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CfP Special Issue: The Platformization of Chinese Society

Special Issue of Chinese Journal of Communication: The Platformization of Chinese Society Extended Abstract Submission Deadline: July 1, 2017 Full Paper Submission deadline: February 28, 2018 Guest Editors: Jeroen de Kloet, Thomas Poell, Zeng Guohua Full text: http://jeroendekloet.nl/the-platformization-of-chinese-society/ We are currently witnessing a fast process of platformization of Chinese society. […]

The fortress city scenario 

A disturbing scenario from John Urry’s What is the Future? From loc 2996-3045: The final scenario involves the development of the Fortress City. Rich societies break away from the poorer into fortified enclaves. Those able to live in gated and armed encampments would do so, with much privatizing of what […]

The Technolibertarian King 

From I Hate The Internet: A Novel pg 189-190: Like Ray Kurzweil, who Christine identified with Dolos, the Greek spirit of trickery and guile. Ray Kurzweil was the king of technological liberation theology. Or, in other words, he was king of the most intolerable of all intolerable bullshit. He believed […]

The Sociology of Platforms

Reluctantly cut from my digital sociology paper Indeed, as Srnicek (2016) argues, this dynamics is integral to the nature of the platform itself, as a business model premised upon maximising opportunities for data extraction through situating itself as an intermediary between the interactions of existing actors. Each platform has an […]

The ennui of the academic celebrity

In Solar, by Ian McEwan, we encounter the weary figure of Michael Beard, the nobel laureate and serial womaniser who has long lived off his early contribution to theoretical physics. By the time he approaches his 60s, he is a chaotic and directionless man, nonetheless ubiquitously affirmed within the academy and […]

What is a research technologist?

I described myself as an ‘academic technologist’ for a number of years. During my part-time PhD, I’d drifted into a number of roles which felt connected but which were difficult to summarise: training people to use NVIVO, writing digital scholarship resources, advising on CAQDAS strategy for research projects, running workshops about social media […]

The Conspiracy of Cars

From What is the Future? by John Urry, loc 2554-2570: This car-based suburbanization is neither natural nor inevitable, and in the US partly stems from a ‘conspiracy’. Between 1927 and 1955, General Motors, Mack Manufacturing (trucks), Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, Firestone Tire & Rubber and Greyhound Lines conspired to […]

“I was being a complete asshole to people for nothing more than scoring points to look good inside an echo chamber”

A really fascinating discussion between Kristi Winters and The Wooly Bumblebee (HT Philip Moriarty). The latter’s experience could be seen as a model for de-radicalisation in the more toxic spaces within social media. An important reminder that platform incentives might encourage this behaviour but they don’t necessitate it. Furthermore, just because someone has come […]

The Polysemic University

From Making Sociology Public, by Lambros Fatsis, pg 240: Having already introduced Cardinal Newman’s ivory tower conception of the university, and Minister Humboldt’s equally idealistic depiction of it as a hub of culture and academic freedom, Barnett’s (2013) anthology of epithets, each of which furnishes 240 a different vision of […]

Fuck virality, I want my ideas to be radioactive

There’s a fascinating footnote in Radio Benjamin, loc 395-410, discussing Adorno’s description of Benjamin’s ideas as ‘radioactive’: The full sentence reads, “Everything which fell under the scrutiny of his words was transformed, as though it had become radioactive,” … Although Adorno’s metaphor uses a different register of boundary crossing, the […]

Defensive Elites

This New Yorker feature on Robert Mercer is a fascinating insight into what I’m come to think of as defensive elites: self-congratulatory yet paranoid billionaires who are prepared to use their wealth to stave off what they see as unwarranted social attack. The analysis offered by David Magerman, formerly a senior manager at […]