Updates from May, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Mark 4:56 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: John Baldessari, ,   

    A Brief History of John Baldessari (narrated by Tom Waits) 

    (HT Patter)

    Interesting that this was the work of the Catfish directors.

  • Mark 3:07 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: social media jobs,   

    Apply now: Ninja Rockstar Content Associates needed A.S.A.P 

    More jobs here if these ones don’t take your fancy:

    Are you a native full-stack visiongineer who lives to marketechplatishforms? Then come work with us as an in-house NEOLOGIZER and reimaginatorialize the verbalsphere! If you are a slang-slinger who is equahome in brandegy and advertorial, a total expert in brandtech and techvertoribrand, and a first-class synergymnast, then this will be your rockupation! Throw ginfluence mingles and webutante balls, the world is your joyster. The percandidate will have at least five years working as a ideator and envisionary or equiperience.

    #Trendit! We have an immediate opening for a world-class OUTRAGE OPTIMIZATION EXPERT to furyhack our traffic across social media. The ideal candidate has proven abilities at composing rage pegs for any story and has demonstrated the ability to prefix any tweet with “THIS.” or “LISTEN.” Candidates will be required to flame out in two years and disavow their past views while encouraging their still-seething acolytes to “moderation.”



  • Mark 7:51 am on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    I just realised @soc_imagination is 4 years old tomorrow 

    And one of the things that has surprised me is how global it has become. According to Google Analytics, it’s been accessed from 211 different countries in the past 4 years:

    Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 08.49.48

  • Mark 7:27 am on May 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Elliot Rodger, , , ,   

    The sociology of Elliot Rodger 

    I wrote an overly brief post recently about the Elliot Rodger case (in the process offending some guys who are nice, though not ‘nice guys’) – this article by Richard Seymour, prefixed with a trigger warning, deftly shows how there’s much more to this case than just one person’s contingent hatred and brutality:

    This is why it is essential, though not sufficient, to listen to what Rodger says. The killer left a detailed life story, and many video diaries, and his obsessions with gender, class and race, his framework of privilege and entitlement, structure the entirety of his account. The hatred and resentment toward women in particular, and the masculinist fantasies of retribution and cleansing, provide the quilting point, through which he explains his issues to himself: everything can be resolved if only they can be made to pay. And there is no obvious reason why a mental illness should express itself in such a toxic fusion of gendered, classed and raced resentment and rage, leading to the premeditated “slaughter” of seven people (including himself), like “animals”.

    Before going any further, I would add that in explaining himself the killer clearly sought to aestheticise his actions, and courted precisely the wide audience for his own gargantuan melodrama that he regarded as befitting his proper status, and which he has now obtained. As he put it, “infamy is better than total obscurity”. To talk about him, to review and punctuate his own words, is to be partially complicit in this. But there is one way in which to avoid being complicit, and that is to categorically reject the demonological approach and to notice the appallingly quotidian, commonplace nature of the ideologies informing this atrocity, and the equally too common systemic and individual violence against women that these ideologies are linked to. Because Rodger is not so unusual among twenty-something males. You’ve met men like him. His issues, his insecurities, the huge burden of resentment and shame, the ideology of violent women-hatred that he gives realisation to, are all too widespread. And this is what is most frightening, and what is missed by the rush to confine this case to a psychological black box.

    I think Richard’s point here is really important. The refusal to analyse a case like this in anything other than its own terms, treating it entirely as an expression of the inner strivings of the individual at its centre, entails complicity in that person’s own self-aggrandisement. We have a moral responsibility to analyse cases like this – to not treat them as entirely exempt from history while also avoiding the risk that we reduce them to the banal and everyday (to borrow a distinction from Bauman). In analysing them we refuse Rodger’s aspiration to be a ‘god’ in relation to the ‘animals’, instead showing how his actions reflect much broader trends which, when inflected through his personal cruelty and rage, led to these horrific crimes.

    • F. Aetius 3:38 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink

      I completely agree. The common public rhetoric is to dismiss the perpetrators of acts like this as ‘monsters’ or ‘sick’. It’s particularly egregious in the tabloid treatment of child sex offences, where simplistic dismissal replaces any effort to understand (because to them understanding equates to acceptance). The reality is that it’s only through understanding, via analysis, that we can perhaps prevent future actions in a similar vein.

    • Mark 4:05 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink

      I’d like to think you’re right about prevention. Having had this line of thought reverberating in my mind since this morning, I’m actually a little depressed by it to be honest.

    • F. Aetius 4:25 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink

      I’d only say prevention in the long term, and even then only partially. Humanity is imperfect, and there’ll always be those who commit acts of violence.

      It helps not giving them guns, of course, but the US is insane in that regard. I’d even go as far as to say primitive.

    • Mark 4:33 pm on May 30, 2014 Permalink

      “It helps not giving them guns, of course”


  • Mark 7:20 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , sociology of youth, , , youth activism, youth resistance   

    CfP: Youth Activism and Resistance Conference 

    And to complete this clear out of things that were in my inbox that looked too interesting not to share:

    Youth activism and resistance conference, Friday 13th June 2014, University of Leicester, UK

    On Friday 13th of June the University of Leicester will be hosting one of the British Sociological Association’s Regional Postgraduate Events. The theme of this one day conference will be ‘Youth Activism and Resistance’. The keynote presenters for this event are:

    Dr Leah Bassel, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Leicester, who will be presenting on “Riots and resistance: what spaces for young voices?

    Dr Jacqui Briggs, Head of School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln, who will be presenting on “Young women and politics: an oxymoron or a neglected generation?

    There will be three parallel sessions run on the day in which a range of topics will be explored, including: young people’s political engagement and expression; political education; the development of critical leadership; youth involvement in international political affairs; graffiti as a form of political expression. We will also be hosting a roundtable discussion featuring contributions from young activists, academics and postgraduates.

    We would like to take this opportunity to welcome student and academic members of the BSA Youth Study Group to attend the event. More information about the event can be accessed at the following website:


    On the day, lunch and full refreshments will be provided. The event will also culminate in an art exhibition and wine reception that explores youth activism through the medium of the political poster. Registration for BSA members is £10 and for non-BSA members is £25. You can register at the following website:


    The deadline for registration is Friday 6th June.

    If you have any questions about the event please contact Rose Holyoak (reh28@le.ac.uk) and/or Oli Williams (osw1@le.ac.uk). We very much hope to see you there.

  • Mark 7:18 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    CfP: Theorising Personal Medical Devices: New Perspectives 


    Theorising Personal Medical Devices: New Perspectives

    18th-19th September 2014
    Post-doctoral Suite, 16 Mill Lane, University of Cambridge, Cambridge

    Fuelled by the accelerating pace of technological development and a general shift to personalised, patient-led medicine alongside the growing Quantified Self and Big Data movements, the emerging field of personal medical devices is one which is advancing rapidly across multiple domains and disciplines – so rapidly that conceptual and empirical understandings of personal medical devices, and their clinical, social and philosophical implications, often lag behind new developments and interventions. Personal medical devices – devices that are attached to, worn by, interacted with, or carried by individuals for the purposes of generating biomedical data and/or carrying out medical interventions with/on the person concerned – have become increasingly significant in clinical and extra-clinical contexts owing to a range of factors including the growth of multimorbidity and chronic disease in ageing populations and the increasing sophistication and miniaturisation of personal devices themselves.

    The aim of this symposium is to consider recent theoretical developments in the humanities and social sciences in relation to personal medical devices, and to address important gaps in understanding such as the differences between wearable and non-wearable devices, the ontological implications of personal devices for concepts of the body, the self, and technology, and the extent to which such questions may arise with particular force owing to ‘new’ technologies.

    The symposium will take place at the University of Cambridge over two days, with the first day consisting of papers and keynote presentations, and with the second day consisting of further papers and a concluding panel of invited discussants from a range of backgrounds including computing science, clinical medicine, technology, and philosophy.

    Keynote speakers:
    Dr. Alex Faulkner, University of Sussex
    Dr. Steve Matthewman, University of Auckland
    Dr. Nick Fox, University of Sheffield
    The symposium will combine invited and submitted papers from established and emerging scholars to consider how recent theoretical literature can shed light on current debates surrounding personal medical devices these and other important issues. Some of the questions that papers may address include:
    How ‘personal’ are personal medical devices?
    How new are ‘new’ medical technologies?
    What are the implications of personal medical devices for enduring philosophical dualities such as mind/body and self/society?
    What are the implications of personal medical devices for understandings of illness, medicine, and technology?
    How can the interaction of diverse theoretical perspectives drive new conceptual understandings of personal medical devices?
    We welcome submissions of papers that address these and other questions that relate to the use of personal medical devices. Paper proposals should consist of:

    • a paper title
    • authors/co-authors
    • a short abstract of fewer than 300 characters
    • a long abstract of fewer than 250 words.

    Please submit papers by Monday 14th July 2014 in either Word or PDF format to Conor Farrington (cjtf2@medschl.cam.ac.uk ) or Rebecca Lynch (rl476@medschl.cam.ac.uk ).

    Submissions from both early career and more established researchers are welcome, with a small number of the presentation slots reserved for early-career researchers (i.e. doctoral students or researchers in their first post-doctoral position). Thanks to Wellcome Trust funding we are also able to offer a limited amount of funding towards travel costs and cost of attendance for three early career presenters. Please specify if you would like to be considered for this.

    There will be a small charge of £15 for attendance over the two days of the symposium. This covers refreshments and lunches over both days and is payable on registration.

    Full-length versions of accepted presentations will be pre-circulated to a number of discussants who will introduce the papers and chair subsequent discussion. In addition to paper proposals, we also invite applications from individuals who wish to be considered as discussants, with a limited amount of funding available for two early-career discussants – again, please specify if you wish to be considered for this funding.

    Discussant proposals should consist of:

    • a CV and brief autobiography
    • a general description of areas of research expertise
    • a description of specific areas of interest with regard to personal medical devices/relevant bodies of theoretical work

    Please contact Conor Farrington (cjtf2@medschl.cam.ac.uk), Rebecca Lynch (rl476@medschl.cam.ac.uk ), or Simon Cohn (Simon.Cohn@lshtm.ac.uk) if you would like further details of the event.

  • Mark 7:16 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Special Issue on ‘Gender, Sexuality and Political Economy 

    This looks good:

    Link to the Journal Issue:


    List of Contents:

    1) Susie Jacobs and Christian Klesse: lntroduction: Special Issue on “Gender, Sexuality and Political Economy” (pp 129-152)

    2) Floya Anthias:  The Intersections of Class, Gender, Sexuality and ‘Race’: The Political Economy of Gendered Violence (pp 153-171)

    3) Susie Jacobs: Gender, Land and Sexuality: Exploring Connections (pp 173-190)

    4) Encarnación Gutiérrez-Rodríguez: The Precarity of Feminisation (pp 191-202)

    5) Christian Klesse: Poly Economics—Capitalism, Class, and Polyamory (pp 203-220)

    6) Ana Victoria Portocarrero Lacayo: Service Is Not Servitude: Links Between Capitalism and Feminist Liberal Conceptions of Pleasure—Case Studies from Nicaragua (pp 221-239)

    7) Jon Binnie: “Neoliberalism, Class, Gender and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Politics in Poland” (pp. 241-257)

    8) Kimberly Kay Hoang: Vietnam Rising Dragon: Contesting Dominant Western Masculinities in Ho Chi Minh City’s Global Sex Industry (pp 259-271)

    The special issue is based on a workshop “Gender, Sexuality and Political Economy”, which took place 24–25 May 2011 at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. We organised this workshop to create a space to bring work on gender and sexuality in dialogue. The workshop, which was sponsored by MMU’s Institute of Humanities and Social Science Research, explored possible complementarities and overlaps (or else, contradictions or noncompatibilities) between approaches within feminism, gender studies, transgender studies, lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer studies, with the aim of strengthening our understanding of the current conditions for collaborative agency and coalitional struggles and for more egalitarian social change(s). Contributions addressed questions linked to gendered and sexual positionings and gendered labour in the context of economic crisis and growing social class divisions in different locations. They also explored the construction of gendered and sexual subjectivities and politics in the context of specific welfare, migration and consumption regimes in a range of geographical settings. Other discussions included links between economic factors (for example poverty, deregulation, neoliberal programmes) and intimate and sexual practices and shifting identities. We are pleased now to be able to present some of the research contributions which were first presented at this workshop. The papers chosen for this special issue include keynote presentations from the workshop, a selection of papers presented and some specially commissioned work. The special issue has been designed to reinforce the “gendering” and “queering” of debates on political economy and to infuse work on gender and sexuality with class and economic perspectives.

  • Mark 6:56 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Coming across old projects you completely forgot about 

    But that never went anywhere….

    Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 19.55.21

  • Mark 9:10 pm on May 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alan watts, ,   

    Alan Watts on Empiricism 

    Here is someone who has never seen a cat. He is looking through a narrow slit in a fence, and, on the other side, a cat walks by. He sees first the head, then the less distinctly shaped furry trunk, and then the tail. Extraordinary! The cat turns round and walks back, and again he sees the head, and a little later the tail. This sequence begins to look like something regular and reliable. Yet again, the cat turns round, and he witnesses the same regular sequence: first the head, and later the tail. Thereupon he reasons that the event head is the invariable and necessary cause of the event tail, which is the head’s effect. This absurd and confusing gobbledygook comes from his failure to see that head and tail go together; they are all one cat.

    – Alan Watts, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

    • F. Aetius 6:42 am on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      The problem with this quote is twofold:

      1) All humans have once seen a cat for the first time, and yet easily came to the conclusion that head and tail are part of the same organism.

      2) One could only come to this conclusion if one had never seen ANY animal, or human or even oneself (in a mirror). Otherwise, you’d have to be extraordinarily stupid to consider the head and tail as separate events – all mammals have heads and body parts akin to tails, so the interspecific parallels are impossible to miss in even the dullest of wits.

    • Mark 7:15 am on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      He’s being figurative! It’s not really about cats….

    • F. Aetius 8:46 am on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      Yes, I get that. My point is that everything we experience is seen for the first time at some point…yet that doesn’t necessarily lead to incorrect conclusions. It’s a poor analogy, in my view.

    • Mark 10:06 am on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      This is a danger of taking quotes out of context I guess. I read it as being about inferences based on (narrow) perceptions. The point is about the restricted nature of sense data rather than the novelty of a first encounter.

    • F. Aetius 2:26 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      Oh ok, I get you. Yes, I can see how it reads that way. I assumed the first encounter element was key.

    • Mark 2:33 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      no problem, i can see how you read it now as well – sorry for my slightly patronising initial response – i shouldn’t communicate on the internet until i’ve had morning coffee…

    • F. Aetius 5:55 pm on May 29, 2014 Permalink

      No worries. To be fair, I hardly opened the conversation with a bucket load of charm myself.

    • Barbara Pierce (@wordworking) 9:52 pm on May 9, 2017 Permalink

      I personally love this metaphor…I wanted to use it in a project I am working on, but wanted to double-check my memory of it…I am grateful to find your reference and concise explanation of it here. Thank you.

    • Thomas 2:56 pm on September 16, 2019 Permalink

      Hey F, I’d recommend finding the book, or at least the whole chapter to read. I enjoy this quote because I’ve read The Book, but if you only read the quote you’re getting a piece of the puzzle.

    • Mark 8:18 pm on September 19, 2019 Permalink

      I have the book. Why do you assume the fact I’m posting a quote means this is all I’ve read?

  • Mark 10:43 am on May 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: driverless cars, ,   

    Why Google’s driverless cars baffle me 

    This sort of thing happens all the time when I use Google Docs:

    Screen Shot 2014-05-28 at 11.40.56

    So why would I ever get in a self-driving car with no steering wheel?

  • Mark 9:46 am on May 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , propaghandi, , ,   

    “With every racist pointed finger, I hear the goose steps getting closer” 

    It’s probably 12 years since I first heard this song. It’s been on my mind today as I’ve been thinking about recent events in Europe. It’s one of those songs that indexes my unfolding life, as I recurrently come back to it and find something slightly new each time. The depressing thought I had earlier was how much less abstract it seems now than it did a decade ago:

    Is this what we deserve? 
    To scrub the palace floors? 
    To fight amongst ourselves, 
    as we scramble for the crumbs they spit out? 
    Frothing at the mouth about the scapegoats that they’ve chosen for us. 
    With every racist pointed finger, I hear the goose steps getting closer. 
    They no longer represent us. Is it not our obligation 
    to confront this tyranny?

  • Mark 5:59 pm on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The rise of think tanks 

    This podcast discussion is very interesting. I don’t think I’d ever heard leading figures from the think tank world reflect so openly about how they see their work. Any adequate sociology of think tanks has to be able to account for these self-understandings:

    The role of think tanks in shaping public policy dates back nearly a century to when the Brookings Institution set up shop in the nation’s capital. The idea was to create a “university without students” that could provide research to lawmakers. Today, there are more than 1,800 think tanks in the United States, 400 in Washington alone. They range from liberal to conservative, scholarly to activist. Recently, outside groups have started to demand a higher level of transparency when it comes to where think tanks get their money. They say citizens deserve to know who is bankrolling the ideas that shape our democracy. A conversation about think tanks, influence and independence.

    William Antholis

    managing director, Brookings Institution

    Eric Lipton

    reporter in The New York Times Washington bureau who covers lobbying, ethics and corporate agendas

    Tevi Troy

    president, American Health Policy Institute; former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


  • Mark 12:08 pm on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The seedy(ish) world of content marketing 

    I’m getting more and more of these. How much of the content of blogs is ‘inserted’ in this way?

    Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 13.07.20

  • Mark 8:51 am on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: concurrence, postcolonial research,   

    Concurrences in Postcolonial Research conference, Kalmar, Sweden, 20-23 August 2015 

    Call for panels and papers

    Concurrences in postcolonial research – perspectives, methodologies, engagements

    Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden, 20-23 August 2015

    In recent years, postcolonial research has set out to challenge dominating statements of the past and present. This is where the concept of concurrences comes in, which is a guiding term for this conference. It is also the general focus for Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. We are interested in concurrent stories with varying claims to reality and fiction, and with different, diverging, and at times competing claims to society, culture, and historical past. For example, dominant Western narrations about colonial power relationships may be challenged by alternative sources such as heritage objects and oral traditions. These may counteract the conventions of the Western archives and enable the voice of minorities or dominated groups to be heard. In that way, concurrences can work both as a methodology and a theoretical perspective. By studying concurrent stories connected to cultural encounters one may pinpoint asymmetrical power relations. In this context, concepts such as voice, place and archive may be developed.  Against this background, the present conference will be structured around six major themes:

    –                     Archives and transformations

    –                     Nordic colonialism

    –                     Entangled hi/stories of home and away, including travel writing

    –                     Ecological issues and the right to water and land

    –                     Migration and globalization

    –                     Visual and material culture

    It will be possible to suggest additional themes. We invite scholars from the humanities and social sciences and others with an interest in postcolonial issues to submit abstracts for organized panels and individual presentations.

    The abstracts for panels should be no more than 300 words, and should be submitted to Åse Magnusson (ase.magnusson@lnu.se ) no later than 7 September 2014.

    Abstracts for individual papers, comprising no more than 200 words, should be submitted to the above mentioned email address no later than 15 January 2015.

    For questions and further information about the conference, please contact:

    Hans Hägerdal ( hans.hagerdal@lnu.se )

    Åse Magnusson ( ase.magnusson@lnu.se )

    Vitalis Pemunta ( vitalis.pemunta@lnu.se )

    Margareta Wallin Wictorin ( margareta.wallin-wictorin@lnu.se )

    Linnaeus University ( http://lnu.se ) is a double campus comprising Växjö and Kalmar. The conference will take place in Kalmar, by the east coast of southern Sweden. Kalmar has direct train connection with Copenhagen Airport (less than 4 hours travel time). Information about conference fee will follow later. A conference web page will be set up within short. For general information about the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, see http://lnu.se/lnuc/linnaeus-university-centre-for-concurrences-in-colonial-and-postcolonial-studies-?l=en

  • Mark 8:49 am on May 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , farage, , ,   

    Nigel Farage vs. Tony Blair 

    Oh Tony, if only you’d used your powers for good rather than for evil.

  • Mark 4:22 pm on May 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ebuzzing, ,   

    So @soc_imagination is supposedly the 4th most popular Economics blog in the UK 

    Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 17.15.49

    It feels a little wrong that it’s ranking above Simon Wren-Lewis on eBuzzing. The methodology is a little opaque and I’m wondering if the reason for this high ranking is my ‘proactive’ scheduling of the @soc_imagination twitter feed:

    Blog ranking based on the score calculated by Ebuzzing which considers various numerous parameters including the number of backlinks, the number of shares of its articles on Facebook and Twitter

    178th in the general list for the UK makes sense to me. 4th in Economics doesn’t. I wonder if this says more about opaque metrics and content marketing than it does about the popularity of the websites being ranked.

  • Mark 2:52 pm on May 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Valuing electronic music 


    Valuing Electronic Music

    Upstairs at The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JB

    6 June 2014 4.30-10pm Admission free

    Valuing Electronic Music is an ongoing study of electronic music and the people who value it, carried out by Daniel Allington (Open University), Anna Jordanous (King’s College, London), and Byron Dueck(Open University). Our work explores how the value of electronic music transcends economic value for producers, DJs, and audiences — and how geographical location continues to play a significant role in the recognition of musical value even where musical scenes become increasingly international (thanks in large part to websites such as SoundCloud). Such findings have implications for the careers of music-makers more generally.

    On 6 June, we are holding a public event at The Lexington in Angel, Islington, featuring talks, live performances, and an interactive panel discussion with electronic music producers. Come along to find out what we and other researchers have discovered, as well as to hear some great music and to put your own questions to the people who make it. You are welcome to drop in at any time.

    4.30 Doors open

    5.00 Free food

    5.30 Introduction

    5.45 Music: Glitch Lich

    6.30 Talk: Luis-Manuel Garcia

    7.00 Music: Winterlight

    7.45 Talk: Daniel AllingtonAnna JordanousByron Dueck

    8.15 Music: Slackk

    9.00 Panel: Chad McKinney (Glitch Lich), Tim Ingham (Winterlight), Paul Lynch (Slackk)

    9.30 Thanks

    The Valuing Electronic Music project combines social network analysis of online data with ethnographic interviewing and observation to understand how music-makers produce value for their own and one another’s work, especially in genres without mainstream recognition. It is currently supported by an AHRC Research Development Grant.

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