Month: August 2016

From Realist Social Theory by Margaret Archer: What is it that depends on human intentionality but never conforms to anyone’s intentions? What is it that relies upon people’s concepts but which they never fully know? What is it that depends upon human activity but never corresponds to the actions of even the most powerful? What […]

From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 42: Utopianism did not disappear, but it came to address the libidinal dreams of the individual rather than the political dreams of the collective. Utopia was an individual space in which we were free from the encroachments of authority, […]

There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about the threat index funds are increasingly seen to pose to the global economy. I’d like to understand this more than I do because I’m intrigued by the technological preconditions for this form of investing and the competitive advantage this use of technology offers: And a group of researchers […]

In various posts over the last few years, I’ve written about my fascination with images of civilisational collapse. Reading Riots and Political Protest, by Steve Hall, Simon Winlow, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, I find myself wondering if this fascination is in large part because of how ‘civilisational collapse’ and the ‘end of capitalism’ tend […]

In complete agreement with this. From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 7: The idea that constantly challenging what are often incautiously deemed to be aspects of cultural hegemony is a political act in itself, insofar as it will clear away ideological obfuscation and allow latent […]

From Rethinking Social Exclusion, by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall, pg 73: Political protests these days are taken not as an indication that something is going wrong and that a significant number of the population are dissatisfied with the nation’s political leadership. Rather, they seem to indicate that a healthy and vibrant democracy is in […]

A distinction I find rather tenuous, invoked by Ray Brassier in his attack on the self-importance of the speculative realist blogging community: What is peculiar to them is the claim that this is the first philosophy movement to have been generated and facilitated by the internet: a presumption rooted in the inability to distinguish philosophy from […]

From pg 12-13 of Colin Crouch’s The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism: These then were the principal ingredients of the socioeconomic order that came eventually to be called social democratic, without initial capital letters:  1 – Keynesian demand management in which government action, far from trying to destroy markets, sought to sustain them at levels avoiding […]

This is a really useful resource put together by Buffer. I’ve been running an Instagram account for the last few months for The Sociological Review. At first I found it much less intuitive than I have other social media platforms, but it’s starting to feel familiar at this point. Over the next few months, I’m planning […]

A really fascinating post on Lenin’s Tomb, saved here because I’ll want to come back to this for a second and probably third reading: One of the most interesting theories of reification came from Gaston Bachelard who, in his Psychoanalysis of Fire, proposed that there sometimes exist “epistemological obstacles” built into the phenomena themselves, which […]

I initially dismissed this suggestion by David Runciman, contained in this LRB essay, but it’s been reverberating in my mind since reading it: The contemporary politician who is most present in these pages is Jeremy Corbyn, despite the fact that his name never comes up. Corbyn first got elected to the Commons in 1983 and […]

I continue to find Owen Smith profoundly unconvincing. The potential force of the ‘electability’ critique is severely blunted by the fact the supposedly ‘electable’ alternative is in actual fact a compromise candidate, markedly inferior even in the narrow centrist terms bound into the discourse of electability. He’s demonstrably untested, widely unknown and his frequent missteps during a […]

Are journalists personally afraid of a Trump presidency? That’s the suggestion of this Vox article: In my experience, it goes yet deeper than this. Quietly, privately, political reporters wonder if Trump is a threat to them personally — if he were president, would he use the powers of the office to retaliate against them personally […]

In our discussion of metrics systems, it’s easy to treat subjectivity as a cipher, regarding people as passively moulded by algorithms or blindly governed by the incentives that operate through the institutionalisation of the metrics. My objection to the former is not the claim that people are shaped by metrics, but rather the assumption that this process is […]

On this week’s Any Answers, there was a call so fascinatingly stupid that I’ve been intermittently thinking back to it for the last few days. In a discussion about the possible reintroduction of grammar schools, a couple who had been to grammar schools but were ‘forced’ to send their children to a comprehensive, explained how […]

In a near future America, the world is locked into an inglorious decline while the majority of its population is locked into an intoxicatingly expansive virtual world. Ecological crisis and economic ruin operate hand-in-hand to leave the 99% living in sprawling slums, consisting of endless stacks of trailer parks, around the periphery of the surviving […]

From pg 17 of his 1991-2001 diaries. Interesting to read this in light of the upcoming leadership election – is this what Owen Smith understands himself to be doing? On the one hand, you have got all these people who are simply concerned with power; and on the other hand, you’ve got sectarians who are […]