Month: June 2017

One of the most interesting issues raised by the rise of data science in party politics is how to untangle corporate rhetoric from social reality. I have much time for the argument that we risk taking the claims of a company like Cambridge Analytica too seriously, accepting at face value what are simply marketing exercises. […]

What do we think of when we imagine elites exercising their power? There are many ways we can approach such a question, with varying degrees of abstraction. But reading The Divide: American Injustice In The Age Of The Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi, has left me preoccupied by how they practice revenge. It’s easy to imagine […]

The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbably Path to Power by Alex Nunns How Trump Thinks: His Tweets and the Birth of a New Political Language by Peter Oborne and Tom Roberts Shattered: Inside Hilary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes The Mediated Construction of Reality by Nick Couldry and Andreas Hepp Adults In […]

In the last year, Facebook Live has been plagued by occasional headlines reporting on shocking instances of violence being streamed through the platform. The sporadic quality of these reports easily creates an impression that this is exception. There have always been violent crimes, right? Therefore it stands to reason that the spread of the platform […]

Practitioners of social philosophy regard what they do as valuable, imbuing it with a sense of importance which is reflected in the often scholastic way in which readers cite and engage with such work. How seriously should we take this judgement? Does social philosophy have intrinsic worth? Or could it be considered a peculiar form […]

In the last few years, I’ve become a little obsessed with speed. It seems this often leaves me coming across like an accelerationist. I occasionally flirt with the idea that I’m a slightly peculiar form of left-accelerationist, but it’s more for rhetorical amusement than genuine conviction. In fact I find much of what’s written about the […]

Much of the reaction to Labour’s election success last week has been framed in terms of their ‘rewriting the rules’. One particularly explicit example of this can be seen in an article by Jonathan Freedland, an enthusiastic critic of Corbyn, pontificating that Corbyn took “the traditional political rulebook” and “put it through the shedder”. What […]

If this is an accurate account, it’s remarkable that he seemingly remains devoid of bitterness about this treatment. From The Candidate, by Alex Nunns, loc 6251: “You are not fit to be prime minister,” the widely unknown Bridget Phillipson tells Corbyn. “It’s time to be honest with yourself. You’re not a leader. You need to […]

It’s conventional wisdom that Corbyn’s leadership campaign was the target of brutal coverage by the media. I was interested to learn in The Candidate, by Alex Nunns, that this wasn’t quite how the campaign itself saw the situation. Understanding why can help elucidate the surprise that was #Election2017. From loc 4591-4556: Ask some of Corbyn’s […]

When Tweets Turn Sour: Avoiding Legal Pitfalls on Social Media 2 hour masterclass, £12-13 per person When:6-8pm, Wednesday 28th June 2017 Where: NUJ,Headland House, 72 Acton Street, London, WC1X 9NB Who for: Anyone using Twitter for PR, media/journalism or any kind of professional work Book your place via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/when-tweets-turn- sour-tickets-34619598150?aff=erelpanelorg When Tweets Turn Sour […]

How has social media contributed to the growing success of Corbynism? In asking this question, we risk falling into the trap of determinism by constructing ‘social media’ as an independent force bringing about effects in an otherwise unchanged world. This often goes hand-in-hand with what Nick Couldry calls ‘the myth of us’, framing social media in […]

Japan in the Digital Age Call for Papers for a one-day Symposium Saturday 28th October, 2017 The Shed, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Keynote Speakers Prof. Ian Condry, Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mr. Kazuhito Gen-I (?? ??), award-winning media practitioner, working on 2.5 Dimension project (theatre adaptation of anime, manga and […]

How do we explain the election of Donald Trump? Far too much of the media’s response to this question has been to take Trump’s account of his own powers at face value. This scion of the elite, who never felt at home amongst the elite into which he was born, imagines himself as able to […]

While many see the term ‘curation’ as modish and vague, I see it as an important concept to make sense of how we can orientate ourselves within a changing cultural landscape. However I can sympathise with the thrust of these objections, in so far as they take issue with a sense of curation tied in […]

Reading Shattered, an account of Hilary Clinton’s failed election campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, I’ve been struck by how limited political modelling has proved in recent elections. This had been in the case in the 2008 primary contest with Obama, in which the unprecedented character of his candidacy (as well as the candidate […]

In a recent editorial in Current Sociology, Michael Burawoy warns about what he describes as the ascent of the spiralists. He finds these figures throughout the UC Berekely administration, accusing them of being “people who spiral in from outside, develop signature projects and then hope to spiral upward and onward, leaving the university behind to spiral […]

How significant can a tweet can be? We can point to isolated cases of individual tweets going viral, creating controversy and producing material outcomes in the world. But isolated tweets rarely have such significance. Instead, we need to look at a Twitter feed as a unit of analysis, taking someone’s entire output on the platform as […]