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This useful essay in the Hedgehog review links the contemporary flourishing of realism to the politics of ‘post-truth’, making a change from crass accusations that trump is the fault of postmodernism. While his focus is on speculative, critical and new realism, the point could be generalised to include new materialism, agential realism, ANT and assemblage […]

From John Thompson’s Media & Modernity pg 13: In some cases these positions acquire a certain stability by being institutionalized–that is, by becoming part of a relatively stable cluster of rules, resources and social relations. Institutions can be viewed as determinate sets of rules, resources and relations which have some degree of durability in time […]

From pg 163 of Material Participation by Noortje Marres: Among concepts of the community of the affected we could also include theories of affective politics developed in recent cultural theory (Thrift, 2008; Terranova, 2007; Blackman, 2008). Such ‘post-emotive’ conceptions of the public propose to understand the mobilization of publics in terms of the quick and […]

What does it mean to speak of a digital condition? How can we describe, explain and understand our digital condition? What is it, that we are trying to come to terms with? Where exactly does ‘the problem’ of technology lie? Beginning in October 2019 we will embark on an experimental discussion group centred around those […]

I found this interesting from pg 13-14 of Sonia Purnell’s immensely readable biography of Boris Johnson: Boris–or rather ‘Al’–would move house but he would do so a total of 32 times over the next 14 years. 8 As a whole, throughout his childhood he lived in five cities, five London boroughs, one Somerset village (in […]

This is how it works You’re young until you’re not You love until you don’t You try until you can’t You laugh until you cry You cry until you laugh And everyone must breathe Until their dying breath No, this is how it works You peer inside yourself You take the things you like And […]

To speak of the acceleration of social theory can sound counter intuitive, as we often regard theory as a quintessentially slow pursuit in which careful reflection leads to a gradual accumulation of insight. But there are a number of mundane senses in which theory is getting faster: There is likely to be more being published […]

Call for Papers for the Second Annual Conference: Capitalism, Social Science and the Platform University 28 – 29 November 2019 at Lancaster University Higher education is increasingly ‘platformised’. Indeed, digital platforms have become ubiquitous. They are dominant intermediaries not only in our social, economic and political life, but have become central forms of capitalist accumulation. While […]

The tendency for critical realists to get irritated when people talk about political/empirical ontology gets in the way of what has the potential to be a fascinating dialogue if constructed in an open and engaging manner. In my experience, critical realists treat this tradition as self-evidently absurd or simply insist “that’s epistemology, not ontology” without being […]

This section from Material Participation by Noortje Marres brought home the sociological significance of lifestyle experiments to me. I’d been prone to framing things like lifestyle minimalism as a form of neo-asceticism and I can easily see a more charitable framing along the lines of pg 91 here: They can be likened to the experimental […]

It’s difficult to be precise about how many academics use social media, as it depends on what is meant by ‘use’ and ‘social media’. For example how do we draw a consistent boundary between personal and professional use when social media tends to complicate this distinction in all manner of ways? Furthermore what counts as […]

“Books and drafts mean something quite different for different thinkers. One collects in a book the lights he was able to steal and carry home swiftly out of the rays of some insight that suddenly dawned on him, while another thinker offers us nothing but shadows – images in black and grey of what had […]

I’m a little wary of the causation here but it’s a provocative claim. Perhaps it does constitute an INUS condition, as J.L. Mackie put it, with the oil price spike igniting a precarious system which could have gone up in flames for other reasons. From Societies beyond Oil, by John Urry, pg 34-35: But this […]

Sleep on pillows made in Singapore. Wrapped in comforters, sweating through sheets. Drink your coffee in the morning, flown in on airplanes across vast seas. And your house is made of wood, central air, central heat. You’ve got your furniture of particle board. Your doors are locked for, for safety. And you walk in leather […]

This looks really interesting: You are invited to participate in the Neurodiversity Reading Group that will run monthly in London (UK) in the academic year 2019-20. The first meeting will take place on Friday 19 July 2019, 3-5pm, at London South Bank University (Room K503, Keyworth Centre). During the summer (2019), the meetings will take […]