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The ontological preconditions for radical digital citizenship

The thrust of the argument was that if social science exists within the horizons of platform firms (i.e. it restricts itself to asking empirical questions which can be answered by platform generated data) then it can’t take platform capitalism as an object, instead leading it to fade into the background as a precondition for analysis. My point was largely about the empiricism of data science and (much) computational social science.

Conspiracy theories as assembly devices

In our forthcoming book The Public and their Platforms, myself and Lambros Fatsis write about assembly devices. When watching the superb HBO documentary Into The Storm about QAnon (trailer below) I was struck by Cullen Hoback’s description of Cicada 3301 in terms of “collecting like minded others through an internet game”.

The compulsive search for signs

I’ve just finished reading Robert Fine’s Being Stalked: A Memoir. It’s a thoughtful and self-therapeutic reflection by the late political theorist on his experience of being stalked by a former student in the 1990s. Throughout the book, I’ve felt an eery sense there are aspects of his diagnosis which touch upon the psychodynamics of platform capitalism and the epistemic chaos which it generates.

The malaise of modernity

I was delighted to discover that one of my all time favourite lectures has been uploaded to YouTube in its original form. The 1991 Tanner Lectures by Charles Taylor were the basis for his Ethics of Authenticity, in which he investigates those “features of our contemporary culture which people feel very very worried about even as they seem to flow from the development of our civilisation”.

The pedagogical principles of the Python bootcamp

Phil Brooker and I recently completed our second NCRM funded Python for Social Scientists bootcamp. For obvious reasons we switched from a four day intensive face-to-face bootcamp to a five week cross-platform (Slack, Wordpress, YouTube and e-mail) model for the second bootcamp. We reflected on this in a session for the Faculty of Education’s Ideas Lab on Thursday and a colleague suggested it might be a valuable exercise to distill some of the pedagogical principles underlying the project.

A Song of Goodbye, by Ian McMillan

Farewell, Hand on Bollocks, Farewell, Basil Brush, Farewell, Seaside Drunk and Sea Cow You’re silent and weeping under history’s crush Your name’s your memorial now See you, German Helmet, So long, Tanked Up Ted, Goodbye, Sausage Stuffer and God Your names resonate through the roads of my head The names […]

The Somatechnics of Research

I thought this was an intriguing call for papers: Guest edited by Dennis Bruining, Holly Randell-Moon, and Saartje TackThis special issue /Somatechnics: Journal of Bodies – Technologies –Power /invites contributions that critically examine how researchmethods, methodologies, theories, practices and institutions constitutesomatechnics. Somatechnics here is understood broadly as an approach thebody/ […]