Somewhere in these boxes is a copy of Illuminations, the collection through which Walter Benjamin’s writings are known to English-speaking undergraduates everywhere. And somewhere within that is Benjamin’s 1931 essay, ‘Unpacking my library’. Benjamin was moving his books after a divorce, but I’m moving mine because I have a new job with a contract that comes into effect today. I’m sad to move on from the University of Leicester, which has been one of my happier academic homes. But as of now, I am Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Artificial Intelligence at King’s College London, and on Monday I will begin to unpack.
My article ‘ “Hitler had a valid argument against some Jews”: repertoires for the denial of antisemitism in Facebook discussion of a survey of attitudes to Jews and Israel’, which was published online in April this year, has now appeared in the August issue of Discourse, Context & Media. It explains the background to the antisemitism crisis that has now engulfed the Labour Party leadership, then analyses some of the ways in which Labour supporters deny the existence of antisemitism before looking at how the largest unofficial Labour Party Facebook group makes the problem worse by readily expelling those who challenge antisemitism but only expelling antisemites for extreme transgressions.
Public seminar by Daniel Allington
Starts: 16:00 15 Nov 2017
At: Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis, University of Manchester
Who follows British politicians on social media? Who stood with Ken Livingstone online? What would it be like to get all your political news from Twitter?
For over a year, I’ve been seeking answers to these questions and more using data scraping and a mixed methods approach centred on social network analysis. Social media have changed British political culture, creating quasi-celebrities out of figures who would otherwise have been condemned to the margins, and giving wide circulation to ideas long believed to be politically defunct – most alarmingly, the belief in an international conspiracy of Jews. In this seminar, I will present theoretical and methodological approaches to the large-scale study of online political culture, as well as sharing preliminary findings.
Open to all. Booking via the University of Manchester events website.
Really looking forward to the coming months. So many plans for research and for bringing it into the classroom – and so many great colleagues to work with.
The first peer-reviewed journal article arising from the Valuing Electronic Music project has now been published in Cultural Trends as part of a special issue on empirical research into cultural value guest-edited by Dave O’Brien. It focuses on a key finding of the project: even though musicians can now distribute their music for free via the internet, their real-world location remains hugely important. Through qualitative research, we found that electronic musicians in London (a) considered themselves to benefit from being based in that city, and (b) considered a particular part of that city (the highly gentrified, ‘hipsterish’ district of Shoreditch and its immediate surroundings) to be particularly advantageous for less commercial kinds of music. Through quantitative research, we found SoundCloud users based in London to occupy a position at the centre of a network of ‘following’ relationships in which the next best locations appeared to be New York and Los Angeles. Our findings are consistent with the view that the 21st century ‘new media’ produce similar exclusions to the ‘big media’ of the 20th century and do not create anything resembling a level playing field between signed and unsigned artists, provincial and metropolitan scenes, or the developed and the developing world.
The article is open access so please download the full text to read for yourself.
Allington, D., Dueck, B., and Jordanous, A. (2015). ‘Networks of value in electronic music: SoundCloud, London, and the importance of place’. Cultural Trends 24 (3): pp. 211-222.
I haven’t had time to work on this blog for a long time. In the meantime, various things have happened. Here are three of them:
- The decision to dismiss Casey Brienza from her post at City University was overturned on appeal last September. See the petition for details.
- I got a new job, this time in digital cultures rather than linguistics, at the University of the West of England.
- My paper on social networks, cultural value, and interactive fiction / text adventure games is once again forthcoming, but not from where I originally thought it was going to come forth from.
The list could (and probably should) go on, even if limited (as per usual for this blog) to non-personal issues. But I still haven’t got time.
That said, it’s good to be posting again. And to have a new theme for the website.
See you around.
My friend Casey Brienza has been dismissed from her post at City University, London. So she must have done something bad, right? Actually, no. Isn’t that an ‘unfair dismissal’? It is indeed – but thanks to a change in the law made by the coalition government, it is no longer possible (except under certain very limited circumstances) to bring a case for unfair dismissal to tribunal for an employee with less than 24 months’ service, which means that if you have – like Casey – been with your employer for under two years, your employment rights are effectively nil.
Casey’s a great scholar and a great teacher, and she has the support of almost all her departmental colleagues. If you don’t think that what’s happening to her is okay, sign the petition.
Upstairs at The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Rd, London N1 9JB
6 June 2014
Valuing Electronic Music is an ongoing study of electronic music and the people who value it, carried out by Daniel Allington (Open University), Anna Jordanous (King’s College, London), and Byron Dueck (Open University). Our work explores how the value of electronic music transcends economic value for producers, DJs, and audiences – and how geographical location continues to play a significant role in the recognition of musical value even where musical scenes become increasingly international (thanks in large part to websites such as SoundCloud). Such findings have implications for the careers of music-makers more generally.
On 6 June, we are holding a public event at The Lexington in Angel, Islington, featuring talks, live performances, and an interactive panel discussion with electronic music producers. Come along to find out what we and other researchers have discovered, as well as to hear some great music and to put your own questions to the people who make it. You are welcome to drop in at any time.
4.30 Doors open
5.00 Free food
5.45 Music: Glitch Lich
6.30 Talk: Luis-Manuel Garcia
7.00 Music: Winterlight
7.45 Talk: Daniel Allington, Anna Jordanous, Byron Dueck
8.15 Music: Slackk
9.00 Panel: Chad McKinney (Glitch Lich), Tim Ingham (Winterlight), Paul Lynch (Slackk)
The Valuing Electronic Music project combines social network analysis of online data with ethnographic interviewing and observation to understand how music-makers produce value for their own and one another’s work, especially in genres without mainstream recognition. It is currently supported by an AHRC Research Development Grant. For more information, visit our webpage at http://www.open.ac.uk/vem/
I published my first piece to this blog twelve months ago to the minute. Has it really been that long? Yes, it has really been that long. And what have I learnt? What I have learnt is that the use for which I intended this website is not perhaps the use to which a website is best put. This is how I expressed myself in my very first post (just this once, I’ll dispense with a full bibliographic reference):
Continue reading “A year in the academic blogosphere”
Investigators: Daniel Allington (Open University), Anna Jordanous (King’s College London), Byron Dueck (Open University)
Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council 
Duration: 3 Feb to 31 July 2014
Cultural value is one of those areas in which (as the saying goes) perceptions are also realities. Thus, sociologists have argued that the production of cultural value is actually the production of a form of belief. Although popular accounts of how art gets made tend to focus on brilliant individual creators, research has highlighted over and over again that their work typically emerges from a creative milieu, in which value (or belief in value) comes into existence. This highlights the complex relationship between professional, semi-professional, and amateur cultural production, and may explain why so many cultural producers create work primarily for appreciation by their peers.