Month: April 2019

  • The alliance between the billionaires and the thought leaders

    Why the great disruptive project needs thought leaders, from Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas pg 94: The Hilary Cohens and Stacey Ashers and Justin Rosensteins and Greg Ferensteins and Emmett Carsons and Jane Leibrocks and Shervin Pishevars and Chris Saccas and Travis Kalanicks of the world needed thinkers to formulate the visions of change by […]

  • The birth of machinology

    My notes on Rahwan, I. et al. (2019) Machine Behaviour. Nature, 568, 477–486 The proliferation of intelligent machines, ranging from machine learning systems through to their embodiment in robotics, raises the question of how their behaviour should be studied and understood. In this agenda setting paper, the team of authors suggest this now requires the deliberate formation of a […]

  • When political theory restages the ‘Corbynism is a cult’ trope

    From Corbynism: A Critical Approach, by Frederick Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton, loc 3122 It is the Corbyn movement’s reliance on this kind of hyper-moralised Schmittian identitarian politics of ‘friend’ and ‘enemy’ which explains why the Corbyn movement appears at its strongest when it comes under attack from internal or external foes, real or imagined, while […]

  • What is digital literacy and how do you teach it?

    My notes on Chase, Z., & Laufenberg, D. (2011). Embracing the squishiness of digital literacy. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(7), 535-537. Even if widespread disagreement remains about what constitutes digital literacy, everyone seems to agree that it is important to the success of students. As Chase and Laufenberg point out, “if digital literacy […]

  • Academics like the idea of Twitter in the classroom but what do students think?

    My notes on Boath, E., Vigurs, K., & Frangos, J. (2018). Twittering Away-Is twitter an appropriate adjunctive tool to enhance learning and engagement in Higher Education?. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 3(2). Twitter has often be framed as a potential tool for teaching and learning. It can be used for virtual peer support groups, developing […]

  • The cultural entrepreneurs behind your favourite thought leaders 

    From Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas pg 88: Zolli was a kind of MarketWorld producer, standing at the profitable intersection of companies wanting to associate themselves with big ideas, networkers looking for their next conference, and writers and thinkers who wanted to reach a broader audience and perhaps court the influential elites of the […]

  • Technology and the billionaire class

    As Anand Giridharadas points out on pg 86 of his Winners Take All, the eight billionaires who can account for half the world’s wealth all owe their income to technology, albeit to varying degrees: Six of those eight made their money in the supposedly equalizing field of technology: Gates, Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry […]

  • Why education and technology is full of bullshit

    My notes on Selwyn, N. (2016). Minding our language: why education and technology is full of bullshit… and what might be done about it. This wonderfully title editorial takes issue with the tendency for educational uses of digital technology to be “discussed in enthusiastic and often exaggerated terms”, leaving “idealistic and impassioned talk” proliferating in an […]

  • Who would be against the people?

    There’s a profound scepticism running through Corbynism: A Critical Approach concerning the people and its role within Corbynism. Their concern is that a prevailing sense of socialism as natural, what people do when left to their own devices, constructs them as “inherently moral and naturally good beings, and ‘the people’ as a whole a unified, self-sufficient, organic community” (loc […]

  • Social media and education… now the dust has settled

    My notes on Selwyn, N., & Stirling, E. (2016). Social media and education… now the dust has settled. Learning, media and technology, 41(1), 1-5. This special issue of Learning, Media and Technology is a sequel to a 2009 issue which began to inquire into the emergence of ‘social software’ and what it meant for teaching. […]

  • The dark possibilities incipient with Universal Basic Income

    This is such an interesting argument from Corbynism: A Critical Approach by Frederick Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton, loc 2987. I think it’s slightly hyperbolic, understating individualised domination within the corporation and overstating individualised domination by the state, but it’s an important case which needs to be answered, particularly concerning the economic pressures which corporations and states […]

  • Collectivising public sociology

    My notes on Burawoy, M. (2002). Public sociologies and the grass roots, speech to SWS Wrightsville Beach, February 7, 2002. In this short text Burawoy takes issue with the mythology of decline which intellectuals are spreading about their own existence, as well as the associated belief that “a public sociology that dealt with the big issues of the […]

  • Is digital upskilling the next generation our ‘pipeline to prosperity’?

    My notes on Davies, H. C., & Eynon, R. (2018). Is digital upskilling the next generation our ‘pipeline to prosperity’?. New Media & Society, 20(11), 3961-3979. It’s so rare for a paper to have such a wonderfully informative title. Huw Davies and Rebecca Eynon interrogate this assumption that “teaching young people digital skills and literacies will […]

  • The performance of critique and why it frustrates me 

    In the last week, I’ve been reading Corbynism: A Critical Approach by Frederick Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton. It’s a thought provoking critique of the Labour leadership and the movement which has emerged around it. One which I’m reading because I wanted to be forced to think about things I believe, which the shrill condemnation […]

  • The political adulthood of the Occupy generation

    In their Corbynism: A Critical Approach, Frederick Harry Pitts and Matt Bolton offer this account of the change that has taken place within the British left, as transformative projects and political power came to displace the concerns of horizontals. From loc 2491-2507: a politically ambivalent ‘left’ populism whose contemporary origins are to be found in the […]

  • You can’t have your ‘facts’ back

    My notes on Marres, N. (2018). Why We Can’t Have Our Facts Back. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 4, 423-443. “We want our facts back” is a semi-joking remarking Noortje Marres overheard an academic say which captures a wider response to what has been called ‘post-truth’. Many feel increasingly inclined to take a normative stance […]

  • The consequences of our expectations

    In his Imagined Futures, Jens Beckert suggests four ways in which fictional expectations make an impact on the social world: They coordinate actors by providing a common focus to their action They are able to shape the future by conditioning what action happens The freedom involved in fiction means they are not constrained by reality and […]

  • The concept of ‘mobile literacy’

    My notes on Barden, O. (2019). Building the mobile hub: mobile literacies and the construction of a complex academic text. Literacy, 53(1), 22-29. In spite of the many things which smart phones can do, they have not been welcomed warmly within the classroom with many claiming they are “distracting, promote superficial learning, erode students’ ability […]

  • The sociology of expectations (and platform imaginaries)

    In his Imagined Futures, Jens Beckert offers a sociology of expectations which reconstructs the role of imagination in how people orientate themselves to the future. From pg 9: If actors are orientated toward the future and outcomes are uncertain, then how can expectations be define? What are expectations under conditions of uncertainty? That is the central question to […]

  • A manifesto for writing and publishing differently

    My notes on Kember, S. (2016). Why publish?. Learned Publishing, 29, 348-353. This short piece is based on Sarah Kember’s inaugrial professorial lecture at Goldsmiths, its writing timed to coincide with the launch of Goldsmith’s new press. Its establishment was explicitly motivated by a sense of “the opportunities afforded by digital technologies and the new […]