The changing character of publicness and its implications for the public role of the social sciences. What are the opportunities and challenges? What forms of institutional entrepreneurship are they inviting? What does this mean for the future of scholarship? What does this mean for doctoral pedagogy? How can we build institutions and develop practices which address this changing landscape? How is this transformation of knowledge production tied up in the changing governance of the university? How does discursive critique impact upon the efficacy of resistance to these trends? What is it like to mundanely exist within this dysfunctional institutional environment? What is the university becoming and what role is platformisation playing in this? Do we need to defend the university in a ‘post truth’ age or is the easy availability of this rhetoric masking a much deeper set of problems in the collective life of scholarship.
The proliferation of digital platforms and the problem of agency. Platformisation has reached an intensivity and extensivity that we urgently need to understand how the architecture of platforms, as well as the forms of (micro, meso and macro) strategic conduct consolidated through them, transforms the parameters of personal and collective reflexivity. There are countless claims made about this process but there has yet to be a consistent and plausible ontological engagement with the process as such. It would be a mistake to see this as an opportunity for restaging the structure and agency debate. But without revisiting this terrain, it’s not going to be possible to resolve the problem of agency within a comprehensively platformised social order. A failure to reach this point will have serious intellectual and pedagogical consequences for the exercise of our (technological) reflexivity with regards to an increasingly dystopian political economy against the backdrop of a climate crisis.