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26 JULY 2016

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom?

"Individual freedom is the dream of our age. It's what our leaders promise to give us, it defines how we think of ourselves and, repeatedly, we have gone to war to impose freedom around the world. But if you step back and look at what freedom actually means for us today, it's a strange and limited kind of freedom.

Politicians promised to liberate us from the old dead hand of bureaucracy, but they have created an evermore controlling system of social management, driven by targets and numbers. Governments committed to freedom of choice have presided over a rise in inequality and a dramatic collapse in social mobility. And abroad, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempt to enforce freedom has led to bloody mayhem and the rise of an authoritarian anti-democratic Islamism. This, in turn, has helped inspire terrorist attacks in Britain. In response, the Government has dismantled long-standing laws designed to protect our freedom.

The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behavior of the Soviet enemy."

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2007 • A Beautiful Mind (2001) • Adam CurtisAfghanistan • anti-democratic • authoritarianismBBC Two • bloody mayhem • cold war • contemporary idea of freedom • controlling system • deterministic logicdocumentary seriesexplicit objectivesfreedom of choicegame theory • goal-oriented agenda • government policygrand political dreamhuman behaviourindividual freedomindividualismIraqIslamism • John Nash • limited kind of freedom • mathematical modelmetricisation • narrow idea of freedom • neoliberalism • nuclear strategists • operational criteriaoversimplificationpersonal freedom • point of equilibrium • rational self-interest • Ronald David Laing • self-monitoring • simplistic model • social inequality • social management • social mobility • Soviet Union • state control • systems theory • target-oriented agenda • targets and numbers • the dream of our age

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 JULY 2016

My 93-year-old Flatmate: a Dutch retirement home experiment

"My 93-year-old Flatmate", by Aaron Lewis, Meggie Palmer, Bernadine Lim; Airdate: Tuesday, May 3, 2016 - 21:30; Channel: SBS.

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Aaron Lewis • ageing population • Bernadine Lim • care home • Deventer • drinking games • Dutch retirement home • elderly • flatmate • Gea Sijpkes • health and social carehealthcareHolland • Humanitas aged care home • intergenerational living • jigsaw • live rent free • live side-by-side • living side-by-side • living together • Meggie Palmer • Netherlandsprogressive societyretirement community • retirement home • sadness of death • SBS Dateline • sex talk • sharing the joys of life • young and old

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JULY 2016

Martin Cooper: Changing Life as We Know It with the Cell Phone

"Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone call in 1972, and communication has never been the same. Listen as Martin takes us through the invention process and shares how he predicts the technology will continue to evolve."

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19721973 • antenna and wireless communication • ArrayComm • AT and TBell Labs • car phone • cellphonecellular mobile networks • cellular networks • cellular phone • cellular technology • change the world • Chicago Ideas Week • communicationsdigital health • DynaTAC • Edison Talks • important technologiesinformation ageinvention • invention process • Jitterbug (cell phone) • Laura Desmond • Martin Cooper • mobile phonemobilityMotorolaNew York Citypatentspioneering technology • Star Trek Communicator • technological innovationtechnology pioneertechnology transparencytelecommunicationstelephone

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JULY 2016

Cassetteboy vs The Snoopers' Charter

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2016Cassetteboycollaged togetherConservative partycut-upcut-up techniquedata securityDavid Cameron • Every Breath You Take (song) • information privacy • Investigatory Powers Bill • Mark Bolton • mash-uppersonal datapoliticianprivacy policy • privacy protection • re-editre-purposeremix culture • snoopers charter • snooping • social commentary • Steve Warlin • The Police (band) • Theresa May • UK • UK politics • use of private information

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 JUNE 2016

The Materiality of Research: 'Woven into the Fabric of the Text: Subversive Material Metaphors in Academic Writing'

"In the social sciences, though, often we write about our research as if theories and arguments are buildings. Theories have frameworks and foundations and they need support. Arguments can be constructed, shored up by facts and buttressed with a solid line of reasoning. Sometimes they can be shaky and even fall down. But as well as communicating what we mean, metaphors structure our thinking. Or, at least, the metaphors we choose when we write can reveal a great deal about underlying assumptions. The theories-as-buildings metaphor always makes me imagine an enormous wall made of rectangular bricks, orderly and straight, progressing upwards and onwards. The researcher's job is to climb the scaffolding, find a gap near the top and make a brick to fill it, or to knock a few crumbling bricks out and replace them with others, strong and freshly fired. Or rarely, to grab a spade and start digging a new foundation, because this metaphor doesn't work like Minecraft: bricks can't float, unsupported.

Why does this way of thinking about knowledge hold such sway over us? For one thing, it offers a comforting sense of progress and control. Buildings have blueprints; their construction appears to proceed in a predictable fashion; engineers can calculate precisely where the load bearing walls and lintels need to be; construction workers know how to mix the mortar so it won't crumble. Making buildings is also something that happens in the public sphere; even with houses, the insides only become private when the work is finished and people move in. And though we all know full well that knowledge creation doesn't actually happen in the controlled and predictable way the metaphor implies, this is the structure that it imposes on our writing: an activity that is orderly, involves rationality over emotion and inhabits the public sphere not the private."

(Katie Collins, 27 May 2016)

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2016academic writingaffordances • building metaphors • conceptual metaphorcreative practicecultural practicesfeminine voice • generative practice • integrative practices • Katie Collins • material metaphors • metaphors structure our thinking • needlecraft metaphors • piecing together • predictable fashion • progress narrativesresearch activitiesresearchersewingsocial sciencestitching • theories-as-buildings metaphor • theory building • thinking about knowledge • underlying assumptions

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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