Tag: Digital Distraction, Personal Agency and The Reflexive Imperative

  • Steve Fuller on information overload

    An interesting talk by Steve Fuller on information overload. He starts with the academic context in which much of what’s published is not read, much of what’s read is not cited and yet academics are pressured to continually publish more. For whom is this a pathological condition? He argues that the implicit standpoint here is that of a decision […]

  • The chronopolitics of consumer anxiety

    From David Frayne’s Refusal of Work, pg 173-174: When today’s affluent workers come home after a hard day’s work, they find themselves in their homes, surrounded by objects that all represent invitations for action. In my own home I find a Netflix account bursting with viewing choices, a set of shelves crammed with CDs, a […]

  • The Fracturing of Free Time

    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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Zygmunt Bauman’s Chronopolitics

    From Wasted Lives pg 104. Power is expressed chronopolitically through the capacity to electively withdraw from temporal regimes (or evade them all together) while influencing the way others are subject to them: The drama of power hierarchy is daily restaged (with the secretaries and personal assistants, but ever more often the security guards, cast in […]

  • “feeling more or less alive on different days”

    I came across this wonderful passage by William James, quoted by Robert Frodeman in Sustainable Knowledge and reproduced on Brainpickings here: Every one is familiar with the phenomenon of feeling more or less alive on different days. Every one knows on any given day that there are energies slumbering in him which the incitements of […]

  • The Escalation Dynamics of Social Media

    One of the crucial ideas for my new book are the temporal implications of the escalation dynamics which characterise social media platforms. In his Social Media in Academia, George Veletsianos identifies precisely the dynamic that interests me. From loc 834: [R]emaining visible on a social networking and fast-moving platform such as Twitter means that one has to share often and frequently, […]

  • Technology, Self and Society in an Era of Digital Rankings

  • against a consensual theory of conventions

    In their Being Digital Citizens, Evelyn Ruppert and Engin Isin outline a theory of conventions on pg 25-26: We shall characterize conventions broadly as sociotechnical arrangements that embody norms, values, affects, laws, ideologies, and technologies. As sociotechnical arrangements, conventions involve agreement or even consent—either deliberate or often implicit—that constitutes the logic of any custom, institution, […]

  • CFP: Digital Media, Psychoanalysis and the Subject

    *CFP: Digital Media, Psychoanalysis and the Subject* Editors: Jacob Johanssen (University of East London / University of Westminster, UK) and Steffen Krüger (University of Oslo, Norway). Abstract: Revisiting psychoanalytic theory and practice as a potential for media and communication studies, this CfP for a special issue of CM: Communication and Media Journal, to be published […]

  • 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 […]

  • spammers as the avant-garde of digital capitalism 

    From Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet by Finn Brunton pg 197. The thesis of this impressive book is that what we call ‘spam’ is fundamentally a deliberate and disenguous violation of salience: it’s because of the vast array of new instances of salience being opened up, in which we search for and have […]

  • the tinderization of everyday life

    I love this essay (HT Su Oman) – I recently presented a paper The Challenge of Flourishing Amidst Variety and it was a very different approach to precisely the same questions. Read it in full here. LIVING with a sense of overwhelming choice means exerting an insane amount of emotional energy in making the most banal decisions. What should […]

  • Roberto Unger on Flaws in the Human Condition

    I really like this set of ideas, though I dislike the language of ‘flaws’. Much of my work since I was a student has been motivated, at one level, by a desire to incorporate this level of analysis into sociological research.

  • enjoying it: candy crush and capitalism

    I was slightly disappointed by Enjoying It: Candy Crush and Capitalism but I’ve come away from it with one core concept stuck in my mind. The author distinguishes between what he calls ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive’ enjoyment: the former is that which ‘serves’ social and cultural structures, while the latter is pointless activity which serves no purpose. […]

  • the distinction between ‘ambivalence’ and ‘mixed feelings’

    This is a really interesting distinction. From Unforbidden Pleasures, by Adam Phillips, pg 85: Ambivalence does not, in the Freudian story, mean mixed feelings, it means opposing feelings. ‘Ambivalence has to be distinguished from having mixed feelings about someone,’ Charles Rycroft writes, in his appropriately entitled A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (as though an ‘Uncritical’ […]

  • Digital Health/Digital Capitalism One Day Conference CfP 4th July 2016

    Really interesting looking conference organised by Chris Till: Digital Health/Digital Capitalism One Day Conference CfP 4th July 2016 Digital technologies have had a profound impact on the ways in which people live their lives, relate to one another and think about themselves and their capacities. This event will bring together scholars who are interested in […]

  • Michel Foucault – The Culture of the Self

  • what makes human beings distinctive amongst animals?

    What makes human beings distinctive amongst animals? This is an argument I found myself having a few times last week. I just came across a great passage by Martha Nussbaum, quoted on Brain Pickings, reflecting my own views on this. When I say ‘reflexivity is a defining characteristic of the human’, it’s a short hand for this […]