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09 JUNE 2015

Living with the H-Index: metric assemblages in the contemporary academy

"This paper examines the relationship between metrics, markets and affect in the contemporary UK academy. It argues that the emergence of a particular structure of feeling amongst academics in the last few years has been closely associated with the growth and development of ‘quantified control’. It examines the functioning of a range of metrics: citations; workload models; transparent costing data; research assessments; teaching quality assessments; and commercial university league tables. It argues that these metrics, and others, although still embedded within an audit culture, increasingly function autonomously as a data assemblage able not just to mimic markets but, increasingly, to enact them. It concludes by posing some questions about the possible implications of this for the future of academic practice."

(Roger Burrows, 2012)

Burrows, Roger (2012). "Living with the h-index: Metric assemblages in the contemporary academy". The Sociological Review, 60(2), pp. 355-372. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article] : Goldsmiths Research Online. Available at: http://research.gold.ac.uk/6560/

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2012academic identities • academic value • Aidan Kelly • analytic error • Anne Kerr • audit culture • bibliometric measures • bygone era • campus novel • citation-based measures of impact • economic criterion • Frank Parkin • Full Economic Costing (fEC) • Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) • governmentality • h-index • higher education • incommensurable kinds of value • Key Information Set (KIS)knowledge economylaissez faire capitalismleague tables • magniloquence • managerialism • market economic imperatives • marketization of education • Mary Holmes • metricisationMichel Foucault • monetary value • neoliberal state • neoliberalism • Nick Gane • ordoliberalism • page rank • Paul Wakeling • professionalisation • proletarianisation • public sector • publish or perish • quantified control • quantified measurementquantitative analysis • quantitative criterion • RAEREFRoger Burrows • Ros Gill • Science Citation Index • Scopus • Simon Parker • university life • work stress • workload planning

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
06 MARCH 2015

Sexed up: theorizing the sexualization of culture

"This paper reviews and examines emerging academic approaches to the study of ‘sexualized culture’; an examination made necessary by contemporary preoccupations with sexual values, practices and identities, the emergence of new forms of sexual experience and the apparent breakdown of rules, categories and regulations designed to keep the obscene at bay. The paper maps out some key themes and preoccupations in recent academic writing on sex and sexuality, especially those relating to the contemporary or emerging characteristics of sexual discourse. The key issues of pornographication and democratization, taste formations, postmodern sex and intimacy, and sexual citizenship are explored in detail."

(Feona Attwood, 2006)

ATTWOOD, F. (2006). Sexed up: theorizing the sexualization of culture. Sexualities, 9 (1), 77-94.

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2006Anthony Giddens • attitudes to sex • auto-eroticism • Brian McNair • Brigid Costello • casual sex • Catharine Lumby • commercial sex services • consumption spectacle • contemporary sexual discourse • cybersex • David Bell • David Buckingham • David Evans • Debbie Stoller • Dennis Altman • diverse sexual identities • Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim • email affairs • erotic life • Eva Illouz • excitation • female sexualityfemininity • Feona Attwood • gender relations • hedonism • Hilary Radner • Imelda Whelehan • intimate relations • Jane Arthurs • Jane Juffer • Jeffrey Weeks • Jon Binnie • Joseph Bristow • Juniper Wiley • Kenneth Plummer • liquid love • literature review • Mandy Merck • Marcelle Karp • Marj Kibby • Mark Jancovich • Michel Foucault • Natasha Forrest • obscenityonline datingpersonal life • personal relationships • phone sex • physical pleasure • physical sensation • plastic sexuality • pornographication • postmodern sex • radical sexual politics • renewable pleasures • romantic encounters • romantic relationships • Rosalind Gill • Rosalind Given-Wilson • Sara Bragg • sex and commitment • sex and reproduction • sex toysexismsexual behaviour • sexual citizenship • sexual commodification • sexual democratisation • sexual desire • sexual discourse • sexual encounter • sexual experience • sexual fitness • sexual identities • sexual intimacy • sexual meaning • sexual objectification • sexual obscenity • sexual practices • sexual preoccupation • sexual propriety • sexual regulation • sexual representation • sexual sensibilities • sexual subjectification • sexual values • sexualised culture • sexualised depictionssexuality • sexualization • sexually explicit texts • Sheffield Hallam University • SHURA • Simon Hardy • Stacy Gillis • taste formations • transient pleasures • Ulrich Beck • Walter Kendrick • William Simon • Zygmunt Bauman

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
14 NOVEMBER 2014

NHS Innovation Diffusion: digital tools and social movements

"There is innovation inside the NHS. But innovations tend to stay local, failing to be adopted by other healthcare organisations or diffusing very slowly. This challenge is well recognised. But what's the problem? Given the assembled talents and good intentions of NHS staff, how can the systemic sum of innovation be so much less than its parts?

The NHS is sometimes described in terms of it's hierarchical structure. For my purposes it's useful to describe the current NHS using the language of philosopher–activists Deleuze & Guattari. In their terms, the NHS is a striated space marked by linear boundaries, restricted to a particular plane of activity in the space of all possible potentials[1]. For Deleuze & Guattari, like Foucault before them, power does not simply operate as a pyramid but in myriad multifaceted directions and relationships. Foucault said 'One doesn't have a power which is only in the hands of one person who exercises it alone... it is a machine in which everyone is caught, those who exercise power as much as those over whom it is exercised.. it becomes a machinery that noone owns'[2]. The overall effect is an institutional environment that acts to tame energies it is a social machine that produces conformity. As Deleuze & Guattari would say, the NHS is highly codified, where a code is a pattern of repeated acts. Of course, there are many situations where this is desirable–an ICU emergency needs a practiced response. But it doesn't make for a system that diffuses innovation.

Anyone who's returned from an innovation workshop and tried to applied new ideas in their NHS workplace has experienced this striation. It's the overlap in particular experience of all the dynamics that limit change: lack of autonomy in a hierarchical structure, the expectations of colleagues, the time it takes to deliver your daily targets, the lack of incentive, the lack of peer support, lack of sense of entitlement to change the way things are done all of which can combine to deliver an experiential straitjacket which is an impersonal affect, a pattern across the system and one that stifles diffusion as effectively as individual innovation.

The alternative is a system marked by flows, connections and zones of intensity. In the abstract terminology of Deleuze & Guattari, an innovative system would include smooth as well as striated spaces. Smooth space is occupied by intensities and events, by the continuous variation of free action. The characteristic experience of smooth space is short term, up close, with no fixed points of reference. I will try to show how the combination of social movements and digital technologies could blend smooth space with the more rigid boundaries and caste structures of the NHS in a way that aids the spread of innovation."

(Dan McQuillan, 2011)

[1] Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari (1980). A Thousand Plateaus. Trans. Brian Massumi. London and New York:Continuum, 2004.
[2] Foucault, Michel (1975). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, New York: Random House.

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2011 • a practiced response • an impersonal affect • change the way things are done • codified • conformityconnections • continuous variation • Dan McQuillan • diffusion • digital movements • digital technologiesevents • expectations of colleagues • experiential straitjacket • Felix Guattariflows • free action • Gilles Deleuze • healthcare organisations • hierarchical structure • ICU emergency • individual innovation • innovation diffusion • innovation workshop • innovative system • institutional environment • intensities • lack of autonomy • lack of incentive • limiting change • linear boundaries • local innovation • machinery • Michel Foucault • myriad multifaceted directions • myriad multifaceted relationships • NHS • no fixed points of reference • ownership • particular plane of activity • peer support • philosopher-activists • power • pyramid structure • sense of entitlement • short term • smooth spacesocial computing • social machine • social movements • spread innovation • striated space • striation • up close • zones of intensity

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 OCTOBER 2014

Questioning the goal of efficiency in contemporary culture

"Efficiency in human behavior is a goal that is rarely questioned in contemporary culture. This course will study and draw connections between disparate fields to trace the development and influence of this view. The course, drawing a mix of humanities and engineering students, will include readings and lectures on 19th and 20th century philosophers with discussions of new technology and team experimental projects.

Frederick Taylor, the father of industrial engineering, analyzed human motion to optimize industrial productivity, which had great influence on Henry Ford, military logistics, and Stalin. Michel Foucault traced the history of the minute analysis of human motion from Napoleon's methods for transforming peasants into soldiers to modern methods for reforming prisoners. Martin Heidegger claimed that 'efficient ordering' was the defining characteristic of modern culture. Through the course, students will learn to recognize how this obsession with efficiency for its own sake relates to technology and to their daily lives."

(Questioning Efficiency: Human Factors and Existential Phenomenology, UC Berkeley course syllabus, Fall 2006)

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Albert Borgmann • Anson Rabinbach • Anton BragagliaBerkeley (University of California)capture a moment of timechronophotographycooking in the kitchen • critique of technology • Dale Huchingson • dematerialization of objects in space • Eadweard Muybridgeefficiency • efficient ordering • Eliot Eliofson • Emily Fox • engineering students • Etienne-Jules Marey • everyday life • existential phenomenology • fotodinamismo • Frank Gilbreth • Frederick Taylor • geometric chronophotograph • goal • golfer • Henri BergsonHenry Ford • homemaker • Hubert Dreyfushuman behaviourhuman bodyhuman factorshuman factors in designhuman motion • Idris Khan • increased productivityindustrial engineering • industrial productivity • infinite continuity of time • James Gleick • Joseph Stalin • Ken Goldberg • kitchen • kitchen studies • lecture programmeLillian Gilbrethlong exposure • management science • Marcel DuchampMartin Heideggermeasure performancemetricisationmetricsMichel Foucault • military logistics • model kitchen • modern culture • modern homemaker • motion studiesNapoleon Bonaparte • Nude Descending a Staircase (1912) • objects in motion • obsession with efficiency • philosophy of technologyproductivity • reconstruction of movement • schematic phases • scientific goalssimultaneityslow motion photographystudying motiontechnologyThe Kitchen Practical (1929) • time and motion studies • time savingtime-motion studies • Umberto Boccioni • wasted motion

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2014

Michel Foucault's Biopolitics

"we can call 'biopolitics' the specific strategies and contestations over problematizations of collective human vitality, morbidity and mortality. Over the forms of knowledge, regimes of authority, and practices of intervention that are desirable, legitimate and efficacious."

(Paul Rabinow and Nikolas Rose, 12 October 2003)

TAGS

2003biopolitical power relationsbiopolitics • biopower • bipolar technology • birthbody • collective existence • conceptual clarification • genomic medicine • longevity • mechanisms of life • Michel Foucault • modes of subjectification • morbidity • mortality • political struggle • populationrace • regulatory controls • reproductionsexualitysociology • strategies for the governing of life • technologies of power • the character of living human beings • truth discourses

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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