After five years of scheduling 50+ social media posts per day, I’m stepping down as The Sociological Review’s Digital Engagement Fellow next week. This seems like the perfect time for me to take a break from social media. I’ve locked my Twitter and Instagram accounts, deleted my Facebook account and the only place you will find me online is here […]

Meaning in Action is a thought provoking book by Rein Raud, motivated by the strange fate which has befallen ‘culture’. At precisely the time when “the concept of culture, sloppily defined or not at all, is occupying an increasingly central place in social and political debate” the study of the concept has become ever narrower, […]

I’ve been thinking a lot in the last couple of weeks about climate change and digitalisation. For instance the climatic significance of digital technology is increasingly recognised, as well as the resource constraints this implies for some of the wilder claims made about the coming frontiers of digitalisation. This also represents an ideological tension as one emerging grand […]

My notes on Delic, K. A., & Walker, M. A. (2008). Emergence of the academic computing clouds. Ubiquity, 2008(August), 1. I was intrigued by this short paper from 2008, prefiguring a number of themes which are central to contemporary debates about digital infrastructure. It reflected on the “emergence of the cloud as the generic infrastructural […]

I thought this was an incredibly evocative description, from pg 116 of The Unhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells. Contrary to the hagiographic orthodoxy we find in accounting for the history of capitalism, the reality is that one single innovation explains the turbo charged growth which the world saw over a comparatively short period of time. It […]

My notes on Newfield, C. (2019). Unbundling the knowledge economy. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 1-9. Far from being distinct institutions at a remove from society, this special issue explores their many interconnections with social and political life. Once we recognise the mutating character of the university, transforming and growing in a way which reflects wider […]

From The Unhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells pg 89: Sitting in a living room in a modern apartment in an advanced metropolis somewhere in the developed world, this threat may seem hard to credit—so many cities looking nowadays like fantasies of endless and on-demand abundance for the world’s wealthy. But of all urban entitlements, the […]

Should climate change be a master narrative? It certainly has competition from neo-conservative narratives of the Chinese century, techno-dystopian narratives of the ‘rise of the robots’ or populist narratives of the great revival. But I find David Wallace-Wells very plausible here in The Unhabitable Earth on pg 53: In this way, climate change appears to […]

My notes on Manolev, J., Sullivan, A., & Slee, R. (2019). The datafication of discipline: ClassDojo, surveillance and a performative classroom culture. Learning, Media and Technology, 44(1), 36-51. To understand how digital technology is reshaping education, it’s necessary to analyse how datafication (“the conversion of social action into quantifiable data in a manner that enables […]

My notes on Robertson, S.L. & Mocanu, A.M. (2019) The Possibilities of a Radical Diasporic Epistemology for the Development of Global Personhood in Education. International Studies in the Sociology of Education The notion of ‘global competence’ was added by the OECD to its Program of International Student Achievement (PISA) in 2018. This was necessary in order to equip […]

From The Unhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells pg 33: Five years ago, hardly anyone outside the darkest corners of the internet had even heard of Bitcoin; today mining it consumes more electricity than is generated by all the world’s solar panels combined, which means that in just a few years we’ve assembled, out of distrust […]

I was fascinated to learn in The Unhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells that climate models end in 2100 as a matter of convention. I’d be interested to learn about how this convention emerges and what effect it has had on climate science. It’s easy to see the epistemological reasons for this, as the conditions being modelled become […]

My notes on Thompson, G., & Sellar, S. (2018). Datafication, testing events and the outside of thought. Learning, Media and Technology, 43(2), 139-151. In this paper Thompson and Sellar cast a Deleuzian lens upon the data hungry character of contemporary educational institutions. As they put it on 139, “Education institutions, and the people who work […]

The full significance of this cannot be overstated. If a million Syrians pushed Europe to the brink of fascism, what might ten or a hundred times that number do? The horrible irony is that the far right coming to the power makes it less likely that steps will be taken to control the climatological processes […]

My notes on Orben, A. & Dienlin, T. & Przybylski, A.K. (2019). Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences Does social media make young people unhappy? This is the question which this paper by Amy Orbena, Tobias Dienlinc and Andrew K. Przybylskia addresses using the Understanding Society […]

This special issue of Discover Society collects articles from speakers at last year’s inaugrial Platform University conference at the University of Cambridge. It has been published to coincide with the release of the call for papers for the second conference, taking place in December at Lancaster University. The Platform University, by Mark Carrigan Assembling the […]

My notes on Wood, D. M., & Monahan, T. (2019). Platform Surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2), 1-6. In this editorial, David Murakami Wood and Torin Monahan introduce a special issue of Surveillance & Society which considers platform capitalism from the perspective of surveillance studies. Their focus is on how “digital platforms fundamentally transform social practices […]