Month: November 2017

While Margaret Archer’s theoretical work is widely respected, it is often categorised as little more than an elaboration of Roy Bhaskar and a critique of Anthony Giddens. This framing leaves it secondary to Critical Realism and Structuration Theory, understandable (though limiting) in the former case and deeply inaccurate in the latter case. Reading Envisioning Sociology […]

These are points I feel I reach relatively frequently, as identifiable discursive predicaments lead discussions between people who might otherwise agree to instead break down: Agreement with an argument in principle but concern about the practical implications of that agreement. For example if a particular issue has suddenly become prominent in public debate, it will inevitably […]

This observation by the journalist David Cay Johnston in the recent channel 4 documentary Trump: An American Dream stood out to me: Donald understands that most reporters accurately quote what they’re told but they really don’t know what they’re writing about. Once his story is out there then anything else is just a counter story. […]

We often think of self-narrative as something self-grounding, reflecting the truth of a person even if that truth might change over the life course. If we take issue with this, we turn to the bare objective facts of someone’s life as a counterpoint to the unreliably subjective stories they tell. This oscillation misses the important […]

Earlier today at the British Academy’s Social Listening event, Paul Crayston used this extract from Edmund Burke to illustrate a point about the tendency of social media users to mistake the noise they make within their own milieux for the activity taking place on the platform as a whole. Because half a dozen grasshoppers under […]

GIG-ARTS 2018 – The Second European Multidisciplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies 26-27 April 2018, Cardiff Overcoming Inequalities in Internet Governance: framing digital policy capacity building strategies Organised by: Centre for Internet and Global Politics / School of Law and Politics / Cardiff University In partnership with: DiploFoundation, The ECPR […]

There’s a gently scathing inditement of university marketing in today’s WonkHE newsletter. I’ve been interested in university marketing for years, without ever having written properly on the topic. I find it fascinating to see how universities choose to position themselves to (imagined) publics, as well as what this positioning says about them and the context within […]

WHAT IS UNIVERSE? COMMUNICATION • COMPLEXITY • COHERENCE April 19-21, 2018 * University of Oregon in Portland, USA The _WHAT IS UNIVERSE?_ [1] (2018) conference-experience examines communication, complexity/simplicity, coherence/incoherence and, how they may or may not contribute to “a pluralistic universe.” This conference marks the third collaboration among scholars from the natural and social sciences, […]

There’s a wonderful discussion by Ann Oakley on loc 562-567 of her Father and Daughter, taking the production of the academic c.v. seriously as an autobiographical act: A c.v. is an autobiographical act, a life composed and presented according to certain conventions, a story designed to hide, exaggerate, downplay or boast about aspects selected from […]

In his magisterial A Secular Age, Charles Taylor introduces the notion of ‘subtraction stories’ to describe our dominant narratives of secularisation. This narrative structure is crucial to teleological thought, explaining our current situation in terms which preclude any backwards movement. As he explains on pg 22, Concisely put, I mean by this stories of modernity in […]

The individual is an unpopular category within contemporary social thought. To be concerned with the individual is taken to imply individualism, something which falls outside the range of acceptability for the cultural politics prevalent within British sociology. This is amplified by an intellectual impulse to transcend the individual as a unit of analysis, bound up […]

Thu 16 November 2017, 18:30 – 20:00 GMT Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Professor Helen Margetts, director of the prestigious Oxford Internet Institute, presents her personal, positive vision – and then leads discussion – on how the UK’s social media can be a force for greater equality in the year 2027. Register online here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/helen-margetts-how-social-media-and-other-platforms-can-promote-equality-in-2027-tickets-34398362428

In his Pascalian Meditations, Bourdieu is concerned with “the free time, freed from the urgencies of the world, that allows a free and liberated relation to those urgencies and to the world”. There are presuppositions to enjoying this condition which shape the dispositions of the scholar, necessitating reflexivity for epistemic and ethical reasons if there […]

I thought this was really interesting, particularly the focus on HCI for this strategy: *HCI/UX researchers at Google’s Next Billion Users teamThe Google Next Billion Users team is looking for HCI interns, post-docs, and researchers-on-contract to work on exploratory research and product initiatives. The team builds global products from the ground-up with new Internet users, […]

Thursday 8th March 2018, The Wellcome Collection, London, NW1 2BE After several successful events, we’re pleased to say that the NSMNSS network (http://nsmnss.blogspot.co.uk/) and Social Research Association (www.the-sra.org.uk) are again teaming up to deliver a one-day conference on ‘Answering social science questions with social media data’. As social media research matures as a discipline, and methodological […]

I just returned from a Remembrance Day service, pondering the relationship between acceleration and the profane after finding the array of people walking past and through the service deeply irritating. It occurred to me that what marks out such a space as sacred, distinguished from the normal flow on everyday life, rests as much on […]

I admitted defeat this evening, ten days into NaNoWriMo. I fell well behind my target this week, leaving me in a position where I’d have to write 2000 words a day to finish the book. The fact I failed to write anything today means that number has only increased. The last two weeks of this month will […]