Tag: social change

From Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything pg 105: The word “apocalypse” derives from the Greek apokalypsis, which means “something uncovered” or revealed. Besides the need for a dramatically better health care system, there was much else uncovered and revealed when the floodwaters retreated in New York that October. The disaster revealed how dangerous it is […]

There’s a section in this 1997 chapter by Roger Burrows which my thoughts have been intermittently turning to since reading it last week. On pg 235 he writes: It is not just technology which appears to be accelerating towards meltdown, so are our cultural and sociological understandings of the world. The speed at which new […]

How has social media contributed to the growing success of Corbynism? In asking this question, we risk falling into the trap of determinism by constructing ‘social media’ as an independent force bringing about effects in an otherwise unchanged world. This often goes hand-in-hand with what Nick Couldry calls ‘the myth of us’, framing social media in […]

There are two issues which have long fascinated me that seem more salient with each passing day. Our struggle to conceptualise long term social change from within (particularly the possibility of civilisational collapse) and the transition away from democratic government. Cinematic spectacle dominates the imaginary through we conceive of either, whether this is our imagery of what a collapsed […]

I’ve long been fascinated by the question of what the descent into fascism feels like for those living through such a transition, how daily life changes (or fails to do so) as the fabric of the old order begins to unweave. There’s an insightful essay in the LA Review of Books which addresses precisely this question as […]

A few thoughts, prompted by the dispiriting act of choosing cosmopolitan austerity over nationalistic austerity in the UK referendum: Our perception of transformative possibilities is culturally constructed. Certain ranges of possibility are foregrounded and others backgrounded. Our sense of viability is the most cognitive dimension to this, informed by implicit and explicit ontological assumptions about […]

We’re now up to book number 4. This is the first one I’ve contributed to personally & it’s due to be published in early 2016. These are the first three volumes in the series: Here’s the coverage of the books that I know of. Please do let me know if you come across something else! […]

One of the most contentious aspects of Margaret Archer’s work on reflexivity has been her critique of Bourdieu’s habitus. I was thinking back to this issue when reading Sam Friedman’s excellent new paper in the Sociological Review on the habitus clivé. It’s a whole dimension to Bourdieu’s work which I was completely unfamiliar with and furthers […]

The closest thing I have to an historiographical principle is to always be suspicious of what Charles Taylor calls ‘subtraction stories’. While he uses the concept to refer to congratulatory stories of rational emancipation in which human beings have gradually dispensed with myths and illusions that served to limit them, it can equally be applied to […]

I just came across a passage by James Meek in which he describes being drawn to, the obscure realm of events that are too fresh for history, but too old for journalism; the murky gap of popular perception that covers the period from two years ago to about twenty-five years back, in which events are […]

This is the claim made by Matthew Barzun, US ambassador to the UK, in an intruiging piece for the New Statesman. He attacks the view that the world is sliding into anarchy, offering a counter-narrative that is every bit as sweeping and accentuates the positive: It is a time of levelling. The world has reduced extreme poverty […]

There’s a particular kind of sociological theorising which I’ve always been drawn to that concerns itself with the identification of epochal shifts in social life. When I was an intellectually frustrated philosophy student, the work of Giddens on Late Modernity and Bauman on Liquid Modernity seemed to hold the promise of intellectual work that addressed something […]

I just came across a lovely point in Harmut Rosa’s book about the relationship between social change and musical innovation. Certain forms of music come to be seen as emblematic of the age but, as that age changes so too does the sensibility which is brought to bear upon that music: today certain forms of jazz music that, […]

Mike Savage has posted a thoughtful essay on the Stratification & Culture Research Network blog reflecting on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. There’s a lot of interest here but the element that really intrigued me was the discussion of Piketty’s methodology and how it relates to current trends within sociology: Methodologically, Piketty is […]

For those such as myself who have been increasingly baffled by events in the US in recent weeks, this analysis of findings from six focus groups with political partisans within the Republican party makes for interesting reading. The full report is available online here.  Understand that the base thinks they are losing politically and losing […]

I’ve been preoccupied recently by parallels I keep observing between common features of asexual biographies and those of other groups who share a common trait. In the case of asexuality this ‘common trait’ is not experiencing sexual attraction. Exactly what this entails about the individual’s experience and what, in turn, this experience has come to mean to them […]

One unexpected aspect of the Reflexive Imperative was Archer’s return to cybernetics in its conclusion. Though having long seen herself as a critic of this theoretical tradition, the systems theory of Walter Buckley was an important influence on the Morphogenetic Approach. In the Reflexive Imperative she critically engages with the ‘second cybernetics’ of Magorah Maruyama […]