Democracy and culture

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    Book Review: Can Science Make Sense of Life? by Sheila Jasanoff

Book Review: Can Science Make Sense of Life? by Sheila Jasanoff

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In Can Science Make Sense of Life?, Sheila Jasanoff questions whether the scientific capacity to manipulate life at the molecular level should also give science the authority to define what life is for. Exploring various cases to show how (techno)scientific knowledge embeds and is embedded in our social practices, identities, norms, institutions and ways of speaking, this book is a salient […]

Why people need the dark web, whether they want it or not

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For people to have the level of privacy they need or think they are receiving, greater protections need to be erected for them, writes Ross Bellaby.

Never before has the real world been so interconnected with the cyber with an increasing amount of our everyday activity becoming digitised. However, what we say, what information we look at, and every online […]

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    Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear 

Why it’s bad for democracy when we ignore the voices we would rather not hear 

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Democracy requires that citizens be empowered to speak their minds across a wide range of issues. But in order to ensure democratic equality, do we have to include and listen even to those hateful, racist, or misogynistic voices that would seek to undermine democracy? Mary F. (Molly) Scudder argues that it is only with reference to the concept of ‘uptake’ that we can effectively deal with anti-democratic speech and arguments. She argues that if we first consider and […]

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    Newspaper fact checks, especially critical ones, can help keep political ads honest

Newspaper fact checks, especially critical ones, can help keep political ads honest

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In the lead up to and during election campaigns, newspapers run ad watches which comment on the accuracy of advertisements of political candidates. In new research Patrick C. Meirick looks at just how effective these ad watches are at ensuring political ads stay honest. He finds that the more ad watches a race had – and the more explicitly […]

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    Donald Trump’s pre-2017 tweets gave us clues about the kind of president he would become

Donald Trump’s pre-2017 tweets gave us clues about the kind of president he would become

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As was the case in his 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump conducts much of the visible part of his presidency via Twitter. But what can his pre-2016 tweets tell us about the President? Paromita Pain and Gina Chen analyzed over 30,000 of Donald Trump’s tweets from the eight years before Trump’s inauguration. They find that even before his presidential […]

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    Book Review: How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart

Book Review: How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart

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Originally published in 1971 in Chile to intense opposition from the right-wing media, in How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart offer a cultural critique of Donald Duck comic strips, showing them to be far from benign products of the US cultural industry. Recently reissued, the book is at once an incisive […]

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    Book Review: Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology by Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer

Book Review: Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology by Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer

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In Theory for the World to Come: Speculative Fiction and Apocalyptic Anthropology, Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer argues that speculative fiction offers a rich vein to theorise catastrophe and crisis in ways that are not paralysing or demoralising, drawing on the work of those such as Octavia E. Butler and Kurt Vonnegut. This book admirably succeeds in showing its source material to offer a […]

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    Book Review: Occult Features of Anarchism, with Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples by Erica Laglisse

Book Review: Occult Features of Anarchism, with Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples by Erica Laglisse

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In Occult Features of Anarchism, with Attention to the Conspiracy of Kings and the Conspiracy of the Peoples, Erica Laglisse challenges the assumption that rationality and secularism are at the centre of anarchism, instead showing how this is rooted in a disavowal of its roots in religious and occult thinking, with implications for how we view anarchism and conspiracy theories today. […]

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    How social media increases the reach of Trump’s racially coded attacks to activate racial prejudice

How social media increases the reach of Trump’s racially coded attacks to activate racial prejudice

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Earlier this month, President Trump tweeted that Democratic House Member Ilhan Omar – along with three other Democratic women of color – should “go back to where you came from”. Jamil Scott argues that Trump’s racially coded language has activated racial prejudice among his followers without even explicitly mentioning race. Social media, she writes, is now another avenue for […]

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    Book Review: Respawn: Gamers, Hackers and Technogenic Life by Colin Milburn

Book Review: Respawn: Gamers, Hackers and Technogenic Life by Colin Milburn

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In Respawn: Gamers, Hackers and Technogenic Life, Colin Milburn offers a detailed analysis of the entanglements of game cultures, political activism and the sociotechnical dilemmas of our present, drawing on a plethora of game examples and histories, online discussion threads and imagery. This is an engaging account that will be of interest to all those working at the intersections of digital media […]

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