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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 […]

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 […]

Proposal for a Concept Lab

The Concept Lab would meet on a weekly basis, usually for an hour unless there was logistical business to be undertaken concerning the future of the lab. Each meeting would revolve around a presentation from one member, detailing either: A practical problem they have faced in their research, as well […]

Social ontology and the challenge of suitcase words

This is a wonderful expression I just picked up from Machine, Platform, Crowd by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson. As they describe on pg 112-113, suitcase words jumble together multiple meanings in a way which renders questions more obscure than they would otherwise be: Is generative-design software really “creative?” It’s a […]

CfP: Digital transformation of social theory

Call for papers to a special issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change [SSCI 3.226, Scopus, CNRS***, ABS***, VHB***]. Guest editors Steffen Roth, La Rochelle Business School and Yerevan State University Harry F. Dahms, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Frank Welz, University of Innsbruck Sandro Cattacin, University of Geneva There once was a time when leaders could both […]

A renewed engagement with the past could be a powerful means through which the critical tradition in British sociology could fortify itself for a difficult future

In his magisterial A Secular Age, Charles Taylor introduces the notion of ‘subtraction stories’ to describe our dominant narratives of secularisation. This narrative structure is crucial to teleological thought, explaining our current situation in terms which preclude any backwards movement. As he explains on pg 22, Concisely put, I mean by […]

In defence of the individual

The individual is an unpopular category within contemporary social thought. To be concerned with the individual is taken to imply individualism, something which falls outside the range of acceptability for the cultural politics prevalent within British sociology. This is amplified by an intellectual impulse to transcend the individual as a […]

The fox’s way of being-in-the-world

A line amongst fragments of the Greek poet Archilochus says ‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing‘. This was the inspiration for Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay on the hedgehog and the fox. Berlin takes these words figuratively to illustrate a divide between two styles of […]

Erving Goffman: the rag-and-bone man of Sociology

There’s a wonderful essay by the playwright Alan Bennet in the London Review of Books, written 35+ years ago, reflecting on his fascination with Erving Goffman’s micro-sociology. His preoccupation was with the minutiae of everyday conduct, identified and described so astutely in Goffman’s work. Sociological observations in this register highlight our commonality, helping […]

The acceleration of social theory

There’s a section in this 1997 chapter by Roger Burrows which my thoughts have been intermittently turning to since reading it last week. On pg 235 he writes: It is not just technology which appears to be accelerating towards meltdown, so are our cultural and sociological understandings of the world. […]