Month: November 2018

This looks excellent! CALL FOR PROPOSALS Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies Back to the Future: Telling and Taming Anticipatory Media Visions and Technologies Guest editors: Christian Pentzold (University of Bremen, Germany), Anne Kaun (Södertörn University, Sweden), and Christine Lohmeier (University of Salzburg, Austria) Digital media, networked services, […]

I find it hard to read this excellent piece by Alfie Brown and not speculate about long term trends… how easy is it to imagine a world in a state of ecological collapse dominated by a few corporate city states fortified against the wastelands at their walls, as well as the millions of migrants fleeing […]

A really interesting Vanity Fair piece exploring the assumption amongst American law makers and financiers that outrage against big tech will be limited because there is no constituency liable to be organised against it. In the absence of a collective agency pushing for political action to be taken, diffuse outrage is unlikely to lead to political […]

In the last few years, I’ve noticed a pattern when I see photos of myself in front of an audience. I  am invariably tilting one foot forward as I talk, as in the attached photo from Andrew  Crane. Yet I have no awareness of doing it. Is this some strange adaptation to one leg being […]

  I don’t need to see I disrespect them gleefully and eat the pain, rage and guilt I keep it deep in me Release my fist When my ashes hit the pacific and I’m infinitely swimming in the ether Where the teachers be- Waves Thumbs up Sunglasses emoji Peace Tryna exist in superposition Tryna exist in […]

From Oliver Bullough’s Moneyland pg 225-226. It’s hard not to see intimations of Elysium in developments like this: Take Indian Creek, for example. It is a village in Miami-Dade County, Florida, which you approach through a quiet and pleasant residential neighbourhood, all groomed lawns and bungalows; where the streets lack sidewalks, but where there is […]

There’s a powerful extract in Oliver Bollough’s (superb) Moneyland talking about about the role offshore capital in inflating assets such as wine, art, cars, yachts and most of all real estate, with the latter then used to house these inflated assets. In the process it empowers a new class of fixers, helping manage this wealth […]

Reading the philosopher Daniel Little’s reflection on eleven years of Understanding Society, I found myself wondering how blogging will be seen when we are surrounded by personal blogs which are decades old? The blog you are reading is eight years old this month, superseding a sequence of blogs which covered a further seven years before […]

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about escalation effects, by which I mean the tendency of some courses of action to escalate beyond our initial expectations or capacity to control. My favourite examples involve information overload. An active reader will often follow up references from books they are reading, with an interesting book usually yielding at […]

If you’re anywhere near Cambridge this week, consider coming to this masterclass I’m organising: register here. What I find so inspiring about Gary Hall is the relationship between his theoretical work and his institutional interventions. He’s been a key figure in an enormous range of projects which have pushed the boundaries of scholarly publishing and helped […]

This was an exciting day for Digital Sociology, as an esteemed group of speakers gathered in the august surroundings of the Churchill Room in the Treasury to discuss sociology’s contribution to understanding and defining our digital future. As BSA President Susan Halford explained in her introduction, the event is intended to pool the expertise of […]

This weekend I saw Iain Sinclair in conversation with Richard Sennett at the Cambridge Literary Festival. The highlight was Sinclair’s response to a question from the audience about his view of Cambridge. Vividly describing the antipathy he felt for a place in which one perpetually encounters “doors within doors” and “secrets within secrets“, Sinclair ended […]

What is awkwardness? It’s something we recognise. It’s something which is everywhere. Yet when we do think about it, it’s often seen as something trivial and mundane, representing an interruption of decorum or a warp in the texture of micro-social interaction. It’s something that can be intensely felt but is soon forgotten and, where it is not, we see […]

Over the holidays I stumbled across Suits and found myself weirdly hooked by it. It tells the story of Mike Ross, a gifted stoner whose life has been going nowhere, bumbling into an interview for new associates at a prestigious law firm while trying to escape the police after a drug deal gone wrong. He […]

The final session is kicking off with Ben Williamson (University of Edinburgh) talking about how digital data is transforming the university. These institutions are increasingly imagined as ‘smart’ organisations built around data infrastructure, with a whole range of innovations being pushed by a diverse array of actors. This has included the Department for Education commissioning […]

Our next session starts with Phil Brown from Cardiff University talking about the reality underlying the rhetoric of automation. Claims about the impending reality of mass unemployment driven by automation circulate widely, with a significant risk of exaggeration. Nonetheless, the general direction of travel is clear and there will be a declining demand for labour, posing problems […]

The first speaker is Sonia Livingstone from the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. Reflecting Phil Howard’s claim that sociology is bridging the quantitative/qualitative divide, Livingstone’s work draws on qualitative and quantitative data to elucidate what digital technology means for parents and childhoods. Parents seek to equip their children for what they imagine will […]