Month: January 2019

My notes on Lawson, T. (2009). Cambridge social ontology: an interview with Tony Lawson. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 2(1), 100-122. Tony Lawson is a key figure in critical realism, leading the Cambridge Social Ontology group over twenty five years and playing a primary role in establishing the International Association for Critical Realism, as […]

What a fascinating resource this is: Sociologists’ Knowledge of Anarchism Project. Thanks to Martyn Everett for passing it on. To explore sociologists’ knowledge about an alternate theoretical paradigm also concerned with society: anarchism. Sociologists tend to have an extremely variable familiarity with anarchist ideas—some who know a lot and others who know very little beyond […]

My notes on Nash, K. (2018). Neo-liberalisation, universities and the values of bureaucracy. The Sociological Review, 0038026118754780. It is too easy to frame neoliberalism in institutions as an outcome rather than a project. In this thoughtful paper, Kate Nash explores the space which this recognition opens up, the “competing and contradictory values in the everyday life of public sector organisations” […]

I’m giving serious thought to this, as much as I’m trying to save money and travel less: Call for Papers for the Conference „Scraping the Demos“: Political epistemologies of Big Data Organizers: Research Group Quantification and Social Regulation (Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society) and DVPW Thematic Group “Internet and Politics. Electronic Governance” Date: 8-9 […]

My notes on this report by Google Transparency Project  There are many reasons to be cautious about the educational ambitions of tech firms. If these firms seem likely to be the dominant actors of the global economy over the coming decades, how will shape the influence they exercise over education. To offer the most concrete […]

My notes on Davies, W. (2017). Elites without hierarchies: Intermediaries,‘agency’and the super-rich. In Cities and the super-rich (pp. 19-38). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Who are the super-rich, and what do they want? This is the question which a thought provoking paper by Will Davies begins with and it’s one which has preoccupied me in recent years. […]

Are you interested in sociological fiction? Did you know there’s a new online home for it at The Sociological Review, edited by Ashleigh Watson? The first few pieces in our new section are online: Who Are Your Friends? Smiling Gives You Wrinkles Oil on canvas See here for guidance about how to contribute to. We […]

My sociological question after discovering the world of competitive Rubiks cube: how does one become a competitive Rubiks cube player? Is there an identifiable moral career in Goffman’s sense? There’s a vast internet subculture relating to this and I’m curious about the role it has play in enabling the competitive Rubiks cube world to coalesce. Here’s […]

If you’re here for the social theory or social media, please ignore this massively nerdy post. I’ve now read Marvel’s Secret Wars twice and there’s a few things I’m mystified by. Have I missed a big chunk of the storytelling? Or were these Chekhov’s rifles gone wrong: elements introduced into a vastly complex plot which […]

The International Journal of Social Research Methodology has a new blog and we’re seeking contributions. We’re hoping it can be a vibrant space in which emerging methodological debates can unfold, tentative ideas voiced for the first time and professional discussions held in a public forum. This recent post on complexity and health inequalities gives a […]

My notes on Hudson, M. (2018). Ending technocracy with a neologism? Avivocracy as a conceptual tool. Technology in Society, 55, 136-139. What does it mean to call someone technocratic? In this intriguing paper, Marc Hudson observes that the term is “thrown about as a term of abuse, but without a clear alternative other than ritual(istic) invocations of […]

My notes on Hashemi, M. (2019). Bedouins of Silicon Valley: A neo-Khaldunian approach to sociology of technology. The Sociological Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118822823  This hugely original paper seeks to counteract what Morteza Hashemi sees as an excessive focus on technological development in accounts of Silicon Valley, looking beyond this macro-social (often Schumpeterian) approach to “the evolution of Silicon Valley […]

This is one of the most engaging things I’ve ever seen on YouTube. I’d enthusiastically watch an entire web series built around this premise. There’s a whole research agenda waiting to be undertaken exploring the troll’s claim that he needed to be abusive in order to get noticed by Owen Jones.