Author: Taster

Book Review: Plagues and the Paradox of Progress by Thomas J. Bollyky

In Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, Thomas J. Bollyky combines a ‘germ’s eye view’ of human history with some powerful reflections on the challenges that face us over the coming decades. This is a beautifully written book, recommends Duncan Green, packed with great one-liners and historical anecdotes. This review was originally published on the From Poverty … Continued

Weibo – How is China’s second largest social media platform being used for social research?

Social media research in the global north is primarily focused on western social media platforms, notably Twitter and Facebook. In this post Shulin Hu describes how researchers have used data from Weibo, China’s second most popular social media platform, to undertake a variety of research projects and provides resources for researchers looking to use Weibo … Continued

Dealing with Covid-19 requires pre-emptive action to realistically communicate risks to the public

Across the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to some of the largest state interventions in public and private life in living memory. In this repost, Joan Costa-Font, drawing on research showing that the way in which people tend to perceive risk is dependent on precedent, social networks and physical proximity, argues that these mechanisms are ill suited to … Continued

From the armchair to the field – Mapping the impact of academic philosophy

The abstract nature of philosophy, and sometimes philosophers themselves, has often contributed to the perception that the discipline has difficulty engaging with wider social issues and hence impact. Using evidence from REF2014 impact case studies, Diana Hicks and J. Britt Holbrook chart five ways in which philosophers have achieved impact and applied philosophical thinking to … Continued

Editorial: Social science in a time of social distancing

The spread of the Covid-19 virus has presented an unparalleled challenge for society, academia and the social sciences. As universities across the UK and the world have halted teaching activities, closed campuses and moved to online forms of working, major changes have been asked of individuals and society as a whole. As of last week, … Continued

Book Review: The Quirks of Digital Culture by David Beer

In The Quirks of Digital Culture, David Beer provides a patchwork of quirky vignettes that together create a representative picture of the cultural environment in which we now live, showing how digital culture offers a means of access, insight and possibility while also bringing the payoff of surveillance, manipulation and a sense of inescapability. Ignas Kalpokas highly … Continued

Don’t Just Debunk Covid-19 Myths. Learn From Them

The spread of Covid-19 across the globe has gone hand in hand with the spread of rumours and myth about the virus. In this repost, Anita Makri, discusses how social science research has played a vital role in responding to previous epidemics and argues that rather seeing Covid-19 myths as a problem of information deficit, they … Continued

Book Review: Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

In Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events, Robert J. Shiller argues for the significance of narrative when it comes to understanding the drivers of economic events, arguing that contagious narratives not only play a causal role in their unfolding but also that such events transform our narratives. The book raises important issues, writes … Continued

The COVID-19 Online Pivot: The Student Perspective

In his previous post, Martin Weller reflected on the challenges facing university staff facing an indefinite period of distance learning. In this post, he suggests that consideration should be given to students as well as academic staff, who will be deprived of much of the infrastructure and support that face to face teaching supplies, often without … Continued

The COVID-19 online pivot: Adapting university teaching to social distancing

As universities respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by closing campuses and shifting to online forms of distance learning, many institutions and educators are scrambling to develop online engagement plans. In this repost, Martin Weller (Professor of Education Technology at the Open University) brings together a number of useful for resources for anyone looking to develop online learning … Continued