Category: Things to think about

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, […]

When time pulls lives apart Hold your own When everything is fluid, and when nothing can be known with any certainty Hold your own Hold it ’til you feel it there As dark, and dense, and wet as earth As vast, and bright, and sweet as air When all there is Is knowing that you […]

The closing passage from Richard Seymour’s latest essay has been reverberating in my mind since I read it: Should we fail to posit the alternative, the constructive reworking of civilisation that is so urgently required, and that accommodates us to inhospitable nature, we do not get the boom years and centrist orthodoxy. We get harder […]

I just came across the idea of inhabited institutionalism and I find it extremely compelling. Here’s an overview from a paper by Tim Hallett and Emily Meanwell: Inhabited institutionalism is a nascent approach that creates a conversation between Chicago-style interactionism and the new institutionalism in organizational analysis. (Bechky 2011; Haedicke 2012; Hallett and Ventresca 2006). Inhabited […]

As often happens when I read older texts by Peter Sloterdijk, I’m struck by a sense of their enduring relevance compared to other thinkers who write in his register. In this extract from his Infinite Mobilisation (1997) he writes about the significance of those experiences when infrastructure struggles and we grind to a halt. What he […]

I loved this section from Žižek’s Hegel In A Wired Brain pg 43 about the importance of what we don’t (and can’t) say. It can certainly be a negative experience, a claustrophobic imminence in which we struggle to express something which we need to externalise into the world But the reality of the unarticulated/inarticulable is […]

This short piece by Keith Spencer is absolutely spot on. Exploring the contrasting visions which Bezos and Musk have of our interplanetary near-future would be a wonderful exercise in design fiction for someone who is a more talented writer than me. This is what makes Musk’s Mars vision so different than, say, the Apollo missions […]

This is such a helpful overview from the consistently excellent Protocol newsletter: As Facebook has gone from “social network for chatty college kids” to effectively powering a version of the internet with data centers and offices all over the world, the company’s begun to think a lot more about sustainability. Good for the world, good […]

I thought this was a fascinating aside in Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology pg 63. It captures something which the contemporary sense of stereotype as reductive/cliche tends to miss: the fact these categories are impervious to countervailing evidence and reproduce the same judgement in different circumstances: It first referred to a practice in the printing […]

This description of Tony Blair’s ambitions by Alastair Campbell invites a question I’ve often wondered about. What is ‘modernising zeal’? It’s such a loaded term but clearly so significant to understand centrists dispositions yet it’s rarely, if ever, defined: But he feared that unless the party adapted to the modern post-Cold War, post-Thatcherite world, it […]

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 […]

This passage from Keri Facer’s superb Learning Futures (pg 21) captures why I’m so interested in education. I wrote a PhD on what I called personal morphogenesis: how we become who we are and how personal changes are bound up in social changes. The reason I’ve moved into education is because I want to understand how […]

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 […]

In his final book Metamorphosis Ulrich Beck contrasts two forms of social integration. As he writes on pg 168-169: If one understands the communities of world cities in this sense as ‘cosmopolitan communities of global risk’, however, one must abandon the widespread assumption in the social sciences that community-building is possible only on the basis […]