Month: February 2017

As the workings of civil society are being disrupted by the challenges of ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake news’ and notions of post-truth, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal has decided to devote a special issue to this topic. Our approach is broad; the flow of information is fundamental to civil society and that flow and its interactions with […]

In the latest collection of talks from Audrey Watters, The Curse of the Monsters of Educational Technology, she addresses an uncomfortable issue in higher education: the unrealistic claims made about the transformative aspect of university attendance. From loc 397-413: These questions get at what is an uncomfortable and largely unspoken truth about education. That is, […]

In The Making of Donald Trump, David Johnston identifies the tactics used by Trump to deflect inquiries into his many shady dealings and questionable decisions. Sometimes this is a matter of outright threats, with an enthusiasm for litigation (1,900 suits as plaintiffs)  coupled with an explicitly articulated philosophy of vengeance proving a dangerous combination for any who […]

I’m reading through the Stern review in preparation for various impact related things I’m doing in the next few weeks. It takes the view that the 6,975 impact case studies produced and £55 million estimated to have been spent on the impact element of the last REF has clearly contributed to “an evolving culture of wider engagement, […]

Another extract from Audrey Watters, this time from The Curse of the Monsters of Educational Technology, who analysis of the rhetoric of disruption has fast become one of my favourite examples of digital cultural critique. From loc 184: “The Silicon Valley Narrative,” as I call it, is the story that the technology industry tells about […]

This looks like a very interesting panel: We are looking for a few additional people who might be interested in contributing to an AoIR panel exploring critical questions and issues surrounding algorithmic agency, power and publics. Researchers and media commentators alike are seemingly fascinated with the magic-like and opaque properties of algorithms. Algorithms are touted […]

From The Revenge of the Monsters of Educational Technology, by Audrey Watters, loc 1187: Many of us in education technology talk about this being a moment of great abundance—information abundance—thanks to digital technologies. But I think we are actually/ also at a moment of great austerity. And when we talk about the future of education, […]

This great post by Martin Weller takes issue with the recent click bait published by the Guardian Higher Education’s anonymous academics series. He argues that they perpetuate an outdated stereotype of academic labour which has no relationship to the reality: There are undoubtedly more, but when you piece these three together, what you get is […]

This important contrast is outlined powerfully by danah boyd: From the outside, companies like Facebook and Google seem pretty evil to many people. They’re situated in a capitalist logic that many advocates and progressives despise. They’re opaque and they don’t engage the public in their decision-making processes, even when those decisions have huge implications for […]

This 4S panel looks fascinating: I’d like to invite you to consider submitting a paper abstract to the panel I’m co-convening for 4S in Boston this year. Abstracts are due March 1. It would be great to have critical internet/digital media studies folks working with STS to speak to the themes of this panel. Rich, […]

In his Uberworked and Underpaid, Trebor Scholz draws out an important parallel between the platform capitalism of YouTube and the near universally praised Wikipedia: Unsurprisingly, YouTube hires countless consultants to better understand how to trigger the participation of the crowd. They wonder how they can get unpaid producers to create value. But equally, on the […]

From Uberworked and Underpaid, by Trebor Scholz, loc 1290: I am using the term “platform capitalism,” introduced by Sascha Lobo77 and Martin Kenney, to bypass the fraudulent togetherness of terms like “peer,” “sharing,” and “economy.” How can we talk about genuine sharing or innovation when a third party immediately monetizes your every interaction for the […]