• The increasingly hierarchical character of academic social media in 2023

    I remember when it was possible to fill an event by just tweeting about it a few times from a highly visible account. It made organising events so easy and so much more fun as a result. Whereas now you need to share across countless social platforms and mailing lists. This is what happens when […]

  • Why do computational methods matter for education? Jan 18th at 4pm GMT

    In an infamous article from 2008 the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine argued that ‘big data’ made the scientific method obsolete. While hype about the data deluge has become more nuanced since then, it is undeniable that digital data has led to profound transformations in social scientific methodology. Disciplines and fields such as Data Science, Computational […]

  • Blog Maggot

  • ChatGPT’s limerick about Nietzsche’s depressiveness

    There once was a man named Nietzsche Whose thoughts were quite miserable and dreary He believed in no meaning Life was just a sickening So he spent all his time feeling teary Instigated by Steve Watson.

  • Going on Strike from the Internet: A Plea for Disconnection

    I spent the first two days of the recent strike disconnected from the internet. I unplugged my router and let my phone run out of battery before placing them both in a locked filing cabinet. I then put the key in the back of a cupboard for good measure, intending to put as much cognitive […]

  • The ladder of abstraction

    Over the last few years I’ve often found myself using the phrase ‘ladder of abstraction’ to describe my own movement from philosophy to social theory to qualitative sociology and on to education. It reflects two bifurcations in my experience which have bothered me intensely at different points in my career: the split between activism and […]

  • Ontological questions about the metaverse

    In preparation for the workshop I’m going to next week, I thought it would be useful to map out some of the ontological questions about the metaverse which I’ve been thinking about intermittently over the last year: More thoughts here: https://markcarrigan.net/2022/01/30/the-social-ontology-of-the-metaverse/

  • I am large, I contain multitudes

    Walt Whitman – Songs of Myself, 51 The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them. And proceed to fill my next fold of the future. Listener up there! what have you to confide to me? Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening, (Talk honestly, no one else hears you, […]

  • What is trauma?

    I’m currently reading a remarkable book by the physician Gabor Maté. In the Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing In A Toxic Culture he argues that trauma is ubiquitous within contemporary society; a reality which is obscured by the tendency to exceptionalize trauma as a categorical affliction of a subset of poor souls in […]

  • The romance of the ascent of the humanity

    It’s an idea he is being critical of but this is beautifully put by Roberto Unger in The Religion of the Future: Humanity rises. Its rise is not inevitable, not at least in the more guarded and realistic versions of the romance of ascent, but it is possible. (Auguste Comte and Karl Marx, two philosophers […]

  • John Stuart Mill on libidinal collapse: some thoughts on socialisation and human purpose

    I’ve intended for years to read the autobiography of the liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill. As an undergraduate philosophy student being introduced to utilitarianism, the lecturer briefly explained Mill’s peculiar biographical trajectory as an aside to explaining his mature philosophy. He was raised by his father James Mill, close collaborator of Jeremy Bentham, with the […]

  • The only thing that’s left to do is live

  • How to enjoy reading social theory

    I wrote recently about my route into theory after reflecting on why some people enjoy reading theory while others don’t. Taking inspiration from The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction I thought it would be worthwhile to share a little about how I navigate theoretical literature, some of which I’ve learned from others […]

  • Year’s End

    Now winter downs the dying of the year, And night is all a settlement of snow; From the soft street the rooms of houses show A gathered light, a shapen atmosphere, Like frozen-over lakes whose ice is thin And still allows some stirring down within. I’ve known the wind by water banks to shake The […]

  • The eye-on-the-object look

    I was delighted by this from Auden’s Horae Canonicae series. The ‘eye-on-object look’ in which we ‘ignore the appetitive goddesses’: You need not see what someone is doing to know if it is his vocation, you have only to watch his eyes: a cook mixing a sauce, a surgeon making a primary incision, a clerk […]

  • Why do some people enjoy social theory while others don’t?

    It occurred to me recently that I’ve been reading theory on a regular basis for over two decades now. I first encountered philosophy as an A Level Student in Religious Studies (post-secondary education aged 16-17) through Buddhist philosophy and Christian arguments for the existence of God. The first full work of philosophy I ever read […]

  • The pleasure of returning to novels

    I’ve spent the last month rereading most of Irvine Welsh’s novels. In the late summer I read Jonathan Franzen’s novels again, after his most recent book reminded me of my love for his work. I feel a vague sense of guilt when I read books again. In part it’s awareness that the constraints of the […]

  • Why we need a post-digital approach to the platform university

    One of the virtues of a postdigital approach to technology within higher education is that it helps us unpick two seemingly contradictory stances: marginalisation and the shock of the new. There is a tendency to see technology as a contingent part of the research process which is peripheral to its core operations. For example the […]

  • Choose life: some notes on Lacan’s death drive

    I found this lecture from the excellent Derek Hook extremely helpful for understanding how Lacan reconceived the classical Freudian sense of the death drive, which it should be noted was originally proposed by Sabina Spielrein. I’m interested in this topic for a number of reasons, not least of all the compulsive elements of digital agency […]

  • Next year’s going to be better than this

    I’d like to take this opportunity and toast to me For being exactly who I’m supposed to be ‘Cause life is gonna do what life does I don’t wanna look back and regret who I was Let go of the expectations and then fire one Forget the tally sheet before all my time’s up And […]