Month: December 2016

Spurred on by this post from Mark Johnson, who I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time this year and co-authoring a paper with, here’s a round up of what I did in 2016: Wrote a paper for the Centre for Social Ontology book series about the digitalisation of the archive. Co-wrote a […]

A fascinating Jacob article about the roots of contemporary alt-right racism in mainstream elite discourse in Conservative America:

An interesting concept from John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture which I think has important implications for scholarly publishing. From pg 276-277: Oprah and Richard and Judy are prime examples of what I shall call ‘recognition triggers’. I use the term ‘recognition trigger’ to refer to those drivers of sales that have three characteristics. First, they […]

Reading the excellent Selected Exaggerations, a book of interviews with Peter Sloterdijk, I was struck by his remarks about taxation and the state in an interview from 2001. He bemoans the punitive taxation he claims exists in Germany, arguing that it reflects a broader domination of society by the state. German citizens are “punished for success” and the […]

This short exchange with Michael Burawoy offers some thought-provoking reflections on teaching social theory. He identifies the major traditions of teaching theory within American sociology, before outlining his own ethnographic approach: The Survey: surveying extracts from a comprehensive range of social theorists, each one treated as an instance of a broader category. Essentially disconnected and decontextualised. Teaching theory in an […]

From Peter Sloterdick’s Selected Exaggerations, loc 1411-1416 Incidentally, there are almost as many horses today as there were in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, but they have all been reassigned. They are almost all leisure horses, hardly any workhorses nowadays. Isn’t it an odd comment on today’s society that only horses have achieved emancipation? Humans […]

The upwards trajectory of publication poses an obvious problem for the aspiring academic. It is one familiar from other fields of cultural production. How to be heard above the din? If ever more publications are being produced each year, commanding ever less attention from a peer group increasingly consumed by the imperative to publish, vast rewards […]

DMZ by Brian Wood Outcast by Robert Kirkman Fatale by Ed Brubaker Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan Roche Limit by Michael Moreci Criminal by Ed Brubaker The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker Super Crooks by Mark Millar The Fuse by Shari Chankhamma They’re Not Like Us by Eric Stephenson Postal by Matt Hawkins Trees by Warren Ellis Injection by Warren Ellis Moon […]

Depth by Lev Ac Rosen Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet by Finn Brunton Rethinking Interdisciplinarity by Felicity Callard and Des Fitzgerald Accelerating Academia by Filip Vostal The Refusal of Work by David Frayne Intern Nation: How To Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy by Ross Perlin Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case of […]

From Merchants of Culture, by John Thompson, pg 238. In the United States: The number of new books published in the US each year prior to 1980 was probably under 50,000. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the number of new books published greatly increased, reaching nearly 200,000 by 1998. By 2004 the number had risen […]

Books I’ve read recently: SS-GB by Len Deighton The Elephant in the Room by Jon Ronson Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance How To Write Badly by Michael Billig Graphic novels I’ve read recently:  Catwoman: When In Rome by Jeff Loeb and Tim Sale Sons of Anarchy: Volume 6 by Ryan Ferrier, Matias Bergara and Paul Little […]

In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, he makes a number of observations about the importance of brand-name writers which could easily be applied to the growth of academic celebrities within scholarly publishing. From pg 212-214 Brand-name authors are important for two reasons: first, their sales are predictable, and second, they are repeaters. Their sales are […]

I love this expression from Peter Sloterdijk’s Selected Exaggerations loc 944: Carrying the weight of the world is an art that can be practised in many different ways. I think it is right to say that it is fundamentally the same art. It consists of answers to the burdensome nature of life … This is […]

In John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture, there’s an interesting remark about the structural position of first time authors which I think has wider purchase. From pg 200: Ironically, in a world preoccupied by numbers, the author with no track is in some ways in a strong position, considerably stronger than the author who has published […]

In the nine years since I first entered a Sociology department, I’ve had a deep interest in academic writing that has only increased with time. In my past life as a philosophy student, writing had never occurred to me as a topic of intellectual interest. Despite having once aspired to be a writer before concluding […]

A compilation from Colin Chandler on pg 7-8 of Achieving Impact in Research: To have impact is to have a strong effect, to make a difference. By impact we mean the ‘influence’ of research or its ‘effect on’ an individual, a community, the development of policy, or the creation of a new product or service. It […]