Outflanking Platitudes rss

The agency moment

This thoughtful New York Times column by David Brooks reflects on what he terms “the agency moment”: I’ve been thinking about moments of agency of this sort because often you see people who lack full agency. Sometimes you see lack… Read More ›

Technology and Human Nature

In their Webcam, Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan offer what they describe as a theory of attainment. While I’m not sure they’d accept my terminology, I read this as an attempt to theorise the causal powers of technology in relation to the causal powers of… Read More ›

The Social Life of Methods

The Social Life of Methods is an interesting programme of research undertaken by Evelyn Ruppert, Mike Savage and John Law. This is orientated towards what the authors term the ‘methodological complex’: a dominant way of understanding method, tangled up in a particular… Read More ›

Actor centred sociology

In the last couple of years, I’ve occasionally wondered whether I’m a methodological individualist. The term carries intensely negative connotations within the areas of sociology in which I spend my time. I’m certainly not an individualist in an ontological sense: I think… Read More ›

Time and Reflexivity

In Margaret Archer’s work on Reflexivity, this faculty is seen as mediating between structure and agency. Our capacity to ‘bend back’ upon ourselves, considering our circumstances in light of our commitments and vice versa, constitutes the point at which structural… Read More ›

The obsolescence of things

I love this old Ikea advert. It illustrates the point that Harmut Rosa is making about the acceleration of production and the implications of intensified disposability for our sense of security and continuity. It also shows what I dislike about Rosa’s account: specific… Read More ›