Category Archives: Social History

Markets and Public Institutions

The final paragraph of a long piece in the October 24th issue of the London Review of Books by Stefan Collini on the thorough-going marketisation of the British higher education system absolutely nails the massive paradox at the heart of … Continue reading

Salons: where good ideas continue to come from…

EPIC Salons: Creating spaces for ideas to flourish What do San Francisco in the 1960’s, Vienna at the turn of last century, Calcutta during the 1800s and London in the 17th and 18th centuries have in common? The simple answer … Continue reading

The 'burbs

The suburbs. Victims of abuse and scorn and the net curtain twitching middle classes. A new exhibition at the London Transport Museum explores the suburbs and Joe Moran, that  ethnographer of the mundae par excellence, has written a short piece for the FT outlining … Continue reading

Still Spinning World

At times like these it is as well to remember that the world is still spinning, the sky has not yet fallen in and life will continue. This piece by Bruno Argento – Italian futurist, a cautious optimist, and Bruce Sterling’s twin … Continue reading

Words, Words, Words

An NYT piece examines the content of previous innaugral speeches from 1789 to yesterday, sizing the words according to the frequency of their use. The words highlighted in yellow were used significantly more in this inaugural address than average. Unsurpisingly, Dubya's … Continue reading

Big Job, Good Job

Thinking Allowed (10th Sept 2008) alerted me to this fascinating looking book on, well, poo. It appears to adopt the now familiar 'social life' approach examining a substance and set of practices which, for reasons that are as obvious as … Continue reading

Healthy Mass Observation

The Mass Observation project/movement lives on (new website too). I'm particularly intrerested in the latest directive – call to observers to write in on a specific issue (want to become one?) - which is focused on health and social care experiences – You … Continue reading

Murmurs of older people's stories

Murmur hits Dublin, with a focus on older people’s oral histories of the docklands of the city: [murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people’s … Continue reading

When an old technology is old

Recently unearthed during what amounted to an archeological dig in the boot of a car we imported into Ireland was a stash of old tapes. I couldn’t help but reflect both on the social life of these tapes – their … Continue reading

Black Gold in the Past and Present

In the Times Literary Supplement, a review of a four volume collection of original sources on Eighteenth Century Coffee-House Culture, edited by Markman Ellis who has authored a cultural history of these ‘penny universities’ (The Coffee House: a cultural history). … Continue reading