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Towards a better public conversation | New Public Thinking

The End of the Career: A Long View

  |  September 27, 2011

Abstract I argue that we may be witnessing not the stopping and stalling of some careers but the more far-reaching conclusion that the very idea of a career may be coming to an end. In what follows, I tease out the social implications of the end of the career and then provide some prima facie evidence in support of this speculative thesis […]

On Ecosystems, Adam Curtis and Positions of Power

  |  September 19, 2011

Ecosystems and biological metaphors are everywhere these days. People have been thinking and theorising in these terms for decades. Kevin Kelly’s Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines… is nearly twenty years old. However, the mentions of learning ecosystems, knowledge ecosystems, business ecology for start-ups, and so on, seem to have been proliferating recently. […]

Don’t leave us this way

  |  September 6, 2011

Red Wedge was an alliance of working class punks and aspirational, Face-reading suburbanites with a social conscience. From 1987, music and comedy tours helped to get Neil Kinnock elected Labour Prime Minister, almost. Labour-aligned celebrities failed to resist the rise of New Labour. The temptation is to consign Red Wedge to history along with memories […]

Two Stories of Uncivilization

  |  August 30, 2011

These two pieces were originally delivered on August 20th, during the opening lecture on “Collapsonomics” at the 2011 Uncivilization Festival, in Hampshire, UK, an event about the stories we tell ourselves in the face of a difficult future. Rust in the Scabbard Dear brothers and sisters, Dear enemies and friends, Your future ended ten years […]

Keep calm, clean up – but don’t let things get “back to normal”

  |  August 12, 2011

As the English weather promises an unusually welcome dampness for the days ahead, surely we can all hope that things are calming down. Let us not say “getting back to normal”, though, because “normal” meant ignoring the social and cultural collapse out of which this week’s troubles erupted. The desire to make things better which […]

3D Crash

  |  August 3, 2011

This Summer, Hollywood takes the easy way out… A few months ago I sat in the pub opposite the British Museum where Karl Marx retreated after writing sessions. I was in the company of some friends from journalism and the anarchist squat scene in London. This was in early March, in the midst of protests […]

A Prayer to the God of Unsettled Times

  |  July 24, 2011

For the sociologist Ann Swidler, an ‘unsettled time’ is characterized by the transition from workable habits to new ideas. ‘I have come to see improvisation as the deep skill and attitude which we need for the times that  we’re already in and heading further into.’ –Dougald Hine, ‘Remember the Future,’ Dark Mountain Project: Issue 2. ‘We […]

‘It’s wrong to wish on space hardware’: The power and failure of Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth mythos

  |  July 12, 2011

One aim of New Public Thinking is to create a space in which we can do our thinking in public, sharing work in progress, rather than waiting until there’s a polished artefact to present and defend. It is in that spirit that I want to share the following: a recording of the improvised talk I […]

The bail row — a loophole to be closed, or an abuse about to be sanctioned?

  |  July 6, 2011

From the reporting of the recent High Court ruling on the detention of suspects, you would think we were at risk of chaos on the streets as criminals walk free. Home Secretary Theresa May is to bring in emergency legislation to “close the loophole” which would prevent the police repeatedly arresting and questioning a suspect […]

Who are we?

  |  July 5, 2011

This is not the first post I’d want to write for a venue like this; far from it.  I’ve got a list of other things to write — a piece about designer currencies, another about larp as form of embodied thought.  I’m also not particularly happy that I’m the one to write this, and yet someone must.  […]