Henry Farrell: Into the Breach (China Miéville)

Miéville brings these quotidian practices into stark perspective. He uses slips of perception and movement back and forth between cities to highlight the contingency of many of the social aspects of the real world. The City & the City draws no hard distinction between the world of fantasy and our own. Instead, Miéville seems to suggest, the real world is composed of consensual fantasies of varying degrees of power. The slippage isn’t between the real world and the fantastic, but between different, equally valid, versions of the real.

Boston Review — Henry Farrell: Into the Breach (China Miéville).

Comics and the City: An Interview with Jorn Ahrens

The city as social realm strongly refers to communication via images. Comics help turning these images into cultural narratives and aesthetics and to create outstanding icons of modern identity, landmarks of our self-understanding that are, by definition, not bound to specific cities or nations.

via Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: Comics and the City: An Interview with Jorn Ahrens.

Umberto Eco: ‚We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die‘

What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries.

Umberto Eco: ‚We Like Lists Because We Don’t Want to Die‘.

Powerpoint – The Un-Sociological Software

There is simply no way to express precise, detailed and well-articulated ideas or subjects through Powerpoint. The presentations then give the illusion of mastery, comprehension and control over a subject matter. Which means, again, that the most serious issues cannot be discussed through that medium. There is no room for complexity, complicated relations between economic, cultural and political elements. Powerpoint stifles discussion and reasoned argumentation through the bullet point format. It is surface over substance.

So, paradoxically, at the same time as workers are enjoined to use their creativity, it is forcibly channeled through the most impoverishing format where all that matters are strong points, key concepts, and action plans. All neatly lined up. Quite often, after the presentation itself, the presentation is the only document of reference that is preserved (”I missed the meeting, can you send me the Powerpoint?”).

via Powerpoint – The Un-Sociological Software

Storytelling Part 1: Change of Storytelling on Vimeo

Thoughts about the presence and future of storytelling from several media scholars from around the world. It’s the first one in a series by ith storytelling.

Death metal, religion and the socialization of emotion

[…] Metal: the focus on end times and Apocalyptic violence, the intense moral outrage, the polarized, almost Manichean world view, the sense of awe and respect for ritualized group behaviour, imagery of damnation, focus on the individual as a flawed moral actor, even the disregard for a material world seen as hopelessly corrupt.

Greg Downey – Death metal, religion and the socialization of emotion

Detecting Social Media Bullshit: A Sociologist’s View

[S]ocial media bullshitters have no knowledge of social theory or methodology. Trust a person who provides no easy answer, who carefully selects their research method, and who understands complex concepts.

Sam Ladner – Detecting Social Media Bullshit: A Sociologist’s View

Ian Bogost – There are no Blown Calls in Football

[I]n World Cup football blown calls do not exist as a concept in the game. Short of financial collusion or threat, the refs‘ perspective on the game is a part of the game, no different than the quality of a cross or the accuracy of a shot on goal. This is quite a different attitude than other sports take regarding officiating. The idea that a sport could so willingly and systemically embrace perspective is beautiful to me. Not only because it highlights the changing specificity of moment-to-moment configurations of player, ball, and officials, but also because it underscores the role of unfairness and randomness in human experience.

Ian Bogost – There are no Blown Calls in Football.

Enhancing the intranet with game theory » Column Two, James Robertson

Enhancing the intranet with game theory

How gaming mechanics might help fulfil a vision for the future of intranets.