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The epistemic privilege of platforms

What is the relationship between platforms and their users? I’ve been thinking about this all morning while reading The Know‑It‑Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball, by Noam Cohen. On loc 277 he writes: In fact, tech companies believe that through artificial intelligence tools they […]

The social struggle between collegiality and bureaucracy

The network scientist Emmanuel Lazega studies collegiality and bureaucracy as ideal typical forms of social organisation which co-exist in a fluctuating balance within organisations. Collegiality involves actors recognising each other as autonomous, existing in relationship to each other and necessitating consensus as a preliminary for what will always be non-routine […]

The dangerous fantasies of defensive elites

My fascination with the technological fantasies of billionaires might seem like a peculiarly nerdy version of a familiar preoccupation with the super rich. However as Yuval Noah Harari observes on loc 3304 of Homo Deus, the dreams of technological salvation which the rich and powerful invest themselves in have important […]

Trump and the ascent of the spiralists

In a recent article, Michael Burawoy warned about what he termed the spiralists. These are “people who spiral in from outside, develop signature projects and then hope to spiral upward and onward, leaving the university behind to spiral down”. While he was concerned with university leaders, I observed at the time […]

Post-Truth as Personal Incapacity

The evidence would suggest I’m not alone in being somewhat gripped by Michael Wolff’s new book Fire and Fury. One of the central themes of the book is how no one, including the candidate himself, expected Trump would win and what we have seen since then has been a rapid […]

CFP EASST2018: “Data Worlds? Public Imagination and Public Experimentation with Data Infrastructures”

# Data Worlds? Public Imagination and Public Experimentation with Data Infrastructures ## Convenors – Jonathan Gray (King’s College London) – Noortje Marres (University of Warwick) – Carolin Gerlitz (University of Siegen) – Tommaso Venturini (École Normale Supérieure Lyon) ## Short abstract How do data infrastructures distribute participation across society and […]

CfP: Social Theory in Information Systems Research

Call for Papers: AMCIS 2018 Minitrack: Social Theory in Information Systems Research (STIR ’18) Track: Social Inclusion (SIGSI)24th Americas Conference on Information Systems (AMCIS), Aug. 16-18, 2018 New Orleans, LA, USA This minitrack solicits papers using social theory to critically examine ICTs and their roles in enabling and constraining social […]

CfP: Articulating Voice

ICA Pre-Conference “ARTICULATING VOICE. THE EXPRESSIVITY AND PERFORMATIVITY OF MEDIA PRACTICES” Sponsored by the Philosophy, Theory and Critique (PTC) Division of the International Communication Association Event date: 24 May 2018, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Prague, Czech Republic Deadline for proposals: 10 January 2018 (300-500 words abstract) Location: Main Conference […]

The material interests of Big Tech

In recent years, we have seen a renewed focus on the political ideologies which are currently emerging within Silicon Valley. Such considerations are not new and contemporary accounts are influenced, implicitly and explicitly, by earlier notions such as the Californian ideology. But the dominant approach appears to be a cultural […]