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The Project Graveyard

I just went through my old wordpress.com sites and found a fascinating range of projects I’d forgotten about. In some cases, these were barely started or even immediately abandoned, reminding me of fleeting enthusiasms which soon dissipated. In other cases, they were projects that lived out their natural life course, only to eventually be forgotten in the graveyard of wordpress.com.

What’s gone wrong with social media in higher education and why we urgently need to fix it

Social media has gone from fringe to mainstream in higher education within the last decade. A culture has developed around it which shapes how it is used by academics and how that use is evaluated. However a range of problems are emerging which that culture is proving unable to address. I explore these problems and suggest how we could reorientate social media culture within universities and why this is necessary.

The case against lockdown

Following my post a couple of months ago about objections to the anti-lockdown case, I thought I would share/save this formulation of the case against lockdown from epidemiologist John Ioannidis published in May last year as part of a superb exchange in the Boston Review.

Hannah Arendt on Conspiracies

“At a time when full political information, necessarily worldwide ins cope, is available only to the professional, and when statesmen have found no other clue to world politics than the blind alley of imperialism, it is almost a matter of course for the others, who vaguely sense our worldwide interdependence but are unable to penetrate into the actual working of this universal relationship, to turn to the dramatically simple hypothesis of a global conspiracy and a secret worldwide organization.”

The death march into crisis

This is a typically astute piece from Richard Seymour on the intersection between social failure and environmental change generating the current crisis in Texas. He offers a disturbing analysis of the (attempted) creation of “mobilised political constituency that is ready, even morally energised, for quite a lot of death”

Popular Culture and Pandemic Imaginaries

It was clear that Songbird was a dreadful film, with atrocious script and terrible politics. However it was impossible to resist as a cultural expression of the ideas about society and the pandemic circulating in these febrile times. The story unfolds four years into a lockdown in America, as COVID-23 devastates the planet with a much higher fatality rate than the familiar virus from which it mutated:

Pragmatising Philosophy

I wrote this on my old blog in 2007 a month after moving into a Sociology department to complete a second masters degree rather than starting my planned Philosophy PhD. It’s strange to realise that my intellectual sensibility was fully formed almost 15 years ago and the progress I’ve made since then has largely been about working out the practical consequences of it for what I do with my life.