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Conduits for variety

In his superb From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Fred Turner vividly describes The Whole Earth Catalog and the horizon it opened up for many of its readers. From loc 1212: For many, the Catalog provided a first, and sometimes overwhelming, glimpse of the New Communalists’ intellectual world. Gareth Branwyn, for instance, a journalist who […]

Two modes for becoming who we are 

The self as painting: we become who we are through repetition and representation. Encumbered only by our imagination and the culture in which we find ourselves, we craft ourselves through iterated projects of self-representation. We might find the materials available to us limiting, in which case we might seek out […]

The Personal Morphogenesis of Francis Begbie

Which character from the Irvine Welsh novels has the most depth? While Francis Begbie might have counted as the most vivid, particularly as he was brought to life in Robert Carlyle’s unforgettable performance, I’d be surprised if anyone thought of him as the deepest. Yet that’s the impression one is left […]

Gorz’s concept of hygiene 

A great introduction to this concept I was previously unfamiliar with, from David Frayne’s Refusal of Work, pg 149: As Bruce described his self-care habits, I was reminded of Gorz’s definition of ‘hygiene’, which for Gorz means something much more than the mundane rituals of preening and cleanliness. For Gorz, […]

Towards a Sociology of the Good Life

What is the good life? It’s a question which preoccupied me in my past life as a trainee political philosopher and it’s one which still concerns me as a sociologist. It’s rarely addressed within the discipline for reasons that cut through a number of trends within the field: a hostility […]

The gaps in which being human happens

I’m currently reading Vincent Deary’s How We Are. It’s the first book in a planned trilogy exploring how people change. For the last few months I’ve had a vague idea that at some point I’d like to develop themes from my PhD into a book for a wider audience. My project sought to […]

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 […]

Crisis and personal morphogenesis

Sometimes by its very nature, routinization begets change, a desire for change that was laying dormant in the mind and cultural experience within the biography of the individual, which may then be trigged into activation by a concatenation of circumstances. Unanticipated crisis can break monotony and bring great change, anticipated […]

A quick post on attachement theory and my PhD

After years of intending to read John Bowlby, I’ve finally got round to it and I’m very impressed. He formulated attachement theory as an attempt to affect a paradigm shift (in a very self-consciously Kuhnian fashion) within psychiatric research and therapeutic practice. I won’t bother outlining the theory (the Wiki link […]