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One of the clearest themes in Wendy Liu’s Abolish Silicon Valley is the disturbing embrace of work and her attempts to move beyond it. Much of the book is a memoir of her own experience entering the tech world as co-founder of a startup, what this lifestyle entailed for her and the meanings she has […]

From today’s Protocol newsletter: President Trump’s (otherwise relatively boring) interview last week with Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy brought a somewhat unprecedented look into how @realdonaldtrump thinks about Twitter. Here are a few excerpts: On what happens to the account when he leaves office: “Well it’s mine, and I don’t know that I’ll ever use it again, but […]

Organised by Mark Carrigan and Susan Robertson  In a matter of months, the world has changed beyond recognition. Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented reorganisation of everyday life, with half the world’s population subject to lockdown measures at the peak of governmental response to the pandemic. These measures are being eased across the world, with […]

It would be hard to imagine two thinkers with seemingly less in common than Margaret Archer and Slavoj Žižek. However one of the reasons I enjoy the latter’s work, in spite of my many reservations about him, relates to the status of reflexivity within their work. In spite of their different terminology, emphasis and interests I believe […]

I’m reading Jeffrey Alexander’s massive The Civil Sphere in the final stages of my project with Lambros Fatsis on public sociology. The reviewers suggested we need to expand our concept of publicness to take account of the notion of civil sphere, defined by Alexander on pg 3 as “a world of values and institutions that generates the […]

I’m greatly enjoying Christopher Kelty’s recent book The Participant which is an enormously creative reflection on participation from a philosophical and anthropological perspective. What endears me to it so much is it clear sense of the ontology of participation which it sustains without remaining stuck at the level of ontology. He treats participation as: A concept A […]

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 […]

There’s a short aside in Against The Web by Michael Brooks which identifies something which I’ve often reflected on. For all their terrible characteristics figures like Jordan Peterson are serving an existential need which the left ought to understand. From pg 50: Like everyone else, young white men are trying to muddle through life in […]

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 […]

It’s been at least seven years since I last worked on asexuality but I inevitably encounter the topic on a regular basis. I was a bit surprised to find it in Slavoj Žižek’s recent book Hegel in a Wired Brain, in spite of his penchant for god awful writing about trans issues in recent years. This […]

This is a powerful statement by Ulises Ali Mejias and Nick Couldry on pg 22 of their data colonialism. I’m not entirely convinced by the book but I think they’re certainly correct to see a radical horizon of (digitalised) social order having opened up in the last decade: Two possibilities result that, before digital connection, […]

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 […]

We would like to alert subscribers to the roll out of an ongoing series of discussions hosted by the British Sociological Association’s Digital Sociology Study Group.  Starting from July 15th 2020, The Digital Sociology Study Group will be hosting monthly discussions, workshops, and book launches with academics, researchers, authors, practitioners, and activists exploring a range […]