2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Music to Write Books To

UntitledI participated in an ESRC-sponsored seminar last week on the theme of the politics and economies of attention, which was interesting and fruitful in all sorts of ways. Lots of the work on this topic turns around a distinction between ‘good’ forms of attention, which is focussed and contemplative and “deep”, and ‘bad’ forms of attention, which is fleeting, distracted. A certain sort of reading of a certain sort of text is the model against which other forms of attention are often judged in a great deal of high theorizing on this topic.

Trying to find something interesting to say about this topic made me aware of how the ways in which I work, both in relation to reading and writing, do not quite conform to the expected model of scholarly attention. I read with the TV on, and write while listening to music or the radio, and not serious Radio 3-type music either (it’s generally a matter of choosing between Taylor’s 1989 and Ryan’s 1989). This way of working may or may not be reflected in the depth of understanding of ideas and thinkers displayed in the things that I write. I actually find it rather odd to write, in particular, in silence. I am still in recovery from having finished a book manuscript, and found myself today, while sitting in a hairdressers, not having my hair done, constructing a list of songs that, more or less tangentially, capture something of the experience of writing the sort of book I have been trying to write for the last year and a half:

  1. I Just Don’t Understand – Spoon
  2. Jacques Derrida – Scritti Politti
  3. Acid Tongue – Jenny Lewis
  4. Distractions – Bobby Darin
  5. Why Theory – Gang of Four
  6. Unputdownable – Róisín Murphy
  7. Waking Up – Elastica
  8. We Love You – Psychedelic Furs
  9. Drink in My Hand – Eric Church
  10. Gone Daddy Gone – Violent Femmes

10 Best Books (I haven’t read) in 2015

IMG_0215I spent much of this year trying to write my own book, which ended up being all-consuming in various ways. I have read plenty of stuff in a “need-to-look-at-this-for-the-book-even-though-it-won’t-make-the-final-cut” kind of way. So it’s been a year of reading instrumentally, if you see what I mean. There are various books I haven’t read but which I want/need to read soon, for fun or for new/deferred research and teaching projects. Amongst others, they include:

  1. Ivan Vladislavic, 101 Detectives.
  2. James McPherson, The War that Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters.
  3. Patrick Modiano, The Search Warrant.
  4. Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time.
  5. Marie Luise Knott, Unlearning with Hannah Arendt.
  6. James Ferguson, Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution.
  7. Steven Friedman, Race, Class and Power: Harold Wolpe and the Radical Critique of Apartheid.
  8. Lisa Gitelman, Paper Knowledge: Towards a Media History of Documents.
  9. Wolfgang Streeck, Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism.
  10. Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore, Fast Policy: Experimental Statecraft at the Thresholds of Neoliberalism.

Space, Power and the Commons: new book in Place, Space and Politics series

9781138841680The latest book in the Routledge Research in Place, Space and Politics series is now published (technically it is a 2016 book) – Space, Power and the Commons: The struggle for alternative futures is edited by Sam Kirwan, Leila Dawney and Julian Brigstocke, and is associated with the Authority Research Network. It’s an important addition to the literature on the theme of ‘the commons’, not least because it draws together discussions of high theory on this topic (Hardt, Nancy, Ranciere, etc) with empirical analyses of practices of ‘commoning’.

This is the second title to appear in the Place, Space and Politics series, after the collection on Urban Refugees. There are more titles in the pipeline. More details on the series, including guidelines for submitting proposals, can be found here and here.