Tag: acceleration

What’s the moral status of ‘thoughtlessness’? It can be invoked as a defence, used to claim that an action was less morally problematic because it expressed a lack of consideration rather than a deliberate intention. But as the wise Jim Gordon once pointed out, such actions can actually be worse in a way, reflecting a wilful […]

My experience of watching the literature on asexuality spiral from a handful of papers ever through to new ones each month has left me fascinated by how quickly ‘the literature’ can become unmanageable. Within a relatively small and nascent field, it’s possible to grasp ‘the literature’ as a totality. But past a certain point, circumscribing […]

Notes for my talk at the Accelerated Academy on Friday  I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how the social sciences are proving too slow in catching up to developments in digital technology. This means that engagements with new possibilities are often piecemeal and ad hoc, pushing the threshold of innovation in methods while methodological and theoretical discussion lags […]

In a recent book about the neoliberal superstar turned aspiring world saviour Jeffrey Sachs, a quote from his wife caught my attention. On loc 2909, she describes how Sachs only sleeps for four hours a night and works constantly throughout his waking hours. Even on a family holiday, he often gave two or three speeches a day […]

I love this passage by Paul Mason in the introduction to The Global Minotaur: Most politicians cannot be theorists. First, because they are rarely thinkers; second, because the frenetic lifestyle they impose on themselves leaves no time for big ideas. But most of all because to be a theorist you have to admit the possibility of […]

A really interesting suggestion from pg 169 of Arlie Hochschild’s Outsourced: Could it be, I wondered, that we are dividing the world into emotional types—order-barking, fast-paced entrepreneurs at the top, and emotionally attuned, human-paced mediators at the bottom? Talking one’s way past the protective layers of a top executive, teaching a child to tie her […]

Recording this for future use when Filip Vostal and I progress a bit further with our book: You will remember that earlier this year we surveyed all members to find out more about your concerns around workload intensification and working hours. The report and an executive summary are now available here. Thank you to the […]

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 174-175: The threat today is not passivity, but pseudo-activity, the urge to ‘be active’, to ‘participate’, to mask the Nothingness of what goes on. People intervene all the time, ‘do something’, while academics participate in meaningless ‘debates’, and so on, and the truly difficult thing is to step back, […]

Notes for a talk next week My concern in this short talk is not to diagnose the underlying conditions which generate an acceleration of social life, or indeed the various experiences which differently placed actors have of such acceleration. Instead, I’m interested in the novel and deeply reflexive cultural forms arising under these conditions, as what […]

From the Commencement address Steve Jobs gave on June 12, 2005: When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have […]

Good news! This week it was learnt that CWTS will play host to the second annual conference ‘The Accelerated Academy: Evaluation, Acceleration and Metrics in Academic Life’. Generously sponsored by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, the event will take place from 30th November to 2nd December 2016 in the beautiful city-centre of […]

From Refusal of Work by David Frayne, pg 70: Consider the extent to which the standard eight-hour working day fractures free-time into shards. The full-time worker experiences time as a rapid series of discrete pockets: a constantly rotating cycle of work periods and free periods, in which free-time is restricted to evenings, weekends and holidays. […]

A letter Filip Vostal and I have written to University Affairs in response to this interview: We read your recent interview with the authors of the recent book Slow Professor with interest. While we welcome the continued expansion of critical debate concerning academic labour, we nonetheless found much to be concerned with in the interview. […]

At various points in the last year, I’ve made the argument that acceleration can serve to “reduce the time available for reflexivity, ‘blotting out’ difficult questions in a way analogous to drink and drugs”. My point is that this is pleasurable: it’s something that people embrace because of the satisfactions they find in it, the thrill of moving […]

In recent papers Ruth Müller has offered what I think is the very important concept of anticipatory acceleration to make sense of how subjects, in this case post-doctoral researchers, wilfully participate in social acceleration. Drawing on the work of James Scott, she outlines an attitude of ‘disregard for the present’: The present figured not as important in and […]

After a year’s work, we’re pleasingly getting to the end of the first phase of the Accelerated Academy project. Here’s what we have to show for it: Keynote lectures and videos from the event An introductory reading list Podcasts from the conference Interviews with Maggie O’Neill and Roger Burrows Our first paper is still under review […]

In the Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz recounts his experiences of his company Loudcloud coming close to failure. At a climatic moment, he makes a speech to his staff declaring the commitment they will have to show over the coming months. From pg 48: “I have some bad news. We are getting our […]

From In The Plex pg 185: Sergey Brin even put a label on his cofounder’s frustration at the tendency of developers to load more and more features into programs, making them run way too slowly. Page’s Law , according to Brin, was the observation that every eighteen months, software becomes twice as slow. Google was […]

From Ann Oakley’s satirical novel Overheads. A remarkable rant from a professor who has just been discovered to have fabricated the vast majority of his publications list: The thing is, Lydia, few people realise how few books or articles are ever read by anybody. The average number of people who read an academic article is 4.6. […]

From The New Ruthless Economy, by Simon Head, loc 630-647. Taylor’s  experience of industrial resistance to his methods led him to replace this participatory aspect with an elaborate system of inspection and control: But perhaps the most important portant contribution of Japanese manufacturers to the theory and practice tice of scientific management has been to […]