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Much of the commentary on the possibility of post-Trump Trumpism has tended to focus on the possibility of a much more competent populist emerging to lead this movement i.e. one who is disciplined, strategic and serious in contrast to the impulsive and instinctive character of the outgoing president. However this passage from Zizek’s Pandemic 2! […]

While I’m on the subject of Slavoj Žižek, I thought it was worth recording how sections of his Pandemic! 2 reproduce his Hegel in a Wired Brain (oddly combining acknowledgments he is ‘drawing’ on that book while straight forwardly copying & pasting at least one paragraph). But most of the book is seemingly reproducing posts […]

I was interested to see that Žižek’s bio statement has changed on his latest book. He’s no longer framed as the ‘Elvis of cultural theory’ (a designation I’m struggling to find a source for) but rather as a contrarian of the sort personified by Christopher Hitchens: Slavoj Žižek is one of the most prolific and […]

There are lots of criticisms which can be made about Modern Family, as a distinctly old fashioned show dressed up in a superficial liberal progressivism. It’s nonetheless been a guilty pleasure of mine and I’ve been rewatching it during this grim coronic winter. There’s one aspect which stood out to me during this time which […]

From Slavoj Zizek’s PANDEMIC! 2 loc 575: Physical distancing as a defense against the threat of contagion has led to intensified social connectivity—not only within quarantined families but outside of them (mostly through digital media)—and outbursts of physical closeness (raves, partying, etc.) have erupted in reaction to both: the message of the rave is not […]

One thing I’ve been gradually noticing since I joined an education department a few years ago is how influential posthumanism is within education vis-a-vis other theoretical perspectives. I wouldn’t suggest this is anything other than an impressionistic judgement, based on the journals I choose to look at and the topics which stand out to me, […]

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear” ― Antonio Gramsci This quote from Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks has been a mainstay of social commentary grappling with the longer term implications of the financial crisis of […]

I’ve always been slightly sceptical of the concept of the post-digital. Firstly, it seems to defeat its own deflationary ambitions by defining itself in epochal terms. I’m not convinced it can help us overcome hyperbole about ‘the digital’ if it’s implied that we’ve entered a new era predicated on this moving into the past. I […]

I’ve been preoccupied by a phrase used by Anand Giridharadas in his most recent newsletter. As he puts it, some people are clearly “wanting to be left alone by history for a little while”. It points to the hyper-mobilisation which characterises contemporary society, as well as the exhaustion which can follow from this. As Trotsky […]

I’m digital sociologist based in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge, where I lead activities within the Culture, Politics and Global Justice Cluster and work as an embedded researcher within the Digital Learning Working Group. I direct the Post-Pandemic University project which is an international network comprising an online magazine, podcast hub […]

In this podcast, we talk to Phillip Brooker about Programming as Social Science. This approach to social inquiry involves using programming as a toolkit for social research, facilitating a style of inquiry above and beyond particular research methods. At a time when we’re dependent upon digital platforms for the core operations of the university, with […]

I thought this was a really interesting analysis which captures a split in my own musical tastes, as an interest in provocative music co-exists uneasily with a desire for collective experience through live music: Afro-American music is still cherished for its tragic yet affirmative sense of life. But it got shoved aside in the late […]

The first is The Public and Their Platforms co-authored with Lambros Fatsis. It’s a rethinking of the public sociology debate from the ground up, built around the critical realist sociology of platforms I’ve been developing over the last few years. This was so hard to finish but I’m really enthusiastic to see what people make […]

I thought this was great from Jean Burgess and Nacy Baym’s new book on Twitter. On pg 15 they take issue with the view of platforms as “a single ‘technology’—a static object that can be cast as a causal agent of societal change” arguing that “A closer look reveals a more emergent, dynamic truth, one […]