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  • Mark 11:57 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Orphans 


    Goodbye circus wheel
    May you rest along the sea 
    I have given you the fire of my youth 
    And the triumph o’er my enemies
    Goodbye fair weather home, and your faithless factories
    I have given you the blood and the truth
    from the wounds they laid onto me
    And whatever they left, well, I kept it for my own heart

    And the lonesome all understand
    With the choirs in my head
    And we were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of regret
    My baby
    And on and on and on
    the alphabet boys carry on
    We were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of these songs

    And now my lights, they never go down
    they waltz the moon and stars for me now
    So you can find some local libertine
    to take your daughters out on the town
    And I can feel it in my aging bones
    How the sound of the rain mixes up
    into the fountains where I drank my hero’s blood
    So I left you to find my very own hat full of rain

    And the lonesome all understand
    With the choirs in my head
    And we were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of regret
    My baby
    And on and on and on
    the alphabet boys carry on
    We were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of these songs

    Now I’m trying to keep it straight
    Learning all the streets and the alleyways
    And learning where they lead
    Now that I’m left alone here to drive
    But it’s so hard to stand on your own
    Against mirror of glass, hard and cold
    But the clothes I wore
    Just don’t fit my soul anymore
    No the clothes I wore
    Just don’t fit my soul anymore

    And the lonesome all understand
    With the choirs in my head
    And we were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of regret
    My baby
    And on and on and on
    the alphabet boys carry on
    We were orphans before
    We were ever the sons of these songs

    When we were young
    We were diamond Sinatras
    Like something I saw in a dream
    We kept our secrets in rooms
    locked up tight like a tomb
    Where the ballerinas lay

     

     
  • Mark 11:31 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    And I hate these things but I always attend 

    And I hate these things but I always attend,
    a little sip of something to take off the edge.
    And I make my way through the ghosts in the room,
    trying to crack a smile.

    And who you supposed to be?
    You look like heaven tonight
    And me I’m a tomb, a corpse in a suit,
    trying to look a little alive.
    Are you alright?

    I worry sometimes,
    are you dressed up to take my life?
    Keep it coming, keep it coming.

    And I think I saw you for the flash of a moment,
    Your broken heart and the body that holds it
    I lost your scent in the flash of the party.
    The big bright lights, baby, constantly haunt me.
    I’ve never been right, have you ever been lied to?
    I think I just saw the same scars upon you.
    But is this a disguise? A masquerade for me?
    Keep it coming, keep it coming.

     
  • Mark 11:25 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Spitting like a dragon with a similar demeanour 

     
  • Mark 11:22 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    A Eulogy for Twitter 

    Initially this article irritated me immensely. As clichés go, “it’s not as good as it used to be” is one I find peculiarly obnoxious, at least when it relates to the internet. But I think it actually makes some very interesting points:

    Those fictions have proven foolish, one-by-one. The service is filled with spam accounts: The median tweeter has just one measly follower, so how many of your followers are real people? The growth of Twitter, year-over-year, has plunged since 2011. And the tensions of Twitter’s inherent (and explicit) attention market seem to push and pull it in odd, fractal ways: to keep your Twitter timeline slow is to stop following others, to stop following others is to stop exploring the service (and to reduce the number of folks who can find you), to stop exploring the service is to get bored.

    Twitter users may just get too good at tweeting, too. When a new user joins Twitter, it takes time for them to figure out what they’re doing. You get to see all the visible seams in their work—the misunderstood conventions and misapplied hashtags—and the service becomes fresher in their naivete. Here’s a new friend to hang out with! The new user, too, gets to interact with new people and establish his or her voice. It’s an exciting thing to watch, but as growth slows, the excitement does, too.

    This isn’t just about the platform going mainstream. Many users disliked that the service auto-expanded images or harassed third-party client developers, saying that both discouraged the power users who came to Twitter for a writing platform. But the company has also arguably rewarded early adopters. Twitter’s new profiles prominently showing the month and year you joined the service.

    And Twitter remains a meaningful meet-up spot for some conversations. The predictable churn of the outrage cycle can make it hard to remember that the platform still amplifies otherwise underrepresented voices about essential topics. You can attend a protest on Twitter that you can’t attend in real life. Some of the conversations it hosts aren’t happening anywhere else.

    Viewed through this lens, the publishing platform might be seen as a microcosm for the power-shift in media from traditional gatekeepers to the rest of us. And this transfer of power is, at times, messy. (Consider the disputes over what different Twitter users consider to be “public” information.) Ultimately, this is a debate over who controls the narrative.

    Actually, a lot of Twitter fights are ultimately about this very question.

    • * *

    So who is Twitter for, anyway?

    “Twitter is the new comment section,” our friend Margarita Noriega—you may know her as @Margafret—said. “It’s changed, and unfortunately, it’s gotten a lot worse. It’s too filled with spam and hate speech and unverified content… At some point the Ezra Kleins of the world are leaving Twitter. They’re going to be the first people to leave.”

    In fact, the Kleins of the world have somewhat already left. A year ago, Klein lamented that Twitter’s signal-to-noise to ratio was too low. Check his feed today and he’s almost disengaged from the service entirely: Rarely replying or retweeting, he broadcasts Vox stories and nothing more.

    The irony about the Klein example is that he’s become the go-to example of media privilege, yet he got his start in journalism as a blogger at a time when established journalists used the word “blogger” as a pejorative.

    It has since become common for journalists to get their start on Twitter, in the same way that it no longer seems strange—at least among media types—to have met friends on the platform. But once media types of a certain stripe professionalize their accounts, they become like Klein’s: all scheduled tweets and broadcast links. They care about the writers they’d care about anyway—who often already have their own platform—and reply to them. Otherwise, they seem to ignore the stream.

    It’s users like Klein who contribute to the sense that Twitter’s period of openness—this window when people looking to do something other than self-promotion might join—may be ending.

    Some women have backed off the service altogether. It’s hard to avoid the ’splain-happy men who feel entitled to rock an otherwise friendly Twitter canoe. For a platform that was once so special, it would be sad and a little condescending to conclude that Twitter is simply something we’ve outgrown. After all, the platform has always been shaped by the people who congregate there. So if it’s no longer any fun, surely we’re at least partly to blame. And why worry about this dynamic anyway? All this attention on a platform that’s not that widely used may feel outsized, but that’s because its influence on publishing is gigantic: Twitter is the platform that led us into the mobile Internet age. It broke our habit of visiting individual news homepages first thing in the morning, and established behaviors built around real-time news consumption and production. It normalized mobile publishing power. It changed our expectations about how we congregate around shared events. Twitter has done for social publishing what AOL did for email. But nobody has AOL accounts anymore.

    http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/a-eulogy-for-twitter/361339/

     
  • Mark 11:17 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Queering Higher Education Panel at SRHE Conference 2014: Call for Panel Presenters 

    Call for Panel Presenters

    Queering Higher Education Panel at SRHE Conference 2014

    If your work is related to where Queer Studies meets the topic of Higher Education, academia or universities, you are cordially invited to consider participating in the panel I am convening at the SRHE (Society for Research into Higher Education) annual conference this year.

    The conference is largely untouched by queer (and LGBT) theory or research, so this panel will aim to get these issues and modes of theorising more recognised in the field of Higher Education Studies in the UK. The panel will therefore showcase a variety of current work, and scholars from any stage of their career (including doctoral students) are invited to respond.

    The panel will focus on demonstrating the relevance of queer to a variety of higher education contexts; each presentation will take a particular place or context in higher education and relate it to an aspect of queer identity and/or theory (including queer research methodologies). So far, ideas include the queering effects of international conference spaces, trans* experiences and theorisations of campus, and queer pedagogy in the higher education classroom. International perspectives are most welcome.  

    To complete the panel, I am looking for up to four more presenters (for c. 20min presentations).

    If you are interested, please send me your name and affiliation and a very short description of your intended presentation (approx. 100 words) by Friday 23rd May.

    If selected, I will inform you over that weekend, and then you will have until Wednesday 18th June to produce the obligatory abstract and 1,000-word paper (see below).

    I have provided further information about the conference in this message, below my signature.

    Please check that you can manage the dates, submission requirements and costs. The conference is not cheap!

    If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch: ehenderson01@ioe.ac.uk

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Best wishes,

    Emily

    Emily F. Henderson

    PhD Candidate, ESRC-funded

    Institute of Education, University of London

    Email: emily_frascatore@hotmail.com

    Academia.edu page: ioe-ac.academia.edu/EmilyHenderson

    Conference Information:

    Conference dates:

    10-12 December 2014

    (9am on 10th Dec. to 2:30pm on 12th Dec.)

    Also: 9 December 2014 (Newer Researchers’ Conference)

    Location:

    Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom

    Conference theme:

    ‘Inspiring future generations: embracing plurality and difference in higher education’

    Conference site: http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2014/

    SRHE:

    SRHE – Society for Research into Higher Education http://www.srhe.ac.uk/

    Submission:

    1) To me: name, affiliation, brief statement (100 words) by Friday 23rd May.

    2) If chosen, 150 word abstract AND 1,000 word (plus references) paper, to me by Wednesday 18th June.

    NB There will be no further requirement for paper submission.

    Timeline:

    We will be informed if the proposal has been accepted before 26th September, which is the early booking rate deadline. Please do not make any arrangements until you hear from me, as I cannot confirm in advance that the proposal will be accepted.

    Registration:

    Attendance for the whole event is encouraged.

    Early bird refers to before 26th September.

    Student rates apply to full-time students.

    For SRHE membership, see http://www.srhe.ac.uk/join_us/individual_membership_benefits.asp

    For further residential details, see http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2014/submit-abstract-register.asp

    Residential Package

    SRHE Member Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 (early bird) £545


    SRHE Member Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £615


    Non Members Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 (early bird) £630


    Non Members Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £675
SRHE

    Student member residential 10 – 12 December 2014 (early bird) £350


    Non-member Student residential 10 – 12 December 2014 £400

    Non Residential Package

    This includes all of the above items except for the hotel accommodation

    SRHE Member Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 (early bird) £460


    SRHE Member Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £530


    Non Members Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 (early bird) £540


    Non Members Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £580


    Student Member Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £280


    Student Non-member Non-Residential: 10 – 12 December 2014 £320

     
  • Mark 3:29 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Governing Academic Life – conference marking 30yrs since Foucault’s death 

    This looks fantastic! If only it didn’t clash with something equally good at Warwick on those days…

    Governing Academic Life

    A conference at the LSE and the British Library,

    June 25-26, 2014

    Register online*

    June 25, 2014 is the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Michel Foucault. Governing Academic Life marks this anniversary by providing an occasion for academics to reflect on our present situation through our reflections on Foucault’s legacy – which could include critical reflections on that legacy. The focus of the conference, therefore, will be on the form of governmentality that now constitutes our identities and regulates our practices as researchers and teachers. However the event will also create a space for encounters between governmentality scholars and critics of the neoliberal academy whose critiques have different intellectual roots – especially Frankfurt school critical theory, critical political economy; feminism; Bourdieuian analyses of habitus, capital and field; and autonomist Marxism.

    Please see below for the provisional conference programme. For more information, contact info@governing-academic-life.org.

    *There will be a limited number of fee waivers/reduced rates available for doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, other early career academics (particularly if based in academic institutions outside of London), and scholars without an institutional affiliation. To apply for a fee waiver/reduced rate, please send an email to info@governing-academic-life.org by midnight on May 30, 2014 explaining why your participation in the conference would be beneficial to you and/or other attendees, and attaching a short CV (no more than 2 pages).

    Wednesday, 25th June

    09.30-10.45            Refreshments

    10.45-11.00             Welcome and opening remarks

    11.00-12.30             Opening Plenary

    Gurminder Bhambra (Warwick), ‘The Neoliberal Assault on the Public University’
    Wendy Brown (Berkeley) ‘Between Shareholders and Stakeholders: University Purposes Adrift’
    Mike Power (LSE) ‘Accounting for the Impact of Research’

    12.30-13.30              Lunch

    13.30-15.00              Parallel Sessions

    A. (Anti-)Social Science, the neoliberal art of government, and higher education

    John Holmwood (Nottingham) , ‘Neo-liberalism as a theory of knowledge and its implications for the social sciences and critical thought’
    Nick Gane (Warwick), ‘Neoliberalism: How Should the Social Sciences Respond?’
    Andrew McGettigan (Critical Education blog), ‘Human Capital in English Higher Education’

    B. What is an author, now? Futures of scholarly communication and academic publishing

    Roundtable discussion with Steffen Boehm (Essex), Christian Fuchs (Westminster), Gary Hall (Coventry), Paul Kirby (Sussex)

    15.00-15.15                 Refreshments

    15.15-17.00                 Parallel Sessions

    A. Feminism and the knowledge factory
    (Convenor: Valerie Hey, Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research (CHEER), University of Sussex)

    Barbara Crossouard (CHEER), ‘Materializing Foucault?’
    Valerie Hey (CHEER), ‘Neo-Liberal Materialities and their Dissident Daughters’
    Louise Morley (CHEER), ‘Researching the Future: Closures and Culture Wars in the Knowledge Economy’

    B. Co-operative higher education
    (Convenor: Joss Winn, Lincoln)

    Richard Hall, ‘Academic Labour and Co-operative Struggles for Subjectivity’
    Mike Neary (Lincoln), ‘Challenging the Capitalist University’
    Joss Winn (Lincoln), ‘The University as a Worker Co-operative’
    Andreas Wittel (Nottingham Trent) ‘Education as a Gift’

    18.15-20.00              Pay bar at Terrace Room, British Library

    18.30-20.00              Remember Foucault? (Terrace Room, British Library)

    Mitchell Dean (Copenhagen Business School), ‘Michel Foucault’s “apology” for neoliberalism’
    Lois McNay (Oxford) ‘Foucault, Social Weightlessness and the Politics of Critique’

     

    Thursday, 26th June

    09.30- 11.00             Parallel Sessions

    A. Governing academic freedom

    Stephen J Ball (Institute of Education: University of London) ‘Universities and “the economy of truth”’
    Penny Burke (Roehampton) and Gill Crozier (Roehampton), ‘Regulating Difference in Higher Education Pedagogies’
    Rosalind Gill (City University), ‘The Psychic Life of Neoliberalism in the Academy’

    B. Teaching the ungovernable: rethinking the student as public

    (Convenor: Carl Cederström, Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University)

    Sam Dallyn (Manchester Business School, Manchester University), ‘Management Education: Critical Management Myopia and Searching for an Alternative Public’
    Carl Cederström, ‘The Student as Public’
    Matthew Charles (Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture, Westminster)
    ‘The Ungovernable in Education: On Unintended Learning Outcomes’
    Mike Marinetto (Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University), ‘The Ungovernable Syllabus: Social Science Fiction and the Creation of a Public Pedagogy’

    11.00-11.30               Refreshments

    11.30-13.00               Parallel Sessions

    A. Measurement, management and the market university

    Elizabeth Popp Berman (SUNY Albany), ‘Quantifying the Economic Value of Science: The Production and Circulation of U.S. Science & Technology Statistics’
    Isabelle Bruno (University of Lille 2), ‘Quality management in education and research: an essay in genealogy’
    Christopher Newfield (UC Santa Barbara), ‘The Price of Privatization’

    B. Para-academic Practices: becoming ungovernable?
    (Convenor Paul Boshears)

    Paul Boshears (European Graduate School; continent), ‘Rudderless Piloting, Unwavering Pivoting, Governing without Coercion’
    Fintan Neylan, (Dublin Unit for Speculative Thought), ‘The Logic of Para-Organisation’
    Robert Jackson (Lancaster) ‘Para-academia and the Education of Grownups’
    Eileen Joy (Punctum Books) ‘Amour Fou and the Clockless Nowever: Radical Publics’ (by weblink)

    13.00-14.30              Lunch

    14.30-16.45               Final Plenary: Beyond the Neoliberal Academy

    Participants tbc

    16.45-17.00              Closing remarks

     
  • Mark 2:35 pm on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Elphinstone PhD Scholarship on technology and work-life bourdaries 

    I’d love to do this. Shame I just finished one. Hmm, never thought I’d say that:

    (Dis)Connected Working: Managing Work-Life Boundaries in a Digital Economy

    The proposed project will explore organizational policies and practices related to technology and work-life balance, and the ways in which these make possible specific ways of working, living, and combining work with non-work activities and responsibilities.

    The project will take a participatory ethnographic approach, and will draw on established methodologies of action research in organizations. It will be based within a single case study organization.

    The aims of the project will include:

    1. examining the ways in which government and organisational policies and practices related to digital technologies, flexible and mobile working, and work-life balance impact – often in complex, unexpected or even contradictory ways – on how employees use work-related technologies in managing work, non-work, and the relationship between these;
    2. exploring potential disparities and inequalities in access to digital infrastructure across geographically diverse areas (across the rural-urban spectrum), and their potential impact on work and non-work practices and relationship between these;
    3. proposing new ways of studying organizational policies and practices related to technology and work-life balance.

    The proposed doctoral project will be supervised by Dr Karolina Kazimierczak and Professor Natasha Mauthner from the University of Aberdeen Business School, and will build on an existing EPSRC-funded study, Digital Epiphanies, which investigates interactions between work, family life and technologies in the home. The project will form part of a broader programme of research exploring interactions between technologies and social worlds across different sites (family, organization, national and international policy, popular culture).

    The project is funded by a University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Scholarship.  An Elphinstone Scholarship covers the cost of tuition fees, whether Home, EU or Overseas. The deadline for applications is Friday, 6 June 2014.

    Informal queries can be directed to Dr Karolina Kazimierczak at: k.a.kazimierczak@abdn.ac.uk. Details of application procedures can be found at: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cass/graduate/elphinstone-phd-scholarships-329

     
  • Mark 8:07 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Lisa Diamond on Sexual Fluidity 

    I’ve intended to read Lisa Diamond’s Sexual Fluidity for a few years. I’ve finally got round to it and I’m kicking myself for not having read it earlier. I think I’ve been gradually losing interest in sexuality studies over the last year or two and this book has near instantly reawakened my enthusiasm for it. There needs to be a proper longitudinal study into asexuality and I’d rather like to be the person who did it. I’m writing a section of a chapter on ‘a-fluidity’ at the moment and it’s proving really thought provoking.

     
    • Tracey Yeadon-Lee 8:22 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      This is great – a longitudinal study on asexuality would be really valuable. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar in the area of non-binary gender 🙂

    • Mark 8:25 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      That sounds great! I’m writing a chapter on asexuality and psychology while reading the Lisa Diamond book – I’m struck by how many interesting ethical, methodological and empirical issues can only be resolved by longitudinal research. It gives a completely new perspective on essentialism vs contructivism (etc).

    • Mark 8:25 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      I’m not sure I could face another longitudinal project after my PhD though. It’s SO much work :-/

    • Tracey Yeadon-Lee 8:25 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      Reblogged this on Tracey Yeadon-Lee and commented:
      A longitudinal study on asexuality would be a great idea. I’ve been thinking of doing something similar in the area of non-binary identities. We also need to know about how asexuality and non-binary identities are experienced across different generations.

    • Mark 8:26 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      Is there any existing longitudinal work on non-binary gender?

    • Tracey Yeadon-Lee 8:29 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      No not that I’m aware of. I know what you mean about the benefits of longitudinal research but I must admit to feeling some dread at the inevitable difficulties of keeping track of participants! Still, I think it would be worthwhile 🙂

    • Mark 8:29 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      I’m sure it would be very worthwhile 🙂

    • Tracey Yeadon-Lee 8:33 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      I like your posts by the way, I enjoy reading your stuff as your interests are sincere and not instrumentally motivated 🙂

  • Mark 5:06 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Why ask “why talk”? 

    Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 18.03.07

    Well this is interesting (sort of). Though it reminds me of the ‘Free Hugs Society’ some peculiarly obnoxious students at Warwick established a few years ago, something which prompted them to go around grabbing strangers while being seemingly oblivious to how intrusive and problematic this was to many of the people being grabbed. The people behind it seem to be predominately social marketers (see also the partners) which contributes to the irritating, though interesting, zeitgeistyness of the project. I’m fascinated by the process which leaves “why talk?” as a coherent question that can be answered by invoking popularised notions of social capital.

     
  • Mark 3:57 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: nature vs nurture, ,   

    Overcoming ‘nature vs nurture’ 

    The psychologist John Money used the example of language to demonstrate the misguided nature of such assumptions. You were not born with your native language, and nothing in your “nature” predisposed you to learn English rather than Swahili. Nor did you “choose” English over Swahili. Rather, language was determined by your native culture. Yet our brains are innately predisposed to assimilate a native language, whatever that language turns out to be. Once acquired, it cannot be unacquired—it is as firmly fixed as if we were born with it. Some people have contended that certain environmental influences on sexuality operate in similar ways. As Anne Fausto-Sterling has argued, “bodily experiences are brought into being by our development in particular cultures and historical periods. . . . As we grow and develop, we literally, not just ‘discursively’ (that is, through language and cultural practices), construct our bodies, incorporating experience into our very flesh.”

    Research on alcohol use provides a good example of how traits can be biologically influenced and flexible. There is solid evidence that some individuals have a genetic predisposition to excessive alcohol use. Yet genetic influences on complex behaviors are rarely rigid and deterministic, and so situational and environmental variation can modify the expression of such a trait despite its essential components. The psychologists Brian Mustanski and J. Michael Bailey called attention to one notable study showing that the heritability of adolescent alcohol use (that is, the degree to which variation in this behavior was due to genetic versus environmental factors) actually changed as a function of the amount of migration and social mobility in a community. The investigators found that communities with more social mobility and less social control tended to foster the expression of youths’ genetic predispositions to alcohol use. In contrast, communities with more stable social structures and more social control over adolescent behavior had the effect of constraining the expression of young people’s genetic predispositions to drinking. As a result, adolescent drinking was less “genetically determined” in one community than in another. This finding clearly shows not only that genetically influenced traits show significant variation in expression but that the very balance of genetic versus environmental influences is also variable.

    – Lisa Diamond, Sexual Fluidity, Loc 370-376

     
  • Mark 2:14 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: asexuality and sexual normativity, , ,   

    Asexuality and Sexual Normativity: An Anthology 

    Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 15.10.54The last decade has seen the emergence of an increasingly high profile and politically active asexual community, united around a common identity as ‘people who do not experience sexual attraction’. This unique volume collects a diverse range of interdisciplinary empirical and theoretical work which addresses this emergence, raising important and timely questions about asexuality and its broader implications for sexual culture. One of the most pressing and contentious issues within academic and public debates about asexuality is what relationship, if any, it has to sexual dysfunction. As well as collecting cutting edge scholarship in the emerging field of asexuality studies, rendering it indispensable to any sexualities course across the range of disciplines, this anthology also addresses this urgent debate, offering a variety of perspectives on how and why some have pathologised asexuality. This includes a range of chapters addressing the broader issues of sexual normativity within which these contemporary debates about asexuality are taking place.

    Buy online here. Yours for only £85. Hmm. But maybe you want to ask your library to buy a copy….? 

     
  • Mark 1:50 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    PhD Workshop: What’s the point of social ontology? 

    What’s the Point of Social Ontology?
    PhD Workshop at the University of Warwick
    18th June 2014, 10am – 5:30pm

    Ontology can often prove a contested and confusing issue within social research. Everyone has an ontology, explicit or otherwise, but the process of drawing this out and thinking through its implications for research can often be a confusing part of the PhD process. This participatory workshop explores the practical significance of ontological questions for social research, inviting participants to reflect on their own research projects in a collaborative and supportive context. It aims to help participants negotiate the sometimes abstruse matter of social ontology, linking theory to practice in the context of their own research projects. The main focus throughout the day will be on how ontological questions are encountered in social research, the questions posed by such encounters and how engaging explicitly with social ontology can often help resolve such issues.

    All participants will offer a brief (5 minute) presentation of their research project and the ontological questions which have been or are expected to be encountered within it. Those still early in the PhD process are welcome to substitute this for a discussion of their research interests and potential project. We’d like to ask all participants to reflect in advance on their own social ontology and how it pertains to their project. Uncertainty here is not a problem, in fact it will be a useful contribution to discussions on the day!

    We also invite two more substantial presentations (10 mins) for the first afternoon session, reflecting on your engagement with ontological questions in your own project in order to help begin a practical engagement which encompasses the entire group. If you would be interested in leading the discussion in this way then please make this known when registering.

    To register please contact socialontology@warwick.ac.uk with a brief description of your research and your interest in social ontology (500 words or less) by May 15th. The event is free but places are limited. Travel bursaries are available, please ask for more details.

    http://www.socialontology.eu

     
    • rly1987 1:59 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      I always try to remind westerners that their intellectual study of things like existence and reality are not anywhere near or equivalent to the genuine wisdom concerning the nature of existence and the authentic experience of oneness with all things that the Eastern sages were able to acquire where there was no separation between themselves and the notions they were “seeing” and expounding upon.

      It’s why I can’t stand Nietzsche having thought he was anywhere near the level of conscious enlightenment of someone like Gautama Buddha.

  • Mark 10:44 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Quantifying the time wasted by quasi-market systems 

    I’ve just spent an hour and a half booking a stack of train tickets for the next few months. I do this a few times a year and, with practice, I’ve become pretty good at it. I object to subjugating my plans to the vagaries of the ticketing system but it seems obviously true to me that the “it’s possible to travel very cheaply if you’re flexible” isn’t just a rhetorical justification for a crap system. However I can’t help but wonder about the sheer amount of time that’s be wasted on aggregate by people doing this each year.

    Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 11.43.16

    Not unlike the process of being exploited if you’re unwilling to change energy supplier once a year or more.

     

     
  • Mark 7:28 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Jessie Daniels, ,   

    Digital Public Sociology at #BritSoc14 

    It was interesting to follow the #BritSoc14 tweeting last week. The quality and quantity of the live tweeting was quite striking relative to previous conferences. Not surprisingly, it was the digital sociology sessions that provoked the most live tweeting. If Twitter is a reliable guide, which it probably isn’t, digital sociology seemed to be one of the most high profile topics at the conference. I was a bit dismayed to have missed the session I organised on Digital Public Sociology but thankfully Huw Davies recorded the talks:

    I’m not sure if ‘Digital Public Sociology’ is a useful expression. But it’s how I’ve come to think of a topic that’s been one of my main interests ever since the first year of my PhD when I encountered Pierre Bourdieu’s public sociology at the same time as I was starting to see the academic relevance of blogging (which had long been a fairly directionless hobby of mine). There was a great day at Warwick, organised by Michelle Kempson and Lucy Mayblin, called the Politics of Sociology which helped connect these things in my mind. But I’m finding ‘digital public sociology’ useful because it’s the first time I’ve been able to articulate my interest in a way that doesn’t feel reductive, having formerly found myself saying rather sheepishly “er I’m interesting in sociologists blogging and tweeting and stuff”.

    Edited to add: the disparity in the stats between the three talks is really striking. I hadn’t actually thought about the running order (I just added them in the order I uploaded the files) but it does seem as if Deborah’s talk is much more visible as a consequence of being first in the playlist.

     
    • jonrainford 8:28 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      And the quality of the tweeting I think is in part due to you! Much of what I learned and have refined came from listening and talking to you at the 2012 BSA conference.

      The more people read and the gage with live tweets, the more they develop their ‘craft’ and I do believe it is a craft. If you remember back 2 years, a large % of the tweets came from you so a lot of good practice has evolved out of the hard work you put in.

    • fuhriello 10:12 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink

    • Mark 2:16 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink

      cheers jon, that’s very nice of you to say 🙂 it’s a more helpful way to look at it, as opposed to “damn why did twitter take off with the bsa just as I quit it?” which is how I’ve tended to look at it since the conference…

  • Mark 3:11 pm on April 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: roles, ,   

    Theorizing Roles and Collective Intentionality: Contemporary Perspectives 

    Theorizing Roles and Collective Intentionality: Contemporary Perspectives
    Monday 5 May 2014, 1-5pm
    Seminar Room 3, Chrystal MacMillan Building
    15a George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD
     
    Overview: Despite the arguments of committed critics, notions of roles and collective intentionality have persisted in social science and philosophy. They provide ways of conceptualizing aspects of our sociality and tools to critique individualistic approaches to the social world. This symposium brings together speakers who are engaging with contemporary debates about roles and collective intentionality. The aim is to provoke debate about these concepts, and to push forward their theorization whilst considering serious challenges to them.
     
    Schedule
    1.00-1.10pm    Introduction
    1.10-2.10pm    Social Roles and Tasks, Professor Raimo Tuomela (University of Helsinki)
    2.15-3.00pm    What Ever Happened to ‘Sex Roles’? Sex, Gender and the Concept of Role, Dr Mary Holmes   (Edinburgh University)
    3.00-3.30pm    Tea, Coffee and Biscuits
    3.30-4.00pm    Social Roles and Moral Law, Professor James Swindler (Illinois State University)
    4.00-4.30pm    Roles and Implicit Consensus, Dr Stephen Kemp (Edinburgh University)
    4.30-5.00pm     Panel: all speakers in discussion with each other and the audience
     
    Organized by Professor James Swindler, Illinois State University (jkswind@ilstu.edu) and Dr Stephen Kemp, Edinburgh University (s.kemp@ed.ac.uk) with support from the School of Social and Political Science and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh University, and the BSA Theory Study Group.
     
  • Mark 2:58 pm on April 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , information mangagement,   

    5 reasons why Evernote is overrated 

    1. It’s astonishingly easy for the syncing process to get mixed up. The synch for Omnifocus, which surely has a much more complex database, never gets confused. I seem to generate synch conflicts on a small minority of occasions that I use Evernote. These synch conflicts sometimes lead me to lose data. Usually they’re just annoying though.
    2. The notes look radically different depending on the computer and device I’m using. Obviously this is unavoidable to some degree but the discrepancies between how a note looks on my home desktop, my laptop, my office PC, my iPad and my iPhone really irritate me.
    3. They still haven’t fixed the WYSIWYG editor. The same problems that frustrated me when I first tried Evernote a few years ago (insertion of errant full stops, spacing inconsistencies, line breaks that get stuck in place) are still mostly there. If you’ve got used to using minimalist text editors, it makes writing in Evernote an incredibly frustrating experience.
    4. It’s too slow to function usefully as a place to instantaneously store ideas. I’ll grant it’s improved over time in this respect (the iOS 7 version is a big improvement) but I still find myself using Omnifocus instead just because it’s much quicker.
    5. The other reason I put notes into my Omnifocus inbox instead (either through the app or via e-mail) is that I trust Omnifocus and don’t trust Evernote. All these little niggling inadequacies contribute to an inability to forget about the software. I know Omnifocus will work without me thinking about it. I can’t say the same about Evernote. That’s why I think Evernote is overrated and that’s why I’m now regretting having paid for a premium subscription.

    Oh how I wish the Omni Group would build an Evernote alternative. The stuff I store in Evernote (e.g. my research agenda, mailing lists, plans for future events) could be stored in Omnifocus but it doesn’t quite work because these are things which don’t attach to particular tasks. They could be made to attach to them but it’s not how I think (and the congruence with how I think is what makes Omnifocus such a powerfully ingratiating application). I think I want a work space. Something kind of like Scrivnr but for all my research, projects and paid work. Evernote certainly isn’t it. But I’m not sure what is.

     
    • Peter 12:27 pm on May 12, 2014 Permalink

      With all due respect, I must say that the arguments you use above are relatively minor irritations if you consider them in the bigger picture. Furthermore, from the comments I have read around the net it seems that the iOS-based version is inferior to the Windows-based version, which seems surprising considering the Evernote team use Apple equipment. Admittedly, the iOS-based app gets new features quicker, and there are even more, but in terms of performance the Windows-based version is better.

    • Mark 12:29 pm on May 12, 2014 Permalink

      But what on earth is the ‘bigger picture’ in this context?

    • Peter 3:42 pm on May 12, 2014 Permalink

      The bigger picture is the complete package of what EN has to offer.

    • Mark 5:44 pm on May 12, 2014 Permalink

      Are you under the impression this post is titled “5 reasons why Evernote is useless” or “5 reasons why Evernote has no value”?

    • Peter 10:03 am on May 13, 2014 Permalink

      No I don’t, but the way your present Centrallo (as a listing app) & then compare it with Evernote I think you are doing a disservice to Centrallo, to EN & to your readers. Michael puts that straight on the other page, and I have replied to that. But I still maintain that if you want to demonstrate that EN is overrated, which may be the case, you should come with better arguments than those you mention above.
      No hard feelings though :-))

  • Mark 11:59 am on April 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rifkin, , zero marginal cost   

    How the “Internet of Things” is Killing Capitalism 

    I think there’s a massive degree of overstatement in Rifkin’s argument here (not for the first time) but it’s nonetheless a powerful set of claims. Is he correct that “this is the first new economic paradigm to emerge on the world scene since the advent of capitalism and socialism in the early 19th century”?

     
    • intriguingnw 12:43 pm on April 28, 2014 Permalink

      Reblogged this on Arts Digital Humanities Technology and Science and commented:
      Mentioned on radio this morning but perhaps not that straight forward if you compare to how Open Data can fuel an economy is it really a capitalism killer or simply a better way to not reinvent the wheel and leverage the power of the Net and web. It may change the game but will ir really kill the ability to foster the growth of personal wealth…

    • @socioloxia 8:02 pm on April 28, 2014 Permalink

      Reblogged this on #RmGdansk.

  • Mark 8:27 am on April 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jerome bruner,   

    Jerome Bruner’s six essential conditions of creativity 

    From this Brainpickings article:

    1. Detachment and commitment. A willingness to divorce oneself from the obvious is surely a prerequisite for the fresh combinatorial act that produces effective surprise. there must be as a necessary, if not a sufficient, condition a detachment from the forms as they exist… But it is a detachment of commitment. For there is about it a caring, a deep need to understand something, to master a technique, to render a meaning. So while the poet, the mathematician, the scientist must each achieve detachment, they do it in the interest of commitment. And at one stroke they, the creative ones, are disengaged from that which exists conventionally and are engaged deeply in what they construct to replace it.
    2. Passion and decorum. By passion I understand a willingness and ability to let one’s impulses express themselves in one’s life through one’s work… Passion, like discriminating taste, grows on its use. You more likely act yourself into feeling than feel yourself into action… But again a paradox: it is not all urgent vitality. There is decorum in creative activity: a love of form, an etiquette toward the object of our efforts, a respect for materials… So both are necessary and there must surely be a subtle matter of timing involved — when the impulse, when the taming.
    3. Freedom to be dominated by the object. You begin to write a poem. Before long it, the poem, begins to develop metrical, stanzaic,symbolical requirements. You, as the writer of the poem, are serving it — it seems. or you may be pursuing the task of building a formal model to represent the known properties of single nerve fibers and their synapses: soon the model takes over… There is something odd about the phenomenon. We externalize an object, a product of our thoughts, treat it as “out there.” Freud remarked, commenting on projection, that human beings seem better able to deal with stimuli from the outside than from within. So it is with the externalizing of a creative work, permitting it to develop its own being, its own autonomy coming to serve it. It is as if it were easier to cope with there, as if this arrangement permitted the emergence of more unconscious impulse, more material not readily accessible…To be dominated by an object of one’s own creation — perhaps its extreme is Pygmalion dominated by Galatea — is to be free of the defenses that keep us hidden from ourselves.

      As the object takes over and demands to be completed “in its own terms,” there is a new opportunity to express a style and an individuality. Likely as not, it is so partly because we are rid of the internal juggling of possibilities, because we have represented them “out there” where we can look at them, consider them.

    4. Deferral and immediacy. There is an immediacy to creating anything, a sense of direction, an objective, a general idea, a feeling. Yet the immediacy is anything but a quick orgasm of completion. Completion is deferred…Having read a good many journals and diaries by writers I have come to the tentative conclusion that the principal guard against precocious completion, in writing at least, is boredom. I have little doubt that the same protection avails the scientist. It is the boredom of conflict, knowing deep down what one wishes to say and knowing that one has not said it. one acts on the impulse to exploit an idea, to begin. One also acts on the impulse of boredom, to defer. Thus Virginia Woolf, trying to finish Orlando in February 1928: “Always, always, the last chapter slips out of my hands. One gets bored. One whips oneself up. I still hope for a fresh wind and don’t very much bother, except that I miss the fun that was so tremendously lively all October, November, and December.
    5. The internal drama. There is within each person his own cast of characters* — an ascetic, and perhaps a glutton, a prig, a frightened child, a little man, even an onlooker, sometimes a Renaissance man. The great works of the theater are decompositions of such a cast, the rendering into external drama of the internal one, the conversion of the internal cast into dramatis personae…As in the drama, so too a life can be described as a script, constantly rewritten, guiding the unfolding internal drama. It surely does not do to limit the drama to the stiff characters of the Freudian morality play — the undaunted ego, the brutish id, the censorious and punitive superego. Is the internal cast a reflection of the identifications to which we have been committed? I do not think it is as simple as that. It is a way of grouping our internal demands and there are idealized models over and beyond those with whom we have special identification — figures in myth, in life, in the comics, in history, creations of fantasy…

      It is the working out of conflict and coalition within the set of identities that compose the person that one finds the source of many of the richest and most surprising combinations. It is not merely the artist and the writer, but the inventor too who is the beneficiary.

    6. The dilemma of abilities. What shall we say of energy, of combinatorial zest, of intelligence, of alertness, of perseverance? I shall say nothing about them. They are obviously important but, from a deeper point of view, they are also trivial. For at any level of energy or intelligence there can be more or less of creating in our sense. Stupid people create for each other as well as benefiting from what comes from afar. So too do slothful and torpid people. I have been speaking of creativity, not of genius.

    http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/04/21/jerome-bruner-on-knowing-left-hand-creativity/

     
  • Mark 4:45 pm on April 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The Uncompromising Pessimism of Public Sociology 

    Michael Burawoy on public sociology and sociological science:

    I have always insisted on a division of labor between professional and public sociology. The division of labor implies contradiction as well as interdependence but sociology is of little use if it cannot give some guidance to labor as to the tendencies of capitalism, a theorization that pays attention to history and geography, it is of little use to labor if it fixes the data so that labor appears stronger than it is, or if it ignores the data and declares an imminent upsurge on the grounds that we can never know when the next upsurge will arrive. It is the responsibility of professional and public sociologists alike to combat arguments and claims that have neither concrete nor theoretical foundation. Public sociology cannot be the name for bad sociology, it cannot be vanguardist or populist, but must aim for a dialogue with labor on the basis of what we know as sociologists. Equally, professional sociology cannot be self-referential, we have to defend theoretical frameworks that cast light on the limits and possibilities of the labor movement. And that too is a political struggle, but one conducted on the terrain of the academy, and in accordance with its rules.

    […]

    In writing of politics Max Weber endorsed the pursuit of the impossible in order to achieve the possible, but he always distinguished politics from science. Precisely because they feed each other, we should not confuse science and politics. Science should be a corrective to politics, challenging assumptions, asking uncomfortable questions, projecting longer time horizons. If it is to formulate utopias these must be real utopias, rooted in lived experience, and we have to be extra vigilant in examining their conditions of existence, their internal contradictions, and their possible dissemination. In all cases science loses its raison d’etre when it loses its autonomy, its critical pessimism.

     
  • Mark 1:49 pm on April 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    PhD Workshop: What’s the point of social ontology? 

    What’s the Point of Social Ontology?
    PhD Workshop at the University of Warwick
    18th June 2014, 10am – 5:30pm

    Ontology can often prove a contested and confusing issue within social research. Everyone has an ontology, explicit or otherwise, but the process of drawing this out and thinking through its implications for research can often be a confusing part of the PhD process. This participatory workshop explores the practical significance of ontological questions for social research, inviting participants to reflect on their own research projects in a collaborative and supportive context. It aims to help participants negotiate the sometimes abstruse matter of social ontology, linking theory to practice in the context of their own research projects. The main focus throughout the day will be on how ontological questions are encountered in social research, the questions posed by such encounters and how engaging explicitly with social ontology can often help resolve such issues.

    All participants will offer a brief (5 minute) presentation of their research project and the ontological questions which have been or are expected to be encountered within it. Those still early in the PhD process are welcome to substitute this for a discussion of their research interests and potential project. We’d like to ask all participants to reflect in advance on their own social ontology and how it pertains to their project. Uncertainty here is not a problem, in fact it will be a useful contribution to discussions on the day!

    We also invite two more substantial presentations (10 mins) for the first afternoon session, reflecting on your engagement with ontological questions in your own project in order to help begin a practical engagement which encompasses the entire group. If you would be interested in leading the discussion in this way then please make this known when registering.

    To register please contact socialontology@warwick.ac.uk with a brief description of your research and your interest in social ontology (500 words or less) by May 15th. The event is free but places are limited. Travel bursaries are available, please ask for more details.

    http://www.socialontology.eu

     
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