Category: Featured

Book Review: Being Well in Academia: Ways to Feel Stronger, Safer and More Connected by Petra Boynton

In Being Well in Academia: Ways to Feel Stronger, Safer and More Connected, Petra Boynton provides a practical guide to how to recognise and confront the various issues that can arise from being in academia. Through Boynton’s sensitive approach to academic self-help, the book offers a succinct overview of the challenges that can be thrown at those … Continued

Reflecting on discomfort in research

Feelings of discomfort can arise in research, especially research that works across differences in social power and status. In this post Rachelle Chadwick discusses the role of discomfort in research methods and how recognising and ‘staying with’ discomfort can positively shape qualitative research methods. I’ll start with a confession: I didn’t want to write this … Continued

Putting social science in its place – Could social science parks be the answer to wicked problems?

Whilst many of the challenges addressed by the social sciences concern global issues, they are ultimately experienced and manifested within the specific context of communities and localities. In this post, Chris Taylor discusses SPARK, an initiative by Cardiff University to develop a ‘social science park’, and how bringing together transdisciplinary groups from academia and local … Continued

Book Review: Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation by Fadi A. Bardawil

In Revolution and Disenchantment: Arab Marxism and the Binds of Emancipation, Fadi A. Bardawil uncovers the archives of the Marxist Lebanese Left from the 1950s to the start of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, taking this history of revolutionary thought as a premise to explore the relation between theory and practice, the making of intellectuals and the … Continued

Universal Open Science policies risk alienating researchers

Open Science policies are becoming increasingly institutionalised at the national level. However, as Erika Lilja shows, the inherent contradictions of implementing Open Science policies in a uniform manner across all disciplines risks alienating researchers from these policies. Grand challenges, such as inequality and climate change, and sudden global challenges, such as COVID-19, require mission-based and solution-centered … Continued

Exposing the Costs of Uncounting, a review essay

What does it mean to be ‘uncounted’? It means that the uncounted – an event, an individual, a group – is invisible, absent from a world built on data. In this review essay, Mariel McKone Leonard examines two recent books, Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez and The Uncounted by Alex Cobham, that take up the task of documenting the true extent of uncounting and … Continued

Admitting failure is hard, but as academics we should learn to fail better

Failure is an inescapable part of any undertaking. However, in academia failure is rarely discussed or systematically approached. Drawing on her own experience of ‘failure moments’, Rachael Hains-Wesson discusses how applying Theory of Change models to academic projects can drive improvement in research practices and enable research to respond to failure in-the-moment, rather than in … Continued

Book Review: Veblen: The Making of an Economist Who Unmade Economics by Charles Camic

In Veblen: The Making of an Economist Who Unmade Economics, Charles Camic challenges the longstanding portayal of economic theorist Thorstein Veblen as a maverick outsider. Tracing the development of Veblen’s intellectual practices and affiliations, Camic instead finds an academic who was distinctly an insider, yet who turned his orthodox training against prevailing opinion. Offering an excellent account of … Continued

The (il)logic of legibility – Why governments should stop simplifying complex systems

Thea Snow, discusses how the desire to make complex systems ‘legible’ can serve to constrain policymaking and lead to decisions that reproduce an idealised, legible, but fundamentally limited vision of the world around us.  Sometimes, you learn about an idea that really sticks with you. This happened to me recently when I learnt about “legibility” … Continued