Month: August 2012

The sexual assumption is the usually unexamined presupposition that sexual attraction is both universal (everyone ‘has it’) and uniform (it’s fundamentally the same thing in all instances) such that its absence must be explicable in terms of a distinguishable pathology. All from this Guardian article about asexuality earlier in the week: What, not even a bit of mild […]

consciousness is always to be conscious of something. Even if its referent is to an internal bodily state, this has an ontological status independent of the ideas we hold about it: experience is necessarily an experience of something, for the verb cannot be intransitive. Thus the experiencer is someone who encounters something prior to it, relatively autonomous […]

As Savage and Burrows (2007: 894) point out, the popularity of the in depth interview in British sociology stems from an intellectual reaction to the excesses of Parsonian functionalism: responding to talk of reference groups, norms and values with the valorization of intensely idiographic methods which are geared towards the elaboration of people’s own values in their own […]

I got completely sucked into this discussion all afternoon. I had three initial aims with my asexuality research: mapping out community in a ideographically adequate way, understanding the role the internet played in the formation of the community and exploring what the reception of asexuality reveals about sexual culture. There’s still more I want to […]

If a subject relies on interlocutors to sustain and confirm reflexive deliberations, it leaves them open to conversational censure in a way in which autonomous reflexives and meta-reflexives are not. If their interlocutor objects, mocks or fails to understand what they are saying then the possibility of reaching a conclusion, at least in that instance, […]

After the initial section of my first round of PhD interviews (discussion of different deliberative mental activities) I asked participants what Porpora (2003) calls ‘the caterpillar’s question’: “who are you?” I had two intentions in asking the question. Firstly I hoped that it would frame the subsequent discussion (centring around their life in university) in […]

Some can remain at the mercy of their first-order pushes and pulls, drifting from job to job, place to place and relationship to relationship. Drift means an absence of personal identity and the accumulation of circumstances which make it harder to form one. Its obverse is not some kind of generalised conformity: its real opposite […]

Our concept of human nature is certainly limited; it’s partially socially conditioned, constrained by our own character defects and the limitations of the intellectual culture in which we exist. Yet at the same time it is of critical importance that we know what impossible goals we’re trying to achieve, if we hope to achieve some […]

Catnets exist where a set of actors are both internally densely networked in a relevant and meaningful manner and also share a common ‘category’ or ‘collective identity’. Actors can belong to a common category and even adhere to a common identity without necessarily enjoying meaningful and dense network ties: hermits are an obvious example. Likewise actors can […]

Morphogenetic personalism aims to understand the four-dimensionality to human existence (conceptualised as each individual’s psychobiography) through ‘slicing’ into the temporal parts of psychobiography, identifying and unpacking processes of elaboration and reproduction in the organisation of that personhood and, through doing so, ‘tracing out’ the specific connections with wider changes in social life which, in whatever […]

Semiosis is multi-functional (Jakobson 1990; Halliday 1994). It is simultaneously referential (or propositional, or ideational), social-relational (or interpersonal), and expressive. Thus, in the Habermasian terms introduced earlier, semiosis raises validity claims of truth, appropriateness and truthfulness/sincerity. Though it should hardly need saying, we insist on the importance of all three, including, contra Saussureans, the role of reference: there are not […]

critical realists distinguish the real from the actual and the empirical. The  ‘real’ refers to objects, their structures or natures and their causal powers and liabilities. The ‘actual’ refers to what happens when these powers and liabilities are activated and produce change. The ’empirical’ is the subset of the real and  the actual that is experienced […]