results in some form of “publishing”. Yet universities do not treat the publishing function as an  important, mission-centric endeavor. Publishing generally receives little attention from senior leadership at universities and the result has been a scholarly publishing industry that many in the university  community find to be increasingly out of step with the important values of the academy.

    As information transforms the landscape of scholarly publishing, it is critical that universities deploy the  full range of their resources – faculty research and teaching activity, library collections, information technology capacity, and publishing expertise – in ways that best serve both local interests and the broader public interest. We will argue that a renewed commitment to publishing in its broadest sense can enable universities to more fully realize the potential global impact of their academic programs, enhance the reputations of their specific institutions, maintain a strong voice in determining what constitutes important scholarship and which scholars deserve recognition, and in some cases reduce costs. There  seems to us to be a pressing and urgent need to revitalize the university’s publishing role and capabilities in this digital age. (page 3)

     
  • Mark 7:21 pm on February 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Podcast with Martin Eve about Open Source Academic Publishing 

    Interview with Martin Eve, associate lecturer and tutor in English Literature at the University of Sussex.

    Founding Editor of Orbit: Writing Around Pynchonand formerly Chief Editor of Excursions. Formerly an internet developer.

     
    • Emrah Göker 12:12 pm on March 4, 2013 Permalink

      Dear Mark, can you also put up a download link for the podcast file? I found the link in the page’s source code, but it might be inconvenient for most users willing to move the file to other media. Thanks!

      Emrah

    • Mark 1:40 pm on March 4, 2013 Permalink

      Will have a think about it. I veer between wanting to have them as open as possible & wanting to avoid having the unmarked files floating around the internet. Though if I wasn’t too lazy to do proper introductions then this wouldn’t be an issue for me.

  • Mark 7:33 pm on February 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Here’s Looking At You, Kid 

    You can tell Gayle, if she calls,
    That I’m famous now for all of these rock and roll songs.
    And even if that’s a lie, she should’ve given me a try.
    When we were kids on the field of the first day of school.
    I would’ve been her fool.
    And I would’ve sang out your name in those old high school halls.
    You tell that to Gayle, if she calls.

    And you can tell Jane, if she writes,
    That I’m drunk off all these stars and all these crazy Hollywood nights.
    And that’s a total deceit, but she should’ve married me.
    And tell her I spent every night of my youth on the floor,
    Bleeding out from all these wounds.
    I would’ve gotten her a ride out of that town she despised.
    You tell that to Janey, if she writes.

    But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
    That will cut you to ribbons sometimes.
    And all you can do is just wait by the moon
    And bleed if it’s what she says you oughta do.

    You remind Anna, if she asks why,
    That a thief stole my heart while she was making up her mind.
    I heard she lives in Brooklyn with the cool,
    Goes crazy over that New York scene on 7th Avenue.
    But I used to wait at the diner, a million nights without her,
    Praying she won’t cancel again tonight.
    And the waiter served my coffee with a consolation sigh.
    You remind Anna, if she asks why.
    Tell her it’s all rigtht.

    You know it’s hard to tell you this.
    Oh it’s hard to tell you this.
    Here’s looking at you, Kid.

     
  • Mark 7:07 pm on February 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The Last of the Dreamers 

    This is for the messed up kids bound like dynamite,
    The wandering drunks out on the town tonight,
    For the romantic killer that’s never been caught,
    For the crackpot who hit the jackpot and stopped.

    This is those who climb right to the top,
    Just to feel what it’s like to drop,
    For the critical mass that converges,
    For the pedophile suppressing his urges.

    This is for the soldier in contempt of court,
    Cause he believed in freedom of thought.
    This is for the baby who struggles to talk,
    But can manage to gargle the language of God.

    This is for the origami swan,
    Who dared to soar up to the sun.
    This is for the outcasts, the freaks and the schemers,
    This is for the last of the dreamers.

     
  • Mark 3:55 pm on February 22, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Software for Textual Analysis Workshop (Feb 27th) 

    In recent years powerful new tools for analysing large quantities of textual data have emerged. Yet in many cases, there is little awareness of these tools or how fruitfully they could be applied across a range of disciplines. This introductory workshop explores these new tools and their uses, aiming to leave participants in a situation where they could feasibly incorporate them into existing research projects after the workshop.

    Monday 27th February, 12pm till 2pm, Seminar Room 1, Wolfson Research Exchange, Warwick Library

    TOPICS COVERED:

    An introduction to corpus linguistics
    WMatrix (basic training + examples)
    Google Ngram Viewer (basic training + examples)
    Wordle (basic training + examples)
    How can these be incorporated into my research?

    Register Here

    All participants will receive a short resource pack via e-mail for going further with the tools discussed.

     
  • Mark 8:49 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Female Sexual Dysfunction, Marketing, and Disease-Mongering 

     
  • Mark 7:37 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , serial monogamy,   

    Sexual anxiety in late capitalism 

    Although I agree that as long as there have been human beings there have been questions about sex, I believe that the current deluge reflects less eternal inquisitiveness than a modern epidemic of insecurity and worry generated by a new social construction: the idea that sexual functioning is a central, if not the central, aspect of a relationship. Such an emphasis naturally leads to tremendous concern about sex and a greater need for advice, education, support, and a variety of repair services.

    The new importance given to sexuality and emotional intimacy in relationships is one result of large social changes in how we view marriage and life:

    • The purpose of marriage has shifted from economic necessity to companionship, resulting in dramatic changes in obligations and expectations.
    • There has been a shift in how e measure a person’s “success” to include physical vitality and life enjoyment along with material achievements.
    • Divorce and “serial monogamy” have become increasingly acceptable, making people anxious about maintaining relationships.
    • Changes in social attitudes and improvements in contraception have allowed women to view sexuality as separate from reproduction and as an avenue for self-expression and pleasure.
    • People are relying on personal relationships to provide a sense of worth they lack in the public sphere due to increased technology, mobility, and bureaucracy.
    Leonore Tiefer, Sex Is Not a Natural Act, Pg 11, Westview Press
     
  • Mark 7:22 pm on February 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: anatomy and physiology, genital organs, ,   

    The fallacy of sexual naturalism 

    My mother is a professional musician, and the metaphor of music has helped me explain sexuality to numerous audiences. Open a textbook on human sexuality, and nine times out of ten it will begin with a chapter on anatomy and physiology. This opening sets the stage for the assumption that “the biological bedrock,” as it is often called, must be understood before we can look at anything else, such as what people want, what they experience, how they get their ideas about what sex ought to be, and so on. Furthermore, the biology presented in these texts always dwells on the anatomy and physiology of the genital organs, never of the tactile reception of the cheek or lips or the physiology of aroma preferences. You’ll find the physiology of arousal but not of pleasure, of performance but not of fantasy. So, it’s not just biology that is being portrayed as fundamental, but a certain kind of biology.

    Open a textbook of music, in contrast, and you will not find chapters ont he bones, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles of the fingers (for playing the piano), the hands (to play cymbals or cello), or even the mouth or throat (for flute or singing). And what about the physiology of hearing or of the sense of rhythm? Why don’t music texts start with biology? Isn’t biology as fundamental to music as it is to sexuality?

    Leonore Tiefer, Sex Is Not a Natural Act, Pg 6, Westview Press

     
  • Mark 10:58 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: conceptual structures, everyday discourse, sex sexuality, sexual choice,   

    A few quick thoughts on the next sexual revolution 

    1. In the 1960s a range of political, social, economic and cultural factors intersected to generate a dramatic increase in the range and scope of everyday discourse about sex and sexuality. People begin to think and talk about sex/sexuality with a degree of explicitness and visibility which had heretofore been lacking.
    2. This generates interpenetrating feedback loops (e.g. people start to talk about the fact people are talking about it, it becomes a topic in tv/magazines/newspapers/books, advertisers start to draw on sexual tropes and imagery) which further the increasing explicitness and visibility
    3. Both trends give a new discursive prominence to an earlier existing tradition of academic inquiry, which had itself at points generated much popular discussion (most notably Kinsey). People writing/talking about sex/sexuality seek concepts within and through which to articulate themselves. Both in the media and in everyday life (with the former feeding into the latter).
    4. The gay rights movements leads to an increasing visibility of homosexuality, rendering heterosexuality a widespread object of explicit deliberation for the first time i.e. when people start to recognise that there are others (homosexuals) they start to reflect, to varying degrees, on their own sexuality qua sexuality for the first time. This, as well as ensuing political contests & controversies, feed back into the increasing visibility of sex/sexuality generating a veritable discursive explosion. Other feedback loops (point 2) continue to operate and increase in their intensity, with an ever great centrality of advertising-driven consumer spending to Anglo-American economies & the emergence of lifestyle journalism. Aids places homosexuality (and by extension sexuality, sexual choice and sexual behaviour) at the heart of societal level debates about risk in the 1980s.
    5. As this discursive explosion continues to grow in its intensity, the underlying conceptual structures of sexological thought (at times distorted by their popularisation and through their interaction with other, less significant though still pervasive, modes of thinking and talking about sexuality) become part of how we come to think about sex and sexuality at a society wide level.
    6. The expansion of LGB visibility, as well as the political contests that continue to come with it, furthers this process but they don’t challenge these underlying conceptual structures. Our basic models for thinking abouts sexuality are taxonomic: people are categorised according to their object choice (same / other / both), a function of their ‘sexual orientation’, and influential strands within the LGB movement seek normalisation as a prudent political strategy (“we’re just like you, it’s just we’re attracted to the same sex” etc). This is compounded by the way certain debates play out politically as totemic electoral wedge issues, particularly in the US e.g. gay marriage.
    7. Then the acronym begins to grow (i.e. G -> LG –> LGB –> LGBT –> LGBTUA etc) fuelled by grass roots activism, facilitated in a variety of ways by new communications technologies. The experience of the later terms in the acronym (and others, such as polyamory, which aren’t present) tend to differ from the earlier terms in the acronym (though LG/LGB experience is far from uniform, this claim is about a tendency). Increasingly people’s day to day experiences, their attempts to articulate who they take themselves to be, run up against the conceptual limits that these inherited sexological discursive structures afford. Concepts don’t do justice to what people are trying to express with them so, particularly given the newfound ability to engage in mass mediated communication within such groups, people begin to generate new concepts: new terms, phrases, ideas about who they are and how they live.
    8. This is what I’m terming the ‘next sexual revolution’: the cultural & social emergents from these everyday experiments in living, as well as the conversations which flow from them. As people are draw into dialogue as a result of their commonalities, these dialogues also lead to the generation of new tips which articulate their difference, while at the same time affirming a common identity. The next sexual revolution, currently in its very early stages, is a struggle against the very category of the ‘sexual’, as the network of concepts underpinning it are increasingly deconstructed at the level of everyday life and the dialogues people have about it.

    And that’s the fullest statement I’ve yet managed about my hypothesis. The point of the monograph is to prove it, which I increasingly believe I can do through combining (a) engaging with the historical literature in a periodized way from the somewhat idiosyncratic vantage point my asexuality research and my phd research has led me to (b) compiling a matching periodized corpus of popular texts (c) another corpus of academic texts and using the wonderful WMatrix to unpack the transitions I identify with (a) through the excavation of (b) & (c).

    Edit to add: did I just inadvertently stumble across my basic chapter plan for when I start writing the book proposal in a few weeks time?

     
  • Mark 8:06 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The government of an ‘economy’ and the emergence of a ‘bioeconomy’ 

    As Peter Miller and I have argued elsewhere, the government of an “economy” becomes possible only through discursive mechanisms that represent the domain to be governed as an intelligible field with its limits, characteristics whose component parts are linked together in some more or less systematic manner (Miller and Rose 1990). For the bioeconomy to emerge as a space to be mapped, managed, and understood, it needs to be conceptualized as a set of processes and relations that are amenable to knowledge, that can be known and theorized, that can become the field or target of programs that seek to evaluate and increase the power of nations or corporations by acting within and upon that economy.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 33, Princeton University Press

     

     
  • Mark 6:59 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The tension at the heart of the DSM 

    DSM IV cautions that individuals within any diagnostic group are heterogeneous: its categories are only intended as aids to clinical judgement. But it promotes an idea of specificity in diagnosis that is linked to a conception of specificity in underlying pathology. The broad categories of the start of the twentieth century – depression, schizophrenia, neurosis – are no longer adequate. Pathologies of mood, cognition, will, or affect are dissected at a different scale. The psychiatric gaze is no longer molar but molecular. And behind this molecular classification of disorders lies another image of the brain – that of contemporary neuroscience – and of therapeutic intervention – that of psychopharmacology.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 199, Princeton university Press

     
  • Mark 4:43 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: brain chemicals, psychic life, , unconscious desires   

    The transition from psy discourse to neurochemical discourse 

    The psy discourses that took shape across the twentieth century brought into existence a whole new way of relating to ourselves – in terms of neuroses, trauma, unconscious desires, repression, and, of course, the theme of the centrality of sexuality to our psychic life. To say we have become “neurochemical selves” is not to say that this way of relating to ourselves has now displaced or replaced all others: different practices and locales embody and enjoin different sense of selfhood, and the idea that each culture or historical period is characterized by a single way of understanding and relating to ourselves is clearly mistaken. But I suggest that a neurochemical sense of ourselves is increasingly being layered onto other, older sense of the self, and invoked in particular settings and encounters with significant consequences. Individuals themselves and their authorities – general practitioners, nurses, teachers, parents – are beginning to recode variations in moods, emotions, desires, and thoughts in terms of the functioning of their brain chemicals, and to act upon themselves in the light of this belief.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 222-223, Princeton University Press

     
  • Mark 4:24 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: collective existence, moral space, organic brain,   

    The creation of the ‘mind’ 

    In psychoanalysis, and in the whole array of psychotherapies that accompanied it, the eye gave way to the ear: it was the voice of the patient that was the royal road to the unconscious. Madness, as mental illness, neurosis, and psychosis, came to be located in a psychological space – the repository of biography and experience, the origin of thoughts, beliefs, moods, and desires. As David Armstrong has suggested, what was fabricated here was a new object – the mind:

    “The mind was represented to the gaze in words. Whereas under the old regime the body of the patient had to be made legible to the physician’s interrogation, under the new regime the body produced its own truth, which required not legibility but encouragement. The patient had to speak, to confess, to reveal; illness was transformed from what was visible to what was heard.” (Armstrong 1983: 25)

    A psy-shaped space opens up, and becomes the privileged object of the psychiatric gaze: the inner space of the individual. This was not the mind as it had been in the nineteenth century – “a space of rationality coterminous with the cerebral tissues” (26) – but a “moral” space between the organic brain on the one hand and the social space of conduct on the other, a space on which the sediments of familial and human relations were superimposed or inscribed, perhaps even those of collective existence in society. This space could not be seen, it could only be interpreted by analysts or imagined by poets or artists.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 194, Princeton University Press

     
  • Mark 4:16 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Late capitalism and a/sexual culture 

    My aim is descriptive and diagnostic – to begin to map the new territory of biological citizenship and to develop some conceptual tools for its analysis

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 137, Princeton University Press

    In short: my plan is to do the same thing with sexual experience in late capitalism….

     
  • Mark 4:09 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: continuous training, self evaluation,   

    Nikolas Rose on the Reflexive Imperative and Health 

    Today, we are required to be flexible, to be in continuous training, life-long learning, to undergo perpetual assessment, continual incitement to buy, constantly to improve oneself, to monitor our health, to manage our risk. And such obligations extend to our genetic susceptibilities: hence the active responsible biological citizen must engage in a constant work of self-evaluation and the modulation of conduct, diet, lifestyle, and drug regime, in response to the changing requirements of the susceptible body.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 154, Princeton University Press

     
  • Mark 4:04 pm on February 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Explaining personhood in the neuroscientific age 

    The new style of thought in biological psychiatry not only establishes what counts as an explanation, it establishes what there is to explain. The deep psychological space that opened in the twentieth century has flattened out. In this new account of personhood, psychiatry no longer distinguishes between organic and functional disorders. It no longer concernes itself with the mind or the psyche. Mind is simply what the brain does. And mental pathology is simply the behavioural consequences of an identifiable, and potentially correctable, error or anomaly in some of those elements now identified as aspects of that organic brain. This is a shift in human ontology – in the kinds of persons we take ourselves to be. It entails a new way of seeing, judging, and acting upon human normality and abornomality. It enables us to be governed in new ways. And it enables us to govern ourselves differently.

    Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself, Pg 192, Princeton University Press 

     
  • Mark 9:30 am on February 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Being one’s organism, one’s experience 

    Therapy seems to mean a getting back to basic sensory and visceral experience. Prior to therapy the person is prone to ask himself, often unwittingly, “What do others think I should do in this situation?” “What would my parents or my culture want me to do?” “What do I think ought to be done?” He is thus continually acting in terms of the form which should be imposed upon his behaviour. This does not necessarily mean that he always acts in accord with the opinions of others. He may indeed endeavor to act so as to contradict the expectations of others. He is nevertheless acting in terms of the expectations (often introjected expectations) of others. During the process of therapy the individual comes to ask himself, in regard to ever-widening areas of his life-space, “How do I experience this?” “What does it mean to me?” “If I behave in a certain way how do I symbolize the meaning which it will have for me?” He comes to act on a basis of what may be termed realism – a realistic balancing of the satisfactions and dissatisfactions which any action will bring to himself.

    Carl Rogers, On Becoming A Person, Pg 103-104

    I’m playing with the idea that this can be interpreted as tendencies towards communicative reflexivity (relying on real or imagined interlocutors to complete and confirm our internal conversations) acting as a contraint on realistic appraisal of our objective circumstances and subjective concerns. If we see the end of reflexivity as being to determine courses of action which, given the situation we objectively confront and what we subjectively care about, lead us towards a satisfying and sustainable modus vivendi then this conversational reliance on interlocutors will inhibit an individual’s capacity for human flourishing. My first thought upon playing this line of argument out in my mind was that it’s profoundly, indeed unpleasantly, individualistic but this isn’t necessarily the case. While communicative reflexivity, particularly given the fact that interlocutors will tend to be similarly disposed, is generative of relational goods (primarily solidaristic ones) it also constrains the capacity of an individual to embrace those goods as a considered project, rather than as a characteristic of a situation within which one finds oneself dialogically enmeshed. In some cases, such as those considered by Rogers, albeit obviously not in these terms, this can be intensely pathological. The moral value of this thick sociality is diminished for the fact that it has not been freely embraced. The movement away from communicative and towards autonomous & meta-reflexivity (which are both tendentially generative of a range of  relational problems) but it’s a precondition for the emergence of a thick sociality which is built and sustained by freely choosing individuals. Or to put it more figuratively: individualism is a phase we have to go through to become properly social.

     
  • Mark 8:08 pm on February 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bond issuers, cdo market, credit rating agencies, ,   

    The inner world of the credit rating agencies 

    Payments to the credit rating agencies – Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch – doubled in the five years of s subprime boom, totalling $6 billion by 2007. Unfortunately the efficiency of those agencies did not keep pace with their earnings.

    In July 2007, the US financial watchdog published a damning account of the ratings agencies. Not one of them could provide adequate documentation for their methods of calculating the risk on CDOs. After 2002 they had become overwhelmed by the sale of new business they were doing. the conflict of interest – bond issuers paying for their own products to be rated – was never properly managed. Emails seized by a 2008 Congressional inquiry shows the depth of collusion.

    One instant message exchange sums it up. Analysts Rahul Shah and Shannon Mooney of Standard & Poor’s are exchanging views on a CDO the company has just rated. ‘By the way,’ says Rahul, ‘that deal is ridiculous.’ ‘I know, right,’ Shannon replies, ‘[the] model def[initely] does not capture half of the risk.’ ‘We should not be rating it,’ Rahul chips in, prompting Shannon to type – on a system that is flashing constant reminders that they are being recorded – the immortal line: ‘We rate every deal. It could be structured by cows and we  would rate it.’

    Another analyst email exchange at S&P concluded: ‘Rating agencies continue to create an even bigger monster – the CDO market. Let’s hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters :o)’

    Paul Mason, Meltdown, Pg 94

     
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