Tag: Digital Elections, Party Politics and Diplomacy

  • Social ontology amidst the wreckage of techno-progressive orthodoxy

    I found this review of Trump and the Media by Nicholas Carr in the LA Review of Books immensely thought-provoking. His focus is on the book’s historical contribution, contextualising the enthusiasm with which social media was greeted in terms of long term concerns about the centralisation of mass media. We can’t understand the ideal of […]

  • When the populists inspire the ad men

    I came across this extract on loc 1342-1360 of Frenemies, Ken Auletta’s new book about the declining fortunes of the advertising industry, detailing an intervention made by thought leader extraordinaire Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist at  Publicis groupe. It was in the context of a meeting between executives from a range of agencies and Bank of America to […]

  • The disjointed temporality of political life

    I’ve long been drawn to accounts of the everyday lives of politicians. This isn’t so much a matter of biographical curiosity, as much as a preoccupation with temporality. It is not that the temporal character of our lives moulds us but rather that the things which do are always inflected through temporality. I’m convinced you […]

  • The Labour leadership’s embrace of social media outriders

    Even if I wasn’t a supporter, I’d have been fascinated by Labour’s use of social media in the last election and how this built upon prior successes in successive leadership elections. The new book by Steve Howell, deputy director of strategy and communications during the election, contains many fascinating snippets about this that I hadn’t […]

  • The Political Ontology of Platforms

    These notes are for the fifth and final week of the CPGJ platform capitalism intensive reading group. One of the themes running through the readings over the five weeks has been the political valence of platforms and its relationship to our analysis of them. My own instinct is that valorising platforms in an a priori […]

  • Call for abstracts: DQComm2018 The Deliberative Quality of Communication Conference

    #DQComm2018 The Deliberative Quality of Communication Conference 2018 Citizens, Media and Politics in Challenging Times: Perspectives on the Deliberative Quality of Communication November 8 – 9, 2018 Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), Mannheim, Germany Keynote Speaker: Kaisa Herne (University of Tampere) Roundtable on the Future of Deliberation Research with: André Bächtiger (University of […]

  • Are some political tactics more adaptable to intensified social change than others? 

    The first of what seems likely to be many books about the June 2017 general election was released earlier this week. Betting the House, by Tim Ross and Tom McTague, tells the story of the election through contrasting accounts of the Conservative and Labour campaigns. There’s much more detail about the former, seemingly reflecting both the […]

  • An interview with Stand Up magazine about social media and fragile politics

    Social media is often accused of being an echo chamber, but has it played a role in empowering marginalised people and elevating their voices? It has and it’s important that we don’t lose sight of this when we focus on the problems which social media is creating for politics. In recent years, cyber-utopianism has been […]

  • Alastair Campbell vs Tony Blair

    The section at 18 mins about Iraq-related dreams is fascinating. They both seem rather haunted, in radically different ways:

  • Why the left needs to reject the ideology of networked socialism

    In today’s Guardian, Neal Lawson offers a cautious reading of Corbyn’s Labour, accepting the ascendancy of the left within the party but urging it to look outwards. I’m sympathetic to many of the substantive points Lawson makes in the article but there’s a rich vein of problematic assumption running through their articulation which needs to […]

  • Brand Corbyn and Brand Trump

    What do Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump have in common? On the face of it, two people could not be more dissimilar but I’m curious about what might be their analogous position in relation to mainstream political culture. After all, in a sense Corbyn came from outside party politics, albeit not in the way Trump did, being […]

  • The data warriors and the electoral wars they wage

    One of the most interesting issues raised by the rise of data science in party politics is how to untangle corporate rhetoric from social reality. I have much time for the argument that we risk taking the claims of a company like Cambridge Analytica too seriously, accepting at face value what are simply marketing exercises. […]

  • Against the ‘political rulebook’

    Much of the reaction to Labour’s election success last week has been framed in terms of their ‘rewriting the rules’. One particularly explicit example of this can be seen in an article by Jonathan Freedland, an enthusiastic critic of Corbyn, pontificating that Corbyn took “the traditional political rulebook” and “put it through the shedder”. What […]

  • The abuse Corbyn was subject to from Labour MPs

    If this is an accurate account, it’s remarkable that he seemingly remains devoid of bitterness about this treatment. From The Candidate, by Alex Nunns, loc 6251: “You are not fit to be prime minister,” the widely unknown Bridget Phillipson tells Corbyn. “It’s time to be honest with yourself. You’re not a leader. You need to […]

  • How Corbyn hacked the media

    It’s conventional wisdom that Corbyn’s leadership campaign was the target of brutal coverage by the media. I was interested to learn in The Candidate, by Alex Nunns, that this wasn’t quite how the campaign itself saw the situation. Understanding why can help elucidate the surprise that was #Election2017. From loc 4591-4556: Ask some of Corbyn’s […]

  • Political speeches, relational authoriality and fetishising ‘strong leadership’

    The notion of relational authoriality, which consistency demands I acknowledge emerged in conversations with Jana Bacevic, conveys a relational realist perspective on the question of authorship. It rejects the notion of the liberal individual as the origin of a text while continuing to insist that there is a definite causal story to be told about […]

  • How do we explain the election of Donald Trump?

    How do we explain the election of Donald Trump? Far too much of the media’s response to this question has been to take Trump’s account of his own powers at face value. This scion of the elite, who never felt at home amongst the elite into which he was born, imagines himself as able to […]

  • Social morphogenesis and the limitations of political modelling 

    Reading Shattered, an account of Hilary Clinton’s failed election campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, I’ve been struck by how limited political modelling has proved in recent elections. This had been in the case in the 2008 primary contest with Obama, in which the unprecedented character of his candidacy (as well as the candidate […]

  • The technocratic oath

    In his political memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis recounts a meeting with Larry Summer which took place in April 2015. Only months into his tenure as Finance Minister, he looked to this architect of the neoliberal world order for support as hostilities with European leaders over Greece’s fiscal future rapidly intensified. Coming straight […]