Monday, 27 October 2008

Frankie Boyle on Identity Theft.

"Identity cards wont stop identity theft. They just mean that when it does're f**ked"

"Oh no!, I've lost my passport. I'll need new eyeballs and finger transplants."

clip here -the above is towards the end.

the implicit and explicit political information in social networks

Good news today. The paper that I presented at Towards a Social Science of Web 2.0 in York in 2007, written with Stuart Reeves, (then of the University of Nottingham Mixed Reality Lab, now at Glasgow) will be featuring in the next but one issue of the journal British Politics.

'Facebook as a Political Weapon' uses a case study approach to look at the way that social networks contain both explicit and implicit data, as well as the questions this raises for politics. It's going to be featured as part of British Politics' 'beyond the mainstream' section, where the editors are attempting to showcase research work that impacts upon British politics, but isn't narrowly focussed upon party politics, elections and the like.

It was fun working on the paper with Stuart, and it'll be good to see that it gets a home somewhere. I think its important to produce research which crosses disciplinary boundaries, or at the very least, uses some IT to do informed social research.

Stuart is an interesting fellow, and his research page linked above is worth checking out. He's worked with Blast Theory, the artistic group which John McGrath (Author of 'Loving Big Brother') talked about with enthusiasm at the InVisibilities surveillance studies conference in Sheffield this year. Also he had his viva a week before mine, and also passed with corrections.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

linking and referencing.

I just realised, I have a tendency to write references in academic documents as if they were hyperlinks. Apparently they're not.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

mini stylistic rant

I had my PhD viva recently. I passed, with corrections. This is a good thing.
I have a list of corrections that I need to make to the document, provided by the two examiners.
I've started making these changes, and there's one that's taking a while.

The examiners had issue with the use of quote marks in the text, which weren't not direct quotations. They refered to these as scare quotes and have asked me to remove them. There's a lot of them. I'm diligently removing them all, and its taking me a while.

But, there's a reason they're there. My research looks at discourse. Now there are two ways to produce an analysis of discourse. One involves attaching every quote to a specific author. However, there are many regularities in discourses, which are spotted by the analysis, but come straight from multiple points in the discourse. They recur so frequently, that attaching them to a specific author is actually not representing the full spread of the mentality.

So if a sentence was talking about 'identity' in a discourse, the intention would be to show that this was the way a specific concept was being utilised in a specific group's discourse, rather than giving credibility to the statement. The attempt is to put a caveat around the use of the term.

Also there are times when you just need to say 'this is how people say something' but it's not true, that's not the way the world is. The one I just deleted was talking about 'clean' identities. Clean is a metaphor. Somebodies identity can't really be clean.

or am I just dragging back a realist ontology and epistemology into my thinking?

through punctuation?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

speed camera article

Currently working on the (final?) draft of the speed cameras paper for submission next week. Just running through some of the protest group websites looked at in the paper, and found this image on the Association of British Drivers. Nice bit of subvertising or detournement. A 'rearticulation' of speed cameras as a form of crime rather than a technology of public safety.

identity and cyber-security awareness

It's Identity fraud prevention awareness week here in the UK, and Cyber-Security Awareness month in the US.

Monday, 6 October 2008

(nearly) Dr Wills

I passed my viva voce examination for my doctorate at the University of Nottingham on Friday afternoon. I now have three months to make the corrections suggested by the examiners, David Murakami Wood and David Stevens. Hopefully, I'll get the list of those fairly soon so I can crack on with them.

Very pleased with this outcome, and the viva itself was a learning experience, with several things to think about (as was re-reading through my thesis in preparation for the event). So my thanks to both examiners. I'll be reviewing some of the material as I work through the corrections, and David MW's going to give me a list of things to read, which I'm looking forward to, so some of the outputs from that should make their way here.

I need to clarify some of my arguments, bring 'the biggest theoretical output in the whole thesis' (which turns out to involve Deleuze!) out to the front and put it centre stage, cut out some elements that remain from older version of the argument (but might actually be strongly present in the IDIS paper), make clear my normative position (which will also help to cement the validity model of the project) and brush up on the complexity of surveillance history. Apparently, the best written part of the paper was the account of foucauldian Governmentality theory (which I am cemented in my belief of its applicability to the current research project).