Month: March 2016

From This Town, by Mark Leibovich, pg 56: One of the stubborn truths of Obama-era Washington is that everyone is now, in effect, a special interest, a free agent, performing any number of services, in any number of settings. It goes well beyond the technical classification of “registered lobbyists.” Self-pimping has become the prevailing social […]

This is a really useful reflection by Andy Miah on social media in academic life. It leads to a focused discussion about the significance of social media for editors of academic journals, but it has some more general reflections prior to this.

Interesting analysis of the difficulties that many platform firms are facing now that venture capital is starting to dry up. I also love the phrase “a contagion of pivots” more than I can express: A contagion of pivots began happening among other sharing economy startups. Companies like Cherry (car washes), Prim (laundry), SnapGoods (gear rental), […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 255-256: The quality of blind self-absorption is not confined to our national security elites. Many Wall Street and Valley billionaires, living a hermetically sealed existence surrounded by sycophants and coat holders, appear genuinely surprised that their public reputation is not that of heroic entrepreneurs selflessly creating jobs […]

A really enticing analysis by Evgeny Morozov of the “eventual depoliticization of extremely political and contentious issues by wrapping them up in the empty, futuristic language of technology and innovation”. Silicon Valley increasingly dominates the discursive representation of our global future, with the amelioration of social problems limited to a technologically-driven intensification of consumption: Like […]

This contains a really interesting idea that hadn’t occurred to me previously: bots can be seen as user-driven tactics to evade and overcome the limitations of platforms. There’s a really interesting paper about bots in the Sociological Review here.

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 123-125: By secession, I do not mean physical withdrawal from the territory of the state, although that does happen from time to time. Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related by marriage to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as […]

From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 86-87. I’m beginning to try and catalogue public examples of this defensiveness because some of the over-reactions seem fascinatingly unbalanced: It is surprising how much fear his timid policies have generated among the big-money boys. There are no rational grounds for the hyperthyroid reactions of hedge fund […]

Barack Obama quoted in The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 63. The demands of fundraising for US politicians are exceptional but I assume a similar process can be found elsewhere, as an elite gradually becomes one’s reference group if this was not already the case. How else to explain the belief of UK MPs […]

The Sociological Review Foundation is delighted to announce that we have commissioned Rowena Murray to deliver a Writing Retreat for sociologists. Murray has devised and delivered structured writing retreats to support academics by providing dedicated writing time done in a group setting. To find out more about this approach see:http://www.rowenamurray.org/aims/references/ The retreat is for academics at all […]