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Conspiracy theories as assembly devices

In our forthcoming book The Public and their Platforms, myself and Lambros Fatsis write about assembly devices. When watching the superb HBO documentary Into The Storm about QAnon (trailer below) I was struck by Cullen Hoback’s description of Cicada 3301 in terms of “collecting like minded others through an internet game”.

The compulsive search for signs

I’ve just finished reading Robert Fine’s Being Stalked: A Memoir. It’s a thoughtful and self-therapeutic reflection by the late political theorist on his experience of being stalked by a former student in the 1990s. Throughout the book, I’ve felt an eery sense there are aspects of his diagnosis which touch upon the psychodynamics of platform capitalism and the epistemic chaos which it generates.

The malaise of modernity

I was delighted to discover that one of my all time favourite lectures has been uploaded to YouTube in its original form. The 1991 Tanner Lectures by Charles Taylor were the basis for his Ethics of Authenticity, in which he investigates those “features of our contemporary culture which people feel very very worried about even as they seem to flow from the development of our civilisation”.