Category: Pre 2020 reading notes

My notes on Caplan, R., & Boyd, D. (2018). Isomorphism through algorithms: Institutional dependencies in the case of Facebook. Big Data & Society, 5(1), 2053951718757253. Are data-driven technologies leading organisations to take on shared characteristics? This is the fascinating question addressed in this paper by Robyn Caplan and danah boyd which they begin with the […]

My notes on Robinson, W. I. (2018). The next economic crisis: digital capitalism and global police state. Race & Class, 60(1), 77-92. This paper places digitalisation in historical context, framing the current boom in terms of the fallout from the 2008 crisis. We are seeing a restructuring grounded in digitalisation and militarisation which will aggravate the conditions […]

My notes on Lichterman, P (2017) On Social Theory Now: Communicating Theory Now. Perspectives 39(2) In this response to Social Theory Now, Paul Lichterman offers a compelling vision of social theory as sociology’s meta-conversation, with communicating theory being “to keep track of and facilitate that conversation, treating it as always in movement”. It is a sprawling conversation about […]

My notes on Pasquale, F. A. (2018). Tech Platforms and the Knowledge Problem. American Affairs, 2(2) The most philosophically important aspect of Hayek’s work was his epistemological objection to central planning. He argued that the market was indispensable because it permitted distributed knowledge of a sort which a centralised decision maker couldn’t possibly hope to reconstruct. In this […]

My notes on Strathern, M., & Latimer, J. (2019). A conversation. The Sociological Review, 67(2), 481–496. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026119832424 In this interesting conversation with Marilyn Strathern, who I had the pleasure to meet when Jana Bacevic organised a a masterclass with her at our department, Joanna Latimer explores the act of writing and the influence Strathern’s has had on […]

My notes on What image types do universities post online? Twitter has become a mainstream activity for universities in the UK and the US, with most institutions now having a presence. The platform has taken an image based turn over the last few years, since native photo sharing was introduced in 2011 and Twitpic et […]

My notes on Mirowski, P. (2018). The future (s) of open science. Social studies of science, 48(2), 171-203. In this provocative paper, Philip he takes issue with the “taken-for-granted premise that modern science is in crying need of top-to-bottom restructuring and reform” which underpins much of the open science movement, as well as its tendency to obscure the key question of […]

My notes on Liboiron, M., Tironi, M., & Calvillo, N. (2018). Toxic politics: Acting in a permanently polluted world. Social studies of science, 48(3), 331-349. The authors of this paper take “a permanently polluted world” as their starting point. It is one where toxicity is ubiquitous, even if unevenly distributed. Unfortunately, “[t]he tonnage, ubiquity and longevity of […]

My notes on Lawson, T. (2009). Cambridge social ontology: an interview with Tony Lawson. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 2(1), 100-122. Tony Lawson is a key figure in critical realism, leading the Cambridge Social Ontology group over twenty five years and playing a primary role in establishing the International Association for Critical Realism, as […]

My notes on Nash, K. (2018). Neo-liberalisation, universities and the values of bureaucracy. The Sociological Review, 0038026118754780. It is too easy to frame neoliberalism in institutions as an outcome rather than a project. In this thoughtful paper, Kate Nash explores the space which this recognition opens up, the “competing and contradictory values in the everyday life of public sector organisations” […]

My notes on this report by Google Transparency Project  There are many reasons to be cautious about the educational ambitions of tech firms. If these firms seem likely to be the dominant actors of the global economy over the coming decades, how will shape the influence they exercise over education. To offer the most concrete […]

My notes on Davies, W. (2017). Elites without hierarchies: Intermediaries,‘agency’and the super-rich. In Cities and the super-rich (pp. 19-38). Palgrave Macmillan, New York. Who are the super-rich, and what do they want? This is the question which a thought provoking paper by Will Davies begins with and it’s one which has preoccupied me in recent years. […]

My notes on Hudson, M. (2018). Ending technocracy with a neologism? Avivocracy as a conceptual tool. Technology in Society, 55, 136-139. What does it mean to call someone technocratic? In this intriguing paper, Marc Hudson observes that the term is “thrown about as a term of abuse, but without a clear alternative other than ritual(istic) invocations of […]

My notes on Hashemi, M. (2019). Bedouins of Silicon Valley: A neo-Khaldunian approach to sociology of technology. The Sociological Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038026118822823  This hugely original paper seeks to counteract what Morteza Hashemi sees as an excessive focus on technological development in accounts of Silicon Valley, looking beyond this macro-social (often Schumpeterian) approach to “the evolution of Silicon Valley […]

My notes on Al-Amoudi, I. (2018). Management and dehumanisation in Late Modernity. In Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina (pp. 182-194). Routledge. What does it mean to talk about work as dehumanising? In this insightful paper, Ismael Al-Amoudi identifies a number of senses in which management practices can be dehumanising: The “oppression or denial of human flourishing” such […]