The Evolution of Critical Management Studies?

13 Aug

Here’s a post I helped write with Marton Racz about a PhD conference were helping organise at the University of Leicester on the 16th and 17th of September.

It is just over three years since Martin Parker and Robyn Thomas published their influential description of the concerns which a critical academic journal should have. Parker and Thomas – renowned critical scholars both – then and until very recently presided over Organization, within which the piece was published, as editors-in-chief. Just like their predecessors, they understood themselves to be developing and maintaining a critical tradition of scholarship by developing and maintaining the journal Organization. So within the hall of mirrors predicament that is reflexive manifesto making, as anybody who reads the article can see, a disgruntled form of modesty evidently prevails. So too, one can also read, does evolutionary imagery:

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck, then it’s probably a duck, even it likes to claim that it is a velociraptor (p. 424).

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Cybernetic Science Fiction: Frank Herbert’s Destination: Void

5 Aug

On a recent trip to Bristol I came across a 1967 Penguin first edition of Frank Herbert’s early science-fiction novel Destination: Void. Herbert is of course better-known for his Dune series, which I know only through the David Lynch’s 1984 film adaptation.

Destination: Void follows a group of scientists on a space ship launched from Earth to colonise planets in the Tau Ceti star system. The ship the scientists are traveling on, which also includes a large number of colonists preserved in hibernation tanks during the journey, is controlled by a specially-grown human brain linked up to the ship’s computers and mechanical systems.

The cover of the 1967 Penguin first edition of Destination: Void

The cover of the 1967 Penguin first edition of Destination: Void

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Criteria for an Activist Social Media Platform

10 Jun

Last weekend I attended the Unlocking Ideas hackathon run by the People’s History Museum and the Working Class Movement Library, both based in Manchester. The 24 hour hackathon took place in the incredible Islington Mill artist space in Salford. I’d never been to a hackathon before and wasn’t sure what to expect. With little or no technical skills in terms of computing I was worried that I’d be out of my depth and unable to contribute to what was going on. Thankfully this wasn’t the case.

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Cory Doctorow at How the Light Gets In

7 Jun

I spent some time last week in Wales, taking in the incredible landscapes and countryside but mainly making my first pilgrimage to the Mecca of books and literature that is Hay-on-Wye. As well as attending the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, I also attend a couple of talks at the How the Light Gets In festival of philosophy which runs parallel to the literature festival.

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Book Review: ‘Social Media. A Critical Introduction’ by Christian Fuchs

30 May

A version of this review is forthcoming in Anarchist Studies. More information on and sample chapters from the book are available at Christian Fuchs’ website.


In his Social Media. A Critical Introduction, Christian Fuchs sets out to provide an account of social media that draws on a Marxist understanding of economic exploitation and class. He does so by highlighting the political economy at work when we use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube and shows that in the case of these mainstream examples of social media they both mirror the power structures of capitalist society (according more influence to more economically powerful actors) (e.g. 190-2) and exploit the data that’s provided to them by users for free.

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The Cybernetics of Occupy

21 May

I was re-reading a few chapters of Stafford Beer’s The Brain of the Firm the other day and I had what I think amounts to a breakthrough in my research on organisational cybernetics, social media and social movements. I say breakthrough; it wasn’t a brilliant insight by any stretch of the imagination but it did give me a solution to a problem I’d been concerned with for a while.

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18 May

This is a short video I recorded on the meaning of Anarchist Studies and the prefigurative relationship between activism and academia. The video is part of a virtual issue of the journal Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, edited by Duane Rousselle. The full issue, available online, includes contributions from Ruth Kinna, Jacques Ranciere, Jamie Heckert, Nathan Jun, Jesse Cohn, Michelle Campbell and others, all answering the question, ‘What is Anarchist Studies?’


אם אין אני לי, מי לי? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני? ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי - ancom jewitch, sad poet

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'If you give Frodo Baggins a mobile phone, then the story of The Lord of the Rings becomes much shorter' - Paul Mason

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