Month: December 2018

I really liked this piece David Roberts on Vox, summarising Ezra Klein on the transformation of journalism. This is the context in which there’s a great unexplored potential for public sociology, as I’ve tried to argue: The internet changed all that. There are no longer supply constraints — it is trivially cheap and easy to publish something on […]

My notes on Maccarini, A. M. (2018). Trans-human (life-) time: Emergent biographies and the ‘deep change’in personal reflexivity. In Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina (pp. 138-164). Routledge. One of the interesting features of the recent Centre for Social Ontology project on defending the human has been the realisation that many in the group are entirely open to the […]

My notes on Burawoy, M. (2017). On Desmond: the limits of spontaneous sociology. Theory and Society, 46(4), 261-284. The work of Matthew Desmond has won enormous acclaim in recent years, with Evicted being a book I recommend to anyone keen to understand the relevance of contemporary sociology. While recognising his talents as an ethnographer and writer, […]

My notes on Yuill, S. (2005) Programming as Practice in J. Gibbons and K. Winwood, eds., Hothaus Papers: perspectives and paradigms in media arts, Birmingham: ARTicle Press. What does it mean to program? In this intriguing paper Simon Yuill takes issue with responses to this question which reduce programming to a technical practice, reduced to […]

There are many reasons to like Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends but the one I hadn’t expected was her depiction of theory anxiety: I concluded that some kinds of reality have an unrealistic effect, which made me think of the theorist Jean Baudrillard, though I had never read his books and these were probably not the […]

My notes on Andrejevic, M., Hearn, A., & Kennedy, H. (2015). Cultural studies of data mining: Introduction, European Journal of Cultural Studies 18(4-5), 379-394 In this introduction to an important special issue, Mark Andrejevic, Alison Hearn and Helen Kennedy that the ubiquity of data infrastructure in everyday life means that “we cannot afford to limit our thinking about data […]

My notes on Phelan, S., & Dawes, S.  (2018, February 26). Liberalism and Neoliberalism. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Ed.   Retrieved 18 Dec. 2018, from http://oxfordre.com/communication/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228613-e-176. Liberalism and neoliberalism are nebulous categories, used in different ways to identify and disassociate from other identities. Liberalism has long been the hegemonic common sense of communications research while also being the explicit […]

My notes on Paolillo, J. C. (2018). The Flat Earth phenomenon on YouTube. First Monday, 23(12). Even if the resurgent belief in a flat earth remains a marginal phenomenon, it is fascinating for what it reveals about YouTube. In this paper John C. Paolillo documents the emergence of this YouTube community and the issues which preoccupy […]

I organised a Sociological Review workshop at the weekend with Jenny Thatcher, Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn. I’m sufficiently snowed under at the moment that I don’t have the time/energy to reflect on it properly but here’s a sneak preview of the graphic produced by Julia Hayes (below), links to live blogging by Tyler Shores […]

From Margaret Archer’s Social Origins of Educational Systems pg 4: There is nothing more pointless than the debates which have now lasted for centuries about the ideal nature of education. The only function they serve is in helping individuals and groups to clarify their educational goals, to recognize the implications of their chosen aims, and […]

From Margaret Archer’s The Social Origins of Educational Systems pg 6: Historically the origins of the discipline are synonymous with the origins of macro-sociology –most of the early founding fathers asked big questions to which they gave equally big answers. Yet initially there was not thought to be anything distinctive or difficult about, for example, […]

I’m finally reading Margaret Archer’s Social Origins of Educational Systems, the one major work of hers I hadn’t read which also happens to be the longest. It’s ironic that I’m coming to this now, as someone trained to be a social theorist who is in the process of becoming an (accidental) educationalist. This book was […]

I’m finally reading the immensely powerful Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and I’m gripped by the sense he conveys of the “nonschooled learning” (pg 10) which  institutionalised schooling precludes. From pg 8: School appropriates the money, men, and good will available for education and in addition discourages other institutions from assuming educational tasks. Work, leisure, politics, […]

This was completely new to me. How much of the audience for these right-wing speaking tours are coming through YouTube? Is there a left wing equivalent? It’s not until I sit through An Entertaining Evening With Nigel Farage in Melbourne that I realise he’s not just a seven-times failed UK parliamentary candidate, but a bona […]

Tuesday December 4th 12pm Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge Everyone welcome! It’s a short journey from Cambridge train station We hear a lot about the coming ‘automation revolution’, but what might developments in machine learning and AI mean for researchers in the social sciences and humanities? In our next masterclass, Associate Professor Inger Mewburn […]