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The Dispositions of the Metricised

In our discussion of metrics systems, it’s easy to treat subjectivity as a cipher, regarding people as passively moulded by algorithms or blindly governed by the incentives that operate through the institutionalisation of the metrics. My objection to the former is not the claim that people are shaped by metrics, but rather the […]

Conceptualising ‘distraction’

Notes for my talk for the Reflexivity Forum at Warwick on May 24th What does it mean to be distracted? For the last year, I’ve been telling people that I’m working on a new project about digital distraction and everyone seems to immediately grasp what I mean by this. But […]

the sociology of executive coaching

As you may know, executive coaching is an increasingly common phenomenon, particularly in some sectors like tech. This is how Eric Schmidt and his co-author describe the necessity of it in How Google Works loc 2440: Whenever you watch a world-class athlete perform, you can be sure that there is a […]

institutionalised goal setting in tech firms 

How companies institutionalise certain forms of (quantifiable) reflexivity. From Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! pg 10: Starting in 1999, Google management used a system called Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs, to measure the effectiveness of its employees, divisions, and the company overall. The idea for OKRs […]

some thoughts on responsibility

At an event in Liverpool last week, I was asked by Steve Fuller about what I understood responsibility to mean in a sociological sense. He was sceptical that I could support claims of responsibility given my understanding of human agency as situationally performative but biographically continuous. In essence I understood him to be asking: do […]

are you conducting research on reflexivity?

Following from our successful workshop earlier this year, we’re organising the first of what will hopefully become a regular reflexivity forum at the University of Warwick on May 24th. The intention is to provide a space in which people conducting empirical research into human reflexivity will be able to present work in progress, discuss […]

the sociology of ‘blotting out’ experience 

One of the most interesting aspects of Margaret Archer’s work on reflexivity is her interest in how people sometimes seek to ‘blot out’ their experience. Her overarching concern is with the variability of reflexivity, something which I think is hugely important against an intellectual background in which most   thinkers […]

digital distraction and human concern 

Another startlingly illuminating point in Retrieving Realism by Dreyfus and Taylor. At loc 665, they observe how Heidegger’s early work “undercuts another basic feature of the classical picture: that the primary input is neutral, and is only at a later stage attributed some meaning by the agent.” This is a […]

the synchronised society

I went to see an excellent exhibition about children’s television yesterday afternoon, intended to explore “how the magical programmes of our childhood have created memories and nostalgia in adults and children alike”. The possibility of such explanation presupposes some degree of collectivity. The exhibition was ambiguous at points but there […]