Tag: biography

  • The social ontology of trans-human life

    My notes on Maccarini, A. M. (2018). Trans-human (life-) time: Emergent biographies and the ‘deep change’in personal reflexivity. In Realist Responses to Post-Human Society: Ex Machina (pp. 138-164). Routledge. One of the interesting features of the recent Centre for Social Ontology project on defending the human has been the realisation that many in the group are entirely open to the […]

  • Narrative as interface between the subjective and the objective 

    We often think of self-narrative as something self-grounding, reflecting the truth of a person even if that truth might change over the life course. If we take issue with this, we turn to the bare objective facts of someone’s life as a counterpoint to the unreliably subjective stories they tell. This oscillation misses the important […]

  • Some thoughts on intellectual self-archiving

    Anyone who has read my blog for a while will be aware that I use it to self-archive. As Cory Doctorow explains in this wonderful piece, it’s a mode of information storage suitable for those whose working lives revolve around the identification, evaluation and retrieval of information: I consume, digest, and excrete information for a living. […]

  • Biographical Approaches to Studying Digital Capitalism

    In the early pages of Douglas Rushkoff’s Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, he offers a cogent analysis of how initial public offerings lock tech companies into a growth imperative which ultimately proves destructive of the value they create. As he puts it on loc 169, “Having taken in this much new capital, however, Twitter now needs […]

  • The Absent Horizon of Mortality

    From Wasted Lives, by Zygmunt Bauman, pg 99: No longer a part of human destiny that needs to be faced up to in all its majesty and duly respected, death has been demoted to the status of a deplorable catastrophe, like a pistol shot or a brick falling from a roof. With the horizon of […]

  • life planning as navigational guide rather than existential blueprint

    This idea from Daniel Little really chimes with what I’m arguing in my chapter for the 5th CSO book. Life planning as blueprint is becoming ever less sustainable as the continuity of a subject’s context becomes ever less assured. This disrupts instrumental rationality because contextual assumptions about means become unreliable, while social and cultural change also throws up […]

  • social media and constraints upon personal morphogensis 

    I’ve been thinking a lot about themes from my PhD recently and how to introduce them into my current work. My overarching focus was on personal morphogenesis: how people change and how we understand this process sociologically. I’m particularly interested in cases where people seek to change, though having such a goal implies neither the […]

  • Actor centred sociology

    In the last couple of years, I’ve occasionally wondered whether I’m a methodological individualist. The term carries intensely negative connotations within the areas of sociology in which I spend my time. I’m certainly not an individualist in an ontological sense: I think the social world is made up of many kinds of entities and that we can […]

  • Notes for a Sociology of Thinking 1.4

    In a recent paper Tero Piiroinen argued that the intellectual axis of contemporary sociological theory has shifted from a concern with individualism and holism to what he terms dualism and anti-dualism. I’m not convinced as to the accuracy of this as a claim about the state of the field given the degree of sophistication which can […]

  • Time is always running out

    I got briefly obsessed last year by the observation that at a rate of one book a week between the ages of 5 and 80, it will only be possible to read 3,900 books in a lifetime. This is a little over one tenth of one percent of all the books currently in print – obviously […]

  • How does someone come to identify as asexual?

    Via Oozing Ink I love this. Though it does make me sad to see how something it took me 8000 words to express in academic language can basically be conveyed so much more powerfully in 6 images.

  • The Iraq war: 10 years on

    It was just under a decade ago that the Iraq war began. I only realised this recently when reading the first volume of the Chris Mullin diaries, covering the bulk of the New Labour era and the first few years of the Iraq war. It’s fascinating to see a portrayal of these events from the […]

  • The intellectual sclerosis of ageing philosophers

    With Leibniz, inevitably, as with almost all ageing philosophers, a certain amount of intellectual sclerosis set in, too. In his later years, the elements of the metaphysical system he first outlined in the Discourse became so self-evident to him that he often saw no need to argue for them. they became a fixed part of […]

  • Becoming Who We Are: theorising personal morphogenesis in a changing world

    This was a phrase suggested to me by my friend Holly Falconer in the early stages of my PhD. It resonated with me strongly and, since then, the working title of my PhD has been Becoming Who We Are: Theorising Personal Morphogenesis. What I’m trying to convey with this is a process (how people become who […]

  • Individual biography and the spatial distribution of variety (or, what the sociological imagination looks like to a critical realist)

    Throughout my thesis I use the term ‘exploration’ as a short hand to designate a rather precise process. I’m trying to conceptualise a particular sort of biographical process, which in spite of its empirical variability shares an underlying structure in which the relation between concerns and context lead a person to look beyond that context in order to find […]

  • Working Paper: Realism, Biography and (a)Sexuality

    In this paper I explore the role of sexual categories in the lived experience of contemporary young people through a case study of the asexual community. While still representing a relatively small area of research within contemporary sexuality studies, asexuality (commonly defined as people who do not experience sexual attraction) has become the focus of […]

  • Biography, Path-Dependence and Social Events

    There’s a fascinating post on Stumbling and Mumbling looking at the political implications of beliefs being path-dependent: However, according to Matthew Parris in the Times, many Tories have such out-dated attitudes to unions. He says they believe they benefit from Labour’s “indefensible” links with unions: They know the toxic potency in millions of minds of […]

  • Being Human, Personal Identity and Biography

    This is the last of a series of posts in which I’ve looked at Archer’s account of the emotions in Being Human. She sees the internal conversation as rooted in the  ongoing and situated affectivity through which we unavoidably find ourselves connected to our environment. These first-order affective responses are clustered around nature, practice and […]

  • Becoming Who We Are: Social Relations and Personal Morphogenesis

    At any given moment I exist in relation to a we. But I also bring to those relations a ‘me’ made up of things which have happened to me and things which I have made happen. Many aspects of the past ‘me’ deposited in any present moment belong to the domain of psychology. Beyond this […]