Month: January 2017

In Zygmunt Bauman’s Legislators and Interpreters, he identifies two different contexts in which the role of the ‘intellectual’ is performed and two different strategies which develop in response to them: The legislator makes “authoritative statements” which “arbitrate in controversies of opinions and which selects those opinions which, having been selected, become correct and binding”. The […]

Earlier on this month, Hartmut Rosa gave a fascinating lecture at the LSE, marking the launch of this new book on the Sociology of Speed. It’s a great overview of his theory of acceleration, but it also included some things I hadn’t encountered before: His intellectual trajectory was shaped by encountering Charles Taylor’s work while […]

From One Market Under God, by Thomas Frank, loc 1787: It is worth examining the way business talk about itself, the fantasies it spins, the role it writes for itself in our lives. It is important to pay attention when CEOs tell the world they would rather surf than pray, show up at work in […]

From One Market Under God, by Thomas Frank, loc 1395: Friedman was in some ways the very embodiment of market populism at flood tide. As the intellectual life of the decade came to resemble a race among popular financial commentators to win for themselves, through a sort of cosmic optimism about all things dotcom, the […]

Rarely can a film have been as timely as Denial. It tells the story of the libel action the holocaust denying historian David Irving took against Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, alleging that she had damaged his professional reputation as a historian by claiming he had wilfully distorted evidence. The film recounts the events leading up to the trial, […]

In a recent article on Derivace, Luděk Brož, Tereza Stöckelová and Filip Vostal reflect on the case of Wadim Strielkowski, whose over-enthusiastic game playing was the subject of extensive debate within the Czech academy. There are many factors which have, as a whole, led his prolific rate of publication to be regarded with deep suspicion, such as […]

Very pleased to be keynoting this fantastic BSA PhD conference in a couple of months: What is the role of the researcher outside the academy? This event invites Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers to innovate and critically reflect on three related areas of public sociology: academic activism, public engagement, and participation and co-production. It encourages researchers […]

Some notes on Gary Hall’s Pirate Philosophy, a book I found more thought-provoking than any I’d read in some time. The podcast above is an interview I recorded with him a couple of months ago.  The forgetfulness of technology which critics like Stiegler argue afflicts contemporary thought also applies to the narrower world in which such […]

I’ve just finished reading the excellent This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things by Whitney Phillips. It offers fascinating insights into the evolution of ‘trolling’ as a practice, leading from its original form of sub-cultural self-identification to the diffusion of the label across the entire spectrum of online activities deemed to be anti-social. Her […]

I’m very excited that the Digital Geographies working group of the Royal Geographical Society is now up and running. Find out more on their website here. Our aims are to: Provide a platform and intellectual community for geographers to engage in discussions of the digital and geography Help stimulate and deepen critical engagement and conceptualisation […]

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve started blogging again at a rate I haven’t in a number of years. The reason for this is to try and abate a growing problem with my writing. In the last year or so, I’ve found myself feeling increasingly overloaded and lacking mental bandwidth to a degree I […]

In the last couple of months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the poetics of impact. I’ve always been somewhat ambivalent about the impact agenda, initially suspecting that it might open up opportunities for valuable activity to be recognised within the increasingly restrictive confines of the accelerated academy. I wasn’t alone in this. This is how […]

Does the situation of skholḗ still obtain in the accelerated academy? This is what Bourdieu described as “the free time, freed from the urgencies of the world, that allows a free and liberated relation to those urgencies and to the world” (p. 1). This condition was always unevenly distributed, its ubiquity apparent only relative to one’s own elite status […]

From The Research Impact Handbook, by Mark Reed, loc 1575: Andrew Derrington, in The Research Funding Toolkit , tries to help by conceiving of research as a “grants factory”, in which researchers churn out proposals dispassionately on a production line, starting work on the next proposal as soon as the last one is submitted, and […]