Since I keep forgetting which films I’ve seen, here’s a list for my own purposes, starting in late July  2018:

  1. Hotel Artemis
  2. Generation Wealth
  3. Annihilation
  4. Under the Tree
  5. Ant Man and the Wasp
  6. The Escape
  7. The Heiresses
  8. Mad to be Normal
  9. Moneyball
  10. BlackKklansman
  11. Apostasy
  12. Cold War
  13. Searching
  14. American Animals
  15. A Simple Favour
  16. The Big Lebowski
  17. The Wife
  18. Harlan County, USA
  19. Venom
  20. Tehran Taboo
  21. The Godfather
  22. Bad Times at the El Royale
  23. A Star is Born
  24. Dogman
  25. The Hate U Give
  26. All the President’s Men
  27. The Waldheim Waltz
  28. The Marriage
  29. Nancy
  30. More Human Than Human
  31. Border
  32. You Go To My Head
  33. Peterloo
  34. Widows
  35. The Other Side of Everything
  36. This is Home: A Refugee Story

A list of the books I’ve finished since August 20th 2018, replacing my older blog posts. I’m increasingly using these lists as a way to jog my memory and the fragmented blog posts aren’t very useful for that.

  1. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class And How They Got There by David Brooks
  2. Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Advertising Industry by Ken Auletta
  3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  4. The Ideas Industry: How Pessimists, Partisans, and Plutocrats are Transforming the Marketplace of Ideas by Daniel Drezner
  5. Amsterdam by Ian McEwan
  6. Seduction: Men, Masculinity and Mediated Intimacy by Rachel O’Neill
  7. The Road by Cormack McCarthy
  8. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway
  9. Fear: Trump in the Whitehouse by Bob Woodward
  10. Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over The World by Will Davies
  11. Crudo: A Novel by Olivia Laing
  12. The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
  13. Uneasy Street: The Anxieties of Affluence by Rachel Sherman
  14. Left Hemisphere: Mapping Contemporary Theory by Razmig Keucheyan

This one-day event intends to raise awareness of the Foundations of British Sociology archive maintained by Keele University. This remarkable resource collects a diverse array of materials from the 1880s to the 1950s, gifted to the university when the Institute of Sociology was dissolved in 1955.

‘Members of the societies founded The Sociological Review, contributed to early University teaching of Sociology, published many books and papers and collected survey material from the UK and Europe. The archive comprises personal papers, business records, newspaper cuttings, lectures, reports, plans, surveys, lantern slides and an extensive collection of books from the LePlay House Library. It includes material relating to key activists and opinion-shapers such as Victor Branford, Francis Galton, Patrick Geddes, H. G. Wells, Lewis Mumford and Alexander Farquharson on themes such as the responsibilities of the state and the citizen, planning urban development, the position of women, the role of technical education, local government reform, regionalism, the co-operative movement, rural society and the family. Researchers will find valuable materials on the origins of modern British sociology, and related social sciences such as social psychology, cultural geography, town planning and demography’ (Source, Keele University).

We look forward to welcoming delegates to Keele University where they will have a chance to explore this rich resource and discuss the enduring cultural, historical and evidentiary value of this archive for British Sociology.

Confirmed Speakers:

David Amigoni (Keele University), Helen Burton (Keele University), Gordon Fyfe (Keele University), Rachel Hurdley (Cardiff University), Rebecca Leach (Keele University), Chantelle Lewis (Goldsmiths).

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Application to Attend

TSRF have 20 places available to attend this workshop. As places are limited they will be allocated through a competitive application process. Applications will close 17th August, 17.00 BST. Decisions will be communicated early September 2018.

The application form can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1r8RhiHsBI-vR4s-XHgxpJA28pD08Sos1MHsejdUT724/edit

Applications will be peer reviewed by Sociological Review editorial board members. Consideration will be given to research interests as related to the event, as well as distribution of career trajectory and institutions.

This event is free and lunch and refreshments will be provided. Places are limited and allocated via the application process. There are also a number of bursaries available for unfunded PGRs and ECRs.

*Please note, TSRF will not accept late applications under any circumstances.

Room Location and Accessibility Information

The event will take place in the Campus Library Training Room located on the top floor of Keele University library, Keele, Staffordshire ST5 5BG

Visitors can report to the Library counter on arrival and staff will direct you to the room. The main entrance to the Library is on the second floor, up an external staircase. The accessible entrance is on ground level. Non Keele card holders should press the intercom and a Library porter will give assistance. The library has an accessible lift to all three floors of the Library and the training room is wheelchair accessible.

All toilets, including the wheelchair accessible toilet, are on the ground floor.

For more details on accessibility to the library, please see here https://www.disabledgo.com/access-guide/keele-university/library-and-information-services-building

There are a number of disabled parking bays in front of the Library. If these aren’t available, any other space outside or near the Library can be used as long as a valid badge is displayed. A campus map and guide can be found here: https://www.keele.ac.uk/connect/howtofindus/maps/keele-campus-guide-colour.pdf

Bursaries

We have a limited number of bursaries for this workshop – including childcare bursaries. You can apply for a bursary if you meet TSRF criteria for funding. I.e. (1) unfunded postgraduate research students, (2) Early Career Researchers (ECR) within 3 years of completion of PhD and not in receipt of a full-time wage, and (3) others on the grounds of need (e.g. those in casual employment and not in receipt of a full-time wage).

Travel bursaries are limited at £100.00, childcare bursaries are limited to £50.00 per day of the event and day before if needing to travel and stay overnight. Accommodation will be organised by TSRF.

Please note, that if you have been awarded a place at The Sociological Review’s ECR writing retreat this year (2018) or a full bursary (travel and accommodation) at the Undisciplining conference or the ECR day, then you are not eligible to apply for event bursaries until next year (2019).

Contact Details

For academic enquiries related to this workshop, please contact Mark Carrigan: mark@markcarrigan.net

For enquiries related to applications, please contact Jenny Thatcher

From loc 1171-1189 of Frenemies, Ken Auletta’s new book about the declining fortunes of the advertising industry:

Then as vice chair heading Business Innovations, Comstock became the company’s chief futurist, attending digital confabs, planting herself in Silicon Valley, scouting and making it her business to know cutting-edge agencies and entrepreneurs, seeking out partners for unusual ways to market. A marketing challenge for GE, enunciated at every monthly marketing meeting chaired by CMO Linda Boff, with their agencies in attendance, is to shift the brand ID of GE from an old industrial to a cool digital company. Cool digital companies are more attractive to Wall Street because they are perceived as growth stocks, and are seen as welcoming to the young engineers that shape digital companies. A way to advance this goal was for GE to establish under the auspices of the CMO a four-person office, the Disruption Lab, directed by Sam Olstein, thirty-three, who comes to work with his hair spiked and wearing jeans and sneakers. His foremost task, he says, is to “have a good perspective of trends and technology; of where we see activity of new start-ups forming around, say, messaging, around content creation.” He says they search “for what people think is cool and interesting and primed for growth.” He scans Apple’s App Store to check on new apps that break into the top 100. Encouraged by Comstock and Boff, he pushed, he says, to make GE “a publisher, a content creator. What our brand represents is science and technology and the awe around science and technology, and that’s a very focused perspective. It’s the same focused perspective that HBO has, that Discovery channels have, that the Walt Disney Company has. We want to build a platform with the reach of any other media and entertainment platform out there.” It need not be branded like Disney, but he believes GE can create content and distribute it over its own Web site, over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, National Geographic channels, or online publications like Slate.

I’m writing these notes for the Imagine 2027 project which has a relatively specific remit. Not all of these points will be uniformly valid and there are some things I don’t cover (e.g. the consent of speakers) but I’m sharing them here in case people find them useful:

  1. Begin the live tweeting by introducing the speaker, with a photo and tagging them on Twitter if applicable, using the hashtag e.g. “Full room for tonight’s #imagine2027 with @speaker, talking on how we can have a more equal society by 2027”.
  2. If the speaker is on Twitter, try and tag them as you live tweet but be careful not to start a tweet with their twitter handle. This has to be in main body of the tweet rather than at the start to ensure the message is visible to the full list of followers.
  3. Try and convey the gist of the speaker’s argument rather than capturing every detail of what they’re saying.
  4. Listen out for powerful phrases the speaker uses and tweet these as quotes e.g. “Important message from @speaker at #imagine2027: “powerful phrases they used”.
  5. If they ask any thought-provoking questions then be sure to tweet these out e.g. “What does ‘equality’ mean? Important question by @speaker at tonight’s #imagine2027”
  6. Look through the hashtag #imagine2027 and retweet audience members throughout the talk.
  7. Don’t quote particular audience members when it comes to the Q&A but it’s fine to summarise the topics which are coming up in questions.
  8. Close the session with a tweet thanking the speaker and the audience.

Call for papers to a special issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change [SSCI 3.226, Scopus, CNRS***, ABS***, VHB***].

Guest editors

Steffen Roth, La Rochelle Business School and Yerevan State University
Harry F. Dahms, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Frank Welz, University of Innsbruck
Sandro Cattacin, University of Geneva


There once was a time when leaders could both appreciate books and govern empires without knowing how to read and write (Dutton, 2016; Pascal, 1970). Today’s thought leaders are in a very similar situation. Though hardly ever away from keyboard, we scholars in general and social theorists in particular relate to the dominant media of the 21st century as if we still lived in the Gutenberg Galaxy (McLuhan, 1962), as exemplified in the prevailing use of computers and Internet mainly to write books and articles to store and search for in online libraries. The situation is even more remarkable in that we not only continue to treat the new media like traditional media, but also produce more and more traditional media on the new media. Today, there are publications on the digital transformation of almost everything. Human identity (Nagy & Koles, 2014) is being transformed digitally, along with more mundane aspects of social life such as work (Stone, 2004), production (Potstada et al., 2016), or healthcare (Agarwal et al., 2010); and then again time and space (Berthon et al., 2000), and thus even the globe (Heylighen & Lenartowicz, 2016) and all of our everyday life (Wajcman, 2008); apparently, not even the traditional media (Coyle, 2006; Roth et al., 2017) can escape the digital transformation.

In such a context of inescapable digital transformation, our professional insistence on oral and written language remains consistent as long as we have reason to believe that these traditional media remain dominant even in the new media age (Turkle, 2016). The less committed we are to this belief, however, the clearer it becomes that books and articles on the digital transformation systematically fail to “walk their own talk”. Digital copies of printed theories do not constitute digital theories, just as literature does not constitute mere transliterations of oral speech. Even if smart attempts to tie programming languages back to the traditional forms occasionally result in the discovery of new genres such as code poetry (for an example, see Bertran, 2012), to most of us even these literalised forms of computer language remain as inaccessible the Bible once was to the majority of the medieval populations. Thus, of all people, we scholars also belong to the illiterate farmers of the information age today, as we harvest our research fields at computer-mediated conferences and virtually augment our stocks of books and papers. The heirs of the medieval monks, our profession of bookworms and elaborate natural language processors itself grew dependent on trust in and reliant on spiritual guidance from a community of cybermonks who shape and administer the increasingly omnipresent knowledge architectures of the future.

Early attempts to alter this situation and to develop at least a prototype of a digitally transformed social theory include social systems theory. As is well known, Niklas Luhmann (1995, 2012, 2013) built his social theory – as much as his theory of society – on the formal language of George Spencer-Brown (1979), and a recently discovered 1961 prototype of the Laws of Forms leaves no doubt that Spencer-Brown developed his laws as elegant solutions to problems in electronic engineering (Roth, 2017). Thus, Luhmann’s social systems theory does not only theorise the digital transformation of society, but also presents an example of a theory whose architecture at least in parts is coded in a digital language. Yet, Luhmann’s digital transformation of theory has remained both superficial and largely unparalleled in the in the wider social theory community.

The digital transformation of punditry (McNair & Flew, 2017) remains an unresolved issue of social theory, which is critical in the light of the rapid digital transformation of social research methodologies and corresponding discussions on an end of theory (Anderson, 2008; Boyd & Crawford, 2012; Kitchin, 2014). In such a context, the secret hope that traditional print and pencil theories will survive the digital transformation, and at best require occasional rewrites and resubmissions, constitutes a considerable risk which we will not manage just by publishing yet another golden open access online-first version of a moderated interaction of two or more preferably established social theorists. Rather, what is at stake is how we not only (re-) activate literature and literati to trace and study footprints of the digital media, but also unfold post-literary social theory programmes within these digital media themselves.

In the light of the above, this special issue does not invite social theories of the digital transformation, but instead attempts at digital transformations of social theory. Manuscripts and other modes of presenting arguments and analyses that are cognizant with the above-mentioned systematic failure to “walk their own talk” are welcome, especially if they promise to illuminate general and/or specific aspects of the digital transformation of social theories, addressing questions and memes of the following non-exclusive type:

  • Digital theoretical languages: What are suitable programming languages for a digital transformation of social theory? Are there particularly promising constellations of natural and formal languages in general or programming languages in particular?
  • Theory debugging: How might debuggers or similar programmes be used to test and fix existing or even facilitate the development of new social theory programmes?
  • Critical updates: What are the most critical updates to be installed on the social theory platforms of the 21st century?
  • Digital detox: Since we do not randomly produce digital copies of analogue content, digital transformation involves an option to jettison the obsolete among the analogue concepts. Which concepts should be confined to literature? Are there any that systematically resits their digital transformation? Are there any that are indispensable for digital theorising?
  • Game over or next level: Toward a computer-gamification of social theory?
  • Communication from elsewhere: Social theory between fashionable nonsense and algorithmic authorship.
  • Old wires in new bottlenecks: What if we took the classical theorists and just threw them in at the deep end of the Internet age to observe what would ensue? (see, e.g. for Karl Marx: Fuchs, 2017)
  • Training the under-/dogs: From social theory programming to double-contingent human-computer interaction (Tanz, 2016).
  • Humanism versus transhumanism: Who or what are the agents in and of a digitally transformed society? Is there a place of agency in such a society at all?
  • Hacking: Is there such thing as theory hacking? What could social theorists in general and critical theorists in particular learn from hackers? For example, what options are there to move beyond brute force attacks on established theory programmes and platforms #problematization; or, how can we imagine phishing for complements for traditional social theories?
  • Empire strikes back: How do, or could, social theories change the trajectory of digital transformation? To what extent is social theory already part or even driver of the digital transformation?
  • Anticipated flashbacks: What might future generations of social theorists think of our traditional or transitory forms of pre- or proto-digital theorising?
  • Anachronisms of digital transformation: Digital transformation as narrative, myth, or any other traditional form of communication.

This call for papers is linked to the Management Theory and Social Theory Track T12_03 at the EURAM 2018 conference in Reykjavik and the Sub-theme 31: Management and Organisation Theory: A game at the EGOS 2018 meeting in Tallinn. Presentation at the conference tracks or sub-theme will not guarantee acceptance of a manuscript for publication in Technological Forecasting and Social Change; and, conversely, attending the tracks or sub-theme by no means is a precondition for acceptance of a manuscripts for the special issue.

Please do not hesitate to email to roths@esc-larochelle.fr or steffen.roth@ysu.am for informal enquiries on the special issue.

The full CFP including details on submission period and procedure will be available on the TFSC journal website soon.

How does what we eat shape how we are seen? Cultural sociologists have long accepted the role which culinary consumption plays in reproducing status hierarchies. However the meal of breakfast and the role of devices have been conspicuously absent from these debates, leaving us with a misleading view of how people eat and the social meanings assigned to it.

This conference takes the toaster as a case study, examining the characteristics of these devices through a sociological lens. What do recent features like carcinogenic-negation and nuclear-power tell us about the meal of breakfast and the meaning ascribed to it in late capitalism? Bringing together leading cultural sociologists from around the world, it promises a transformed understanding of culinary consumption liable to influence practice within sociology and beyond.

Through two vibrant days of lectures, panels and workshops, we will turn a critical light on breakfast and the technical infrastructure upon which it relies. Bursaries will be provided for graduate students and precariously employed scholars, ensuring a diverse range of participants in our discussion. Breakfast will of course be included in the conference registration fee.

I’m at a copy writing workshop and this was my academic spin on being asked to write advertising copy for a new toaster which is nuclear powered and produces unburnable toast. This event isn’t actually taking place, though I must admit I’d happily listen to a podcast or two from it. 

GIG-ARTS 2018 – The Second European Multidisciplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies

26-27 April 2018, Cardiff

Overcoming Inequalities in Internet Governance: framing digital policy capacity building strategies

Organised by: Centre for Internet and Global Politics / School of Law and Politics / Cardiff University

In partnership with: DiploFoundation, The ECPR Standing Group on Internet and Politics, The Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet)

Deadline 08.January.2018

Abstract

After having explored “Global Internet Governance as a Diplomacy Issue” at its first edition held in Paris in 2007, the Second European Multidisciplinary Conference on Global Internet Governance Actors, Regulations, Transactions and Strategies (GIG-ARTS 2018) addresses power inequalities in internet governance, and digital policy capacity building strategies aiming at overcoming gaps in digital policy developments.

Connectivity infrastructure is constantly expanding, while internet access is incessantly growing across countries, regions and socio-political contexts. In this context, new and crucial questions emerge from a governance and security perspective. As for the latter, new connectivity calls for cybersecurity capacity building strategies aiming at secure digital infrastructure. At the same time, from a governance perspective, traditional powers in the governance of the internet are increasingly challenged from newly connected actors who demand more influence in the transnational debate around digital policy development. As a result, despite claims for equal representations and diversity since the first World Summit on Information Society in 2003, the narrowing of the digital divide opens new and key questions: Whether and what inequalities exist in internet governance decision making? How is the rapidly changing internet geography and sociography reflected in the governance of the internet? Moreover, in order to increase awareness and enhance involvement of newly connected countries in national and transnational digital policy developments, what are the best internet governance capacity building strategies available? How do newly connected countries and actors build their digital policy capacity, and do they develop an active role in the transnational internet governance debate? Whether in newly or early connected countries, various kinds of divides persist across socio-cultural and political contexts, reflecting if not extending societal and socio-economic inequalities. Are such renewed forms of inequalities and discriminations adequately addressed in internet governance debates? What are the requirements for digital policies to actually empower people and uphold their individual and collective rights online?

In order to answer these crucial and manifold questions, the conference will bring together an outstanding network of experts working on internet governance, digital inequalities, and cybersecurity capacity building. The conference welcomes theoretically relevant, empirically grounded research, and/or policy oriented contributions, addressing internet governance inequalities, digital policy making, and cybersecurity capacity building. In particular, submissions could address either of the following topics (list non exhaustive):

–          Inequalities in the governance of the internet
–          Governance strategies among new and emerging actors
–          Geopolitical coalitions among actors (e.g. BRICS)
–          Multistakeholder models and their efficacy
–          Cybersecurity capacity building
–          Digital divides
–          Telecom Reforms
–          Online discriminations
–          Violent content and harassment online
–          “Fake news” and other kinds of manipulations
–          Individual and collective empowerment
–          Human rights online
–          Digital Trade

Program Chair
Andrea Calderaro
Centre for Internet and Global Politics, University of Cardiff, United Kingdom

Program Committee
William J. Drake, University of Zurich, Switzerland
Marianne Franklin, Goldsmiths University
Katharina Höne, DiploFoundation, Malta & Switzerland
Nanette S. Levinson, American University Washington DC, USA
Robin Mansell, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Meryem Marzouki, CNRS & Sorbonne Université, France
Ben Wagner, UW Vienna, Austria

Full Call for Paper
Please find more information via the conference website: events.gig-arts.eu

Submission Information and Publication Opportunities
Authors are invited to submit their abstracts (no longer than 500 words) via Easychair at:
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=gigarts2018

Authors of selected submissions will have the opportunity to submit their full manuscript for publication as part of an edited volume.

Venue
The conference will be held in Wales’s capital city, Cardiff, at the Centre for Internet and Global Politics, hosted at the Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics.

Conference Registration and Fees
Registration fees are 100€ for regular participants and 50€ for students showing proof of status. The conference fees include a participant kit with conference documents as well as coffee breaks and meals.

GIG-ARTS 2018 Communication Details
– Website: events.gig-arts.eu | www.cigp.eu
– Email for information: events@gig-arts.eu | Andrea Calderaro (CalderaroA@Cardiff.ac.uk)
– Submissions: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=gigarts2018
– Twitter: @GigArtsEU
– Mailing list for updates: http://tinyurl.com/yc7rvxm4