Tag: Uncategorized

  • Some thoughts on the ontology of games 

    What is a game? A standard definition is “a form of competitive activity or sport played according to rules” and this has been the working conception when I’ve encountered theoretical engagements with the notion of a game. But a recent symposium on eSports left me reflecting on how much more complex the ontology of games […]

  • The rhetoric and reality of user generated content 

    On pg 102 of Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things, he highlights email exchanges between YouTube’s founders, released in a court case, which suggest the invocation of ‘user generated content’ might be a matter of branding rather than a meaningful growth strategy for social media platforms: In another email exchange from 2005, when full-length […]

  • The content density of a cultural producer 

    An interesting snippet on pg 164 of Jonathan Taplin’s Move Fast and Break Things suggests a metric of content density which could be extremely interesting to explore: Digiday looked at the race for what some are calling peak content. What it found was that in 2010 the New York Times, with 1,100 people employed in […]

  • Denaturalising digital capitalism

    One of the most pressing issues we confront when analysing the digital economy is a pronounced tendency towards oligopoly which makes a lie of an earlier generation’s utopian embrace of the Internet as a sphere of free competition and a driver of disintermediation. There are important lessons we can learn from platform studies about the […]

  • The question of the human in philosophy of technology 

    Over the next few years, I’ll be working on a collaborative project on trans- and post-humanism, building on the Centre for Social Ontology’s previous Social Morphogenesis series. My main contribution to this will be co-editing a volume, Strangers in a Familiar Land, with Doug Porpora and Colin Wight as well as exploring digital technology and […]

  • The notion of a ‘playbook’

    In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself using the term ‘playbook’ in a number of contexts. It’s typically defined as “a book containing a sports team’s strategies and plays, especially in American football” but I’m not quite sure where I picked up the phrase from as someone who hasn’t had much interest in sport […]

  • 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 a more diverse palette of […]

  • 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. […]

  • 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 […]

  • The precursors to curation

    While many see the term ‘curation’ as modish and vague, I see it as an important concept to make sense of how we can orientate ourselves within a changing cultural landscape. However I can sympathise with the thrust of these objections, in so far as they take issue with a sense of curation tied in […]

  • Digital media and ontological security 

    There’s an intriguing argument in The Mediated Construction of Social Reality, by Nick Couldry and Andreas Hepp, concerning our dependence upon digital media and how we respond to its failure. From loc 5527: We feel the costs viscerally: when ‘our’ media break down –we lose internet connection, our password stops working, we are unable to […]

  • Why do I write?

    An exercise in free-writing, undertaken at a writing workshop at the Becoming Academic conference at the University of Sussex. I write to eliminate the clutter in my head, the accumulated debris which emerges within me as I make my way through the world, trying to understand my experiences as I go. If I am free […]

  • What would a materialist phenomenology of ‘post-truth’ look like?

    That’s the question I’ve been asking myself when reading through two books by Nick Couldry in which he develops a materialist phenomenological approach to understanding social reality. The first is The Mediated Construction of Social Reality (with Andreas Hepp) and the second is Media, Society, World. It’s in the latter book that he considers the […]

  • To understand social media for academics, we have to kill the idea of social media for academics 

    In the 30+ talks I have done about social media in the last year, I have discussed many things. But the one theme that has been most prominent is the extrinsic, rather than intrinsic, complexity of the subject matter. There is nothing inherently challenging about how to use social media. Any practical or technical difficulties […]

  • Speculative thoughts about the phenomenology of digitalisation

    A few weeks ago, I found myself on a late night train to Manchester from London. After a long day, I was longing to arrive home, a prospect that seemed imminent as the train approached Stockport. Then it stopped. Eventually, we were told that there was someone on the tracks ahead and that the police […]

  • CFP: Alternative Facts: Constructing Truth in Civil Societies

    As the workings of civil society are being disrupted by the challenges of ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake news’ and notions of post-truth, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal has decided to devote a special issue to this topic. Our approach is broad; the flow of information is fundamental to civil society and that flow and its interactions with […]

  • Abundance and austerity 

    From The Revenge of the Monsters of Educational Technology, by Audrey Watters, loc 1187: Many of us in education technology talk about this being a moment of great abundance—information abundance—thanks to digital technologies. But I think we are actually/ also at a moment of great austerity. And when we talk about the future of education, […]

  • The myths of academic life

    This great post by Martin Weller takes issue with the recent click bait published by the Guardian Higher Education’s anonymous academics series. He argues that they perpetuate an outdated stereotype of academic labour which has no relationship to the reality: There are undoubtedly more, but when you piece these three together, what you get is […]