Tag: Uncategorized

  • on fragile movements

    The notion of fragile movements is an integral part of my new project. I’ve tried to explain it at various points on the blog, as well as in a book chapter which will be published as part of the Centre for Social Ontology’s annual Social Morphogenesis series. But I just encountered a really apt description of the […]

  • the agonistic politics of anonymous 

    I’ve recently been writing about the fragility of many contemporary movements: the organisational weakness that can emerge from digitally mediated assembly because the logistical labour formerly necessary to bring people together provided an important foundation for collective reflexivity. Collective projects become harder to sustain without regular face-to-face meetings, shared practical challenges and other forms of […]

  • The fiction future of faculty: September 16th in Manchester

    I’m organising a design fiction event in Manchester on September 16th, with James Duggan and Joseph Lindley. It’ll be great. You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-fiction-future-of-faculty-an-afternoon-of-sociological-design-fiction-tickets-18169546603 The ability of storytelling to help us envision and discuss a gamut of plausible futures, from dystopian visions to everyday utopias, is increasingly being harnessed using the nascent practice of ‘design […]

  • what to do when a political party you instinctively support shows nothing but contempt for the things you believe?

    My early political memories all relate to the Labour party. My dad was a Labour activist, as was my Granddad. My first involvement in politics was helping them deliver leaflets in the area of north Manchester I grew up in. Even as I began to drift into anarchist politics as a teenager, it was always something […]

  • The fiction future of faculty: an afternoon of sociological design fiction

    I’m organising a design fiction event in Manchester on September 16th, with James Duggan and Joseph Lindley. It’ll be great. You can register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-fiction-future-of-faculty-an-afternoon-of-sociological-design-fiction-tickets-18169546603 The ability of storytelling to help us envision and discuss a gamut of plausible futures, from dystopian visions to everyday utopias, is increasingly being harnessed using the nascent practice of […]

  • the circular tendency in digital capitalism

    From this fascinating Jacobin piece. This observation is key to what I’m planning on focusing on over the next few years: One of the features of recent digital capitalism is the tendency for firms to build companies that appear to skirt around the spirit, and perhaps the letter, of the law regarding vertical monopolies (for […]

  • on digital distraction

    From The Distraction Addiction by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang: It amazes me how often during a single (admittedly rather trivial) thought my mind wants to veer off onto these other paths, pick up this idea and that one, answer this or that question – and how easy the web lets me satisfy that curiosity. What makes the Web […]

  • negative solidarity is here to stay: the ‘greedy’ tube workers

    As I too often find myself doing in these situations, I’ve been browsing hashtags and newspaper comments about the tube strike. The most obvious recurring theme concerns the putative comfort of the striking tube workers: how do they justify striking when they’re already so well off? In actuality, salaries of tube workers range between £24,000 […]

  • the best of bezos: the vitriolic putdowns of the amazon ceo

    From The Everything Story by Brad Stone: “I don’t know if you guys don’t have high standards or if you just don’t know what you’re doing” “If that’s our plan, I don’t like our plan” “Are you lazy or just incompetent?” “Does it surprise you that you don’t know the answer to that question?” “Why are you […]

  • the pleasures of knowing where you stand 

    From page 75 of Brad Stone’s excellent book The Everything Store: In early 1998, Bezos was closely involved with a department called Personalization and Community, which was geared toward helping customers discover books, music, and movies they might find interesting. That May, he surveyed what was then Amazon’s Hot 100 bestseller list and had an […]

  • Closing an open letter

    Around a year and a half ago, I got very upset with the British Sociological Association when I couldn’t afford to attend a conference for which I’d given a great deal of free labour. I was a month away from handing in my then still very much unfinished PhD thesis, I’d started two new jobs (one […]

  • imagining post-capitalism and techno-fascism

    Last week Paul Mason posted a provocative Guardian essay suggesting that the end of capitalism has begun. It’s a precursor to his upcoming book PostCapitalism: A Guide To Our Future which is released in a few days time. I’m looking forward to the book, not least of all because it’s an optimistic counterpoint to the gloomy thought […]

  • the politics of noise in historical perspective

    I blogged last week about the micro-politics of noise. I didn’t put a great deal of thought into the use of the qualifier ‘micro’: I recognised a legal framework within which noise is regulated (or not), a structural context which shapes working routines, technological changes which create capacities and tendencies towards noise generation and a […]

  • the antinomies of blairism

    Earlier today Tony Blair gave a speech in which he finally took the gloves off. As someone with a growing interest in theorising post-democracy, I found it oddly intriguing. To anyone acquainted with the writing Anthony Giddens was spewing out in the 1990s, it was familiar stuff. Despite the fact his politics would long since have placed him […]

  • but on the day I die, I’ll say at least I fucking tried, that’s the only eulogy I need

  • I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel, that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.

  • the cognitive costs of escaping the filter bubble

    Yesterday saw the news that ‘Infidelity site’ Ashley Madison had been hacked, with the attackers claiming 37 million records had been stolen. The site is an online forum for infidelity, a dating site explicitly designed to facilitate affairs, something which potentially provoked the ire of the hackers. Or it could be the fact that users are […]

  • The @_ISRF @DigitalSocSci and @BigDataSoc Essay Competition

    An exciting new project I’ve helped launch: a collaboration between the ISRF’s Digital Social Science Forum and the journal Big Data & Society. See here for full details: The Independent Social Research Foundation (ISRF) and Big Data & Society (BD&S) intend to award a prize of CHF 1,000 for the best essay on the topic […]