Some learnings from the gifting space

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about language and communication lately, particularly the largely-unexamined assumptions about language that lurk in the background of my particular branch of democratic theory. I’ll write something longer about that shortly, but broadly speaking I think of language in rather anthropological terms as fluid systems of social meaning-making, not as fixed systems for conveying pre-linguistic truth. Despite that, … Continue reading Some learnings from the gifting space

Hiding behind transparency: the UK government online information strategy?

In the last ten years, one of the great things about being an academic has been the explosion of public information available online. While I miss aspects of browsing through dusty archives and stacks, it’s been an awrful lot easier and an awful lot quicker to go to the relevant department or ministerial website and download some policy papers at a few clicks of the … Continue reading Hiding behind transparency: the UK government online information strategy?

Miranda and the policing of politics

The David Miranda case is causing outrage for all sorts of good reasons: interference in legitimate journalism, abuse of power, excessive powers being granted in the first place, detention without advice, etc etc. Underlying all this, however, is a set of issues that is not being talked about so much: the deliberate undermining of politics as a legitimate pursuit for anyone other than professional politicians. … Continue reading Miranda and the policing of politics

Cultural representations, identity and “come home” policy

This week I have a question more than a view to peddle or a conviction to push. And the question is this: does anyone out there know of research into the relationship between a nation’s self-presentations, its peoples’ sense of identity, and policy on national diasporas? Let me explain a little more. I’m a New Zealander and one who, to some extent, shares a trait … Continue reading Cultural representations, identity and “come home” policy

Paralympics, media, and the fear of saying the wrong thing

In our house, it became a nightly game during the Olympics to count the number of times athlete interviews started with (or consisted entirely of) a variation of the following: “So, how delighted are you with your medal?” “Oh, absolutely delighted…” Really? Do tell. The contrast with the Paralympic Games has been striking.┬áInterviews have ranged from the disarmingly frank to the wildly emotional to the … Continue reading Paralympics, media, and the fear of saying the wrong thing

Keeping up with Jones et al.

It’s not that long since I became a dedicated citizen of cyberspace. A bit like an apathetic voter, I’d dabbled for years because I thought I should, but I was always wary, partly due to privacy concerns, partly because I’m shockingly busy with work and family, and partly because I had no time for the drivel that seemed to occupy 99.99% of the interweb. That’s … Continue reading Keeping up with Jones et al.