Outflanking Platitudes rss

An Invitation to DIY Sociology

For the last few months I’ve been playing with the idea of DIY Sociology, largely as a result of my dissatisfaction with professional associations. The intuition underlying this is that the institutional forms of academic life are not immutable, arising in… Read More ›

What is progress in social theory?

At last year’s International Association for Critical Realism conference, I saw perhaps the most impressive conference presentation I’d witnessed in my five or six years of going to conferences regularly. Jamie Morgan demolished the notion of ‘norm circles’ offered by Dave Elder-Vass and he did… Read More ›

Are you confused by critical realism?

If so then this glossary might be a helpful resource: Absence Actualism Change Closed and Open Systems Completion Constellation Critique and Transcendental Argument Determinism Dialectics Differentiation and Stratification Emergence Epistemic and Ontic Fallacies Epistemic Relativism and Judgmental Rationality Ethical Naturalism… Read More ›

The politics of austerity

Richard Seymour had a thoughtful and incisive analysis in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago, released around the same time as his new book on austerity (see the video above). It addresses what I take to be the questions which the left has… Read More ›

Improvisation in academic life

I really like Steve Fuller’s arguments about ‘improvisation’. He rehearsed them yesterday in a post for Sociological Imagination about the originality of conference keynotes: For about ten years now, I’ve been arguing about the benefits of improvisational performance in academia, not simply… Read More ›