In a matter of months, the world has changed beyond recognition. Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented reorganisation of everyday life, with half the world’s population subject to lockdown measures at the peak of governmental response to the pandemic. These measures are being eased across the world, with uncertain and worrying consequences in the continued […]


From today’s Protocol newsletter: President Trump’s (otherwise relatively boring) interview last week with Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy brought a somewhat unprecedented look into how @realdonaldtrump thinks about Twitter. Here are a few excerpts: On what happens to the account when he leaves office: “Well it’s mine, and I don’t know that I’ll ever use it again, but […]




Organised by Mark Carrigan and Susan Robertson  In a matter of months, the world has changed beyond recognition. Covid-19 has led to an unprecedented reorganisation of everyday life, with half the world’s population subject to lockdown measures at the peak of governmental response to the pandemic. These measures are being eased across the world, with […]


It would be hard to imagine two thinkers with seemingly less in common than Margaret Archer and Slavoj Žižek. However one of the reasons I enjoy the latter’s work, in spite of my many reservations about him, relates to the status of reflexivity within their work. In spite of their different terminology, emphasis and interests I believe […]


I’m reading Jeffrey Alexander’s massive The Civil Sphere in the final stages of my project with Lambros Fatsis on public sociology. The reviewers suggested we need to expand our concept of publicness to take account of the notion of civil sphere, defined by Alexander on pg 3 as “a world of values and institutions that generates the […]


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There’s a short aside in Against The Web by Michael Brooks which identifies something which I’ve often reflected on. For all their terrible characteristics figures like Jordan Peterson are serving an existential need which the left ought to understand. From pg 50: Like everyone else, young white men are trying to muddle through life in […]


In a debate about Fichte’s conception of the police state, Hegel took issue with the logistical demands involved in such over-weaning control of a population. However as points out on pg 28 of Žižek’s Hegel In A Wired Brain, Fichte’s vision seems eerily prescient when we consider the possibilities for control inherent in digitalisation: When […]

The importance of what we don’t (and can’t) say

I loved this section from Žižek’s Hegel In A Wired Brain pg 43 about the importance of what we don’t (and can’t) say. It can certainly be a negative experience, a claustrophobic imminence in which we struggle to express something which we need to externalise into the world But the reality of the unarticulated/inarticulable is […]

What will it be like to work on Elon Musk’s Mars colony?

This short piece by Keith Spencer is absolutely spot on. Exploring the contrasting visions which Bezos and Musk have of our interplanetary near-future would be a wonderful exercise in design fiction for someone who is a more talented writer than me. This is what makes Musk’s Mars vision so different than, say, the Apollo missions […]

Žižek on asexuality

It’s been at least seven years since I last worked on asexuality but I inevitably encounter the topic on a regular basis. I was a bit surprised to find it in Slavoj Žižek’s recent book Hegel in a Wired Brain, in spite of his penchant for god awful writing about trans issues in recent years. This […]

Elon Musk as the intersection between influencer culture and the stock market

There’s a fascinating point in yesterday’s Protocol (seriously, sign up to this if you haven’t already) about the vested interests which Elon Mask has in building his own profile. With his Tesla compensation pegged to the firm’s stock price, his online contrarianism (and its evident popularity with a committed cohort of fans, increasing numbers of […]


This is a powerful statement by Ulises Ali Mejias and Nick Couldry on pg 22 of their data colonialism. I’m not entirely convinced by the book but I think they’re certainly correct to see a radical horizon of (digitalised) social order having opened up in the last decade: Two possibilities result that, before digital connection, […]

Big Tech and sustainability: the current state of play

为什么你的加速器看不了Youtube 4K – olocat:2021-5-2 · 为什么你的加速器看不了Youtube 4K 发布于 2021-05-02 1.89k 次阅读 每个人都希望自己用的加速器的速度像在美土,即便很多时候在日常生活中并无大用。

The monthly Digital Sociology discussion group

We would like to alert subscribers to the roll out of an ongoing series of discussions hosted by the British Sociological Association’s Digital Sociology Study Group.  Starting from July 15th 2020, The Digital Sociology Study Group will be hosting monthly discussions, workshops, and book launches with academics, researchers, authors, practitioners, and activists exploring a range […]

What is a stereotype?

I thought this was a fascinating aside in Ruha Benjamin’s Race After Technology pg 63. It captures something which the contemporary sense of stereotype as reductive/cliche tends to miss: the fact these categories are impervious to countervailing evidence and reproduce the same judgement in different circumstances: It first referred to a practice in the printing […]

Twitter and the structure of polarisation

A few days ago, I tweeted* a complaint to a public transport operator in frustration at how few people were wearing masks on their services and the seeming lack of enforcement by the operators. I was visiting my parents, who’ve been shielding since March and I was growing increasingly concerned that I was exposing them […]

Is capitalism too big to fail?

I can’t stop thinking about these words from David Harvey, recirculated by Richard Seymour in this excellent post: Capital, right now, is too big to fail. We cannot imagine a situation where we would shut down the flow of capital. Because if we shut down the flow of capital, eighty percent of the world’s population […]


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