Below are the latest entries in the CRESC blog.
Tue, Apr 16th 2013 by Jack Latimer
Sun, Jun 17th 2012 by Abigail Gilmore
On 3rd March this year, I learnt that a Manchester accountant had been using her lunch hour for the past week to go out in the city and take photographs of historic buildings, localities and blue plaques and post them online via Twitter. This may not have been so unusual – online image sharing is becoming increasingly popular, especially now that Instagram has been made available for Android smartphones – however what made it so was that she was...
Fri, Apr 27th 2012 by Hannah Knox
In January, Gemma John and I went to an exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery called Dark Matters: Shadow, Art, Technology.
Given interest at the moment in the Levenson Enquiry and the smoke and mirror relationship between the media and politics which it is revealing, I thought it might be interesting to share some reflections which we wrote after visiting the exhibition.
Thu, Jan 26th 2012 by Niall Cunningham
The sense of betrayal which has surrounded the revelations that some of the most enduring images of the twentieth century have been staged, such as Doisneau’s kissing couple in post-war Paris and Capa’s Spanish Civil War photo of ‘The Falling Soldier’, are in part, testament to the varying degrees of suspension of disbelief upon which different visual forms rely. Both photographs and maps attempt to convey a ‘truth’ about a particular space in time, but try as maps might to impose a...
Mon, Jan 23rd 2012 by John Law
Two years ago the FT ran a big series called 'The Future of Capitalism'. Now its running a series of articles under the more apocalyptic rubric of 'Capitalism in Crisis'. Since Christmas there have been more or less weighty contributions by a series of more or less substantial contributors including such FT regulars as Phillip Stevens, Andrew Hill and Martin Wolf, with guest spots by the great and the good including such luminaries as Ed Miliband, Jeffrey Sachs...
Thu, Dec 22nd 2011 by Hannah Knox
In 2012 we are to see the release of the first commercially available ‘light field camera’. The ‘Lytro’ camera reorders the idea of conventional photographic composition (compose, focus, shoot) by taking a photograph which can be focused ‘after the fact’. The technology behind it is explained on the Lytro website, and according to a recent article in the...
Wed, Dec 14th 2011 by John Law
Interesting, isn't it, how drawing gets itself marginalised. Andrew Hill makes the point nicely.
But perhaps it is that social scientists trade in words too much. Perhaps they tend to exclude drawings. I make this suggestion because engineers and scientists endlessly draw, sketch, and draft, when they are talking. There seems to be an essential visual component to such shop talk. Indeed, they joke about drawing on tablecloths in cafes over lunch (paper cloths are better than...
Tue, Nov 29th 2011 by Andrew Hill
CRESC’s Social Life of Methods theme for this year is ‘the visual’.
The place occupied by the visual in social science research raises multiple questions about the relationship between methods, the knowledge they produce, how this knowledge circulates and the impact it generates.
While there’s been an ongoing expansion in...
Tue, May 24th 2011 by John Law
Here’s the conundrum: when do we actually make decisions? And when do we not? Did you decide to brush your teeth this morning? Or did it just happen?
Speaking for myself, I sometimes make decisions. Sometimes I don’t make decisions, and I ought to. ‘Come on’, they say, ‘make up your mind.’ But most of the time I find that life is more like brushing your teeth. It happens. Things unfold. They go on. Decisions don’t seem to be relevant to it one way or the other. So what to...
Mon, Apr 4th 2011 by Evelyn Ruppert
The issue that my colleague Penny Harvey raises about categories and form-filling in her blog - Anomalous Categories: the 2011 census - points to more general issues about devices governments use to constitute their populations. In addition to being a statement on what categories count and what aspects of the life of a teenager matter to governing authorities, the census is also a device that...
Sat, Apr 2nd 2011 by Penny Harvey
Filling in the 2011 census last week made me wonder about the pitfalls that census data creates for future analytical work. I was struck in particular by how the census creates categories of anomalous persons from what are, in practice, quite mainstream social positionings. I’ve noticed one such case because it cuts across my mundane knowledge of British teenage life - others will doubtless have found other points in the form filling where they knew that their answers were no longer...
Thu, Feb 3rd 2011 by Evelyn Ruppert
Previously I pondered how the Wikileaks embassy cables might next be subjected to the numerous tools and software now available to interpret content such as word pattern analysis. A recent example provides some clues. In December 2010 an article published in Science (‘Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books’) described how a team of some 12...
Sun, Jan 30th 2011 by John Law
How well – or badly – do academics write?
In today’s Observer Nick Cohen says that we write pretty badly. In particular, we mostly fail to write in ways that communicate well with non-academic citizens. And this, he says, is crucially important at a moment when the government has removed state support from university social science and humanities courses in the UK. “...
Tue, Dec 21st 2010 by John Law
I've been scanning the reports of the Wikileaks in The Guardian since they started. Some I read, some I look at, but most I simply ignore. Selectivity seems to be an inevitable response in the face of the so-called 'data deluge'.
The Guardian's stories are just that: stories. It's a cliche, but visualisations are stories too. But what kinds of stories? Joseph Minard's graph of the the...
Mon, Dec 13th 2010 by Evelyn Ruppert
The release of embassy cables consisting of some 251,287 dispatches from more than 250 worldwide US embassies and consulates the WikiLeaks, has led to the declaration of the first global cyberwar. As Julian Assange is held in solitary confinement at Wandsworth prison, hackivists are mounting attacks on those who have targeted WikiLeaks, from credit card firms to online companies.
It is instructive that the government policy of...
Sun, Dec 12th 2010 by John Law
Welcome to CRESC's new web. We hope you like it! It's designed to reflect the second phase of CRESC, and our developing commitment to interdisciplinary and cross-cutting empirical and theoretical research. We've spent a lot of time and effort on the design, and on the content. What you'll see as you explore is the result of the efforts of a whole team of people both within and beyond CRESC.
Outside CRESC we're grateful to our designer and developer, Jack Latimer, and...