Category: The Platform University

From 25 Years of Ed Tech by Martin Weller pg 169: There is in much of ed tech a growing divide, particularly in evidence at conferences. One camp is largely uncritical, seeing ed tech as a sort of Silicon Valley-inspired, technological utopia that will cure all of education’s problems. This is often a reflection-free zone, […]

For a number of years I’ve believed we urgently need a conversation about social media governance within higher education. This is a general term for a range of mundane issues which emerge from the use of social media by those within the university (academics, students, support staff, managers etc) in ways which are likely to […]

Scott Lash interviewed by Nicholas Gane in the Future of Social Theory pg 105. I found this thought provoking in terms of its linking of the transcendent with the book form (the slow, careful, considered attempt to get outside of the issue) and the imminent with more feral forms of intervention outside the established repertoires […]

This short piece by Norman Solomon about the wealth of NYT columnist Thomas Friedman captures something I’ve often felt about the sociological value of what might otherwise be framed as lurid curiosity about the lives of the rich and powerful. For example I’ve been interested for a long time in the personal biography of Anthony […]

This extract from Carlos Slim by Diego Osorno left me wondering how many private symposia are organised each year, for the edification of high level managers or the amusement of the rich. There are scholarship programs and think tanks organised by the ultra-rich which have senior academics as their directors. For example Nigel Thrift left […]

This passage from Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me (pg 108) resonated horribly with me at a time when universities are freezing their recruitment: There were a lot like me in the neighbourhood, but thirty or forty years older. I had seen them in Simon’s shop, reaching for the quality journals from the top shelf. I […]

I’m not searching for self-plagiarism but I increasingly spot it when reading. It’s a vague itch of “I’ve read this before” and the search facilities of digital books (Google Books, Kindle etc) makes it easier than ever to confirm. I noticed recently that a paragraph of Zizek’s recent Russia Today pieces on Covid-19 (which one […]

I can’t help but relate this proliferation (in my view fragmentation) within the humanities to the discursive phenomena of turns. Much as we turn when we’re unsure where we’re going, I’m intuitively sceptical that what Rosi Braidotti describes on pg 100-102 of PostHuman Knowledge is a sign of the humanities being in good health: The discursive […]

This extract from Xavier de la Porte’s The Imposter: BHL in Wonderland loc 1946 captured something important about intellectual culture in late neoliberalism: the essay sits in between specialised writing and the popular press, in spite of the tendency of essayists to elevate it above everything else: At the same time a structural evolution was taking […]

This extract from Xavier de la Porte’s The Imposter: BHL in Wonderland reproduces a conference opening given by Derrida in which he drew attention to the new generation of philosophers who were being put forward as a consequence of the ‘techno-politics of telecommunications’. From loc 1809 of their book: There lies, in the techno-politics of telecommunications, […]

This description of life within the publishing industry, from Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley loc 133, struck a chord with me: Every assistant I knew quietly relied on a secondary source of income: copyediting, bartending, waitressing, generous relatives. These cash flows were rarely disclosed to anyone but each other. It was an indignity to talk about […]

found this quote from Craig Elder, a former senior Conservative comms strategist, fascinating as an account of how ‘the internet’ has ceased to be a siloed technological function and instead become something integrated into the existing communications functions of the party. It’s from Andrew Pickering’s The Hybrid Media System pg 225: Basically the internet used […]

This interesting observation from Robin Sloan (HT The Convivial Society) left me thinking about the duration of projects: For my part, re: craft and theory, I think giving a newsletter some temporal boundaries can be healthy and (weirdly?) productive. Start it up, but decide ahead of time when it will end, and call that a […]

From Andrew Chadwick’s The Hybrid Media System pg 101: Political information cycles rest upon a subtle political economy of time. This involves not only the often-rehearsed “speeding up” or “efficiency” of communication but also the importance of continuous attention and the ability to create and to act on information in a timely manner. Those who […]

It’s going to be a while before I feel capable of writing something about this disaster of an election but I’m saving this thread by Guardian media editor Jim Waterson to come back to because it raises an extremely interesting point: to what extent can what many perceived as intentional bias on the part of […]

I thought this was a crucial observation by Andrew Chadwick about the tendency to conflate ‘online’ with ‘grassroots’. It’s from pg 67 of this The Hybrid Media System. It lingers on in the platform imaginary in a way reinforced by the tendency to conflate the demotic and the democratic: One problem with the “convergence culture” […]

From Rana Foroohar’s Don’t Be Evil pg 81: Jawbone had to turn to the Kuwait Investment Authority for cash just to stay afloat, never a good sign, given that sovereign wealth funds are not exactly the smart money in Silicon Valley. 20 They tend to come in big but late, offering loads of cash when […]