It will soon have been twenty years since Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation was published. This groundbreaking book was the starting point for Archer’s reflexivity trilogy, published over the next nine years and building on her previous trilogy which ended with Being Human.
Over the years Gmail’s autosuggest has learned how I write with terrifying accuracy, creating a situation in which significant chunk of my routine e-mails are algorithmically generated. I suspect this exaggerates my written quirks, ticks & deficiencies by feeding them back to me.
I’ve been writing a lot recently about platform socialisation. I’m interested in how the proliferation of platforms brings about fundamental changes in the process of socialisation, as well as how we respond to these normatively and educationally.
I wrote in yesterday’s post about being an ‘efficacious agent‘. Dewey has a much better term for this: freedom. The freedom which comes from the “power to frame purposes, to judge wisely, to evaluate desires by the consequences which will result from acting upon them; power to select and order […]
I found this extremely interesting from Dewey’s Democracy and Education loc 562-575. He argues that the concept of ‘imitation’ tends to mistake an outcome for cause, imputing to a generic tendency to copy each other what is better explained by commonly constituted agents finding themselves in similar situations which tend to produce similar responses.
Following from this afternoon’s post about John Dewey, I wanted to share this extract from later in Democracy and Education about the socialising role played by communities. He explains how the groups to which an individual belongs inevitably exercises an influence over them, by virtue of that belonging. I understanding him to be saying these are educative in the sense that they provide an environment which solicits certain responses by virtue of collaborating as part of a more or less shared existence.
On Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me pg 96 there’s a lovely description of the mundane reality of reflexivity, as well as our tendency to assume other people could not possibly notice it: My days sometimes began with an unspoken soliloquy. A matter of seconds, usually after shaving. I dried my […]
From Zizek’s Pandemic! loc 439: What this contrast tells us is that panic is not a proper way to confront a real threat. When we react in panic, we do not take the threat seriously—we, on the contrary, trivialize it. Just think how ridiculous is the notion that having enough […]
There’s an interesting parallel between Durkheim’s conception of social regulation and what Archer calls ‘bounding variety’ and Cybernetics describes as ‘attenuating variety’. As Durkheim writes on pg 300 in a discussion of marriage and divorce, “One cannot avoid looking outside the place where one is when one no longer feels […]
From Suicide pg 163: Reflection only develops when it becomes necessary for it to develop; that is to say, if a certain number of unconsidered ideas and feelings which, until then, had sufficed to govern behaviour, have become ineffectual. At such times, reflection intervenes to fill the void that has […]
There’s a fascinating connection between this account on Suicide pg 46-47 and what Bourdieu describes as hysteresis and Archer as contextual incongruity: Because of the extreme sensitivity of his nervous system, his ideas and feelings are always in a situation of unstable balance. Because the faintest impressions have an abnormal […]
I thought this was a fascinating aside on loc 999 of Joshua Cohen’s Not Working about Andy Warhol’s reliance on a tape recorder to distance himself from his feelings. This is something many people do, thinking around the troubles rather than feeling them, but rarely so explicitly and with an apparatus: […]
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 […]
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about escalation effects, by which I mean the tendency of some courses of action to escalate beyond our initial expectations or capacity to control. My favourite examples involve information overload. An active reader will often follow up references from books they are reading, with an […]
What is awkwardness? It’s something we recognise. It’s something which is everywhere. Yet when we do think about it, it’s often seen as something trivial and mundane, representing an interruption of decorum or a warp in the texture of micro-social interaction. It’s something that can be intensely felt but is soon forgotten and, where […]
How can we reconcile the psychoanalytical and the reflexive? One way is to deny there’s a tension and the work of someone like Ian Craib illustrates how this can be so, excavating reflexivity as a site of fantasy that is itself acted on reflexively. We find the image of a […]
On Friday night I was travelling home after a few days in Zurich. Waiting for my plane in Zurich airport, Bats by Uncluded came up on the random playlist I was listening to. I hadn’t realised Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson had collaborated. I was immediately gripped as what had been background listening […]
A few months ago, I recounted to a collaborator the details of a foolish mistake I made when planning a special occasion. Assuming the cake would be the easiest item on a long to do list, I left this till last, failing to recognise that cakes of this sort would […]
Why do people do what they do? It is a question at the heart of the human sciences but it is also one we ask in everyday life. However the way we ask it often tracks our prior feelings towards the people we ask it of. For instance, as Jana […]
I’ve been curious for a while about the Bullet Journal system. As an obsessive practitioner of Getting Things Done, I can’t see myself starting a Bullet Journal but its framing as ‘the analogue system for a digital age’ has intrigued me since I first encountered it. The video below provides […]