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On intellectual craft 

I’m currently reading On Intellectual Craftsmanship, in preparation for a talk I’m doing in Berlin next week. This famous appendix to The Sociological Imagination is something I’ve long been inspired by, finding in it a way of organising my own life that belies the text’s apparently humble ambition to merely […]

How to ‘network’ without chipping away at your soul

‘Networking’ is a horrible term.  I’m sure I’m not the only person who hates it. It  nonetheless refers to something important, albeit perhaps pervasively misunderstood. The usual connotations of the term ‘networking’ are insincerity, instrumentalism and general creepiness. There have been a few occasions when I’ve been conscious of being ‘networked’ by […]

The Pleasures of Scholarly Blogging

There’s a lovely extract of the Academic Diary in which Les Back reflects on the life and work of the social theorist Vic Seidler. Remarking on the vast range of topics on which Seidler has written, Les suggests that this deeply committed man “writes not because his academic position expects it […]

Writing praxes beyond papers and books

A really fascinating reflection by Rob Kitchin on ten forms of academic writing beyond scholarly papers and books: fiction, blog posts, newspaper op eds, email correspondence, policy papers, policy consultation, a television documentary script, powerpoint slides, academic papers, and grant application. What makes this so interesting is that all of these were […]

The Promise of the Pivot Format

Recent years have seen the proliferation of what I tend to think of as mini-mongraph formats. In their new book on interdisciplinarity, Felicity Callard and Des Fitzgerald offer a really nice account of the promise of these formats: The Pivot format is produced within a distinctive (rapid) temporal horizon, and […]

tech giants and the possibility of craft

There’s an interesting discussion of craft in the book about Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive I’m currently reading. It describes his early consultancy career and his deep discomfort with the self-marketing necessary to thrive in this environment, as well as the design compromises that are often required when the whims […]

the backstory to creative work

I just came across this series of videos in which Aesop Rock explains the backstory to his album Skelethon. I’m struck by the thought that there’s no piece of creative work I care about that wouldn’t leave me interested to hear such a story about it. Particularly when it has […]

Biography and/as Experiment Fiction

This looks really interesting. If I had less on in June, I’d be tempted to submit a paper for this in order to try and develop some of my thoughts on design fiction and sociological writing: Biography and/as Experimental Fiction 5 June 2015 Goldsmiths, University of London Richard Hoggart Building, […]

Creativity as Apophatic

For the last couple of days, I was in Edinburgh taking part in Time Without Time. It was a great event and I’ll probably blog more about it next week. The second day was very different from the usual academic events I go to. This picture probably conveys how this […]