home cooked theory

productivity outside the enterprise

Typewriter, telephone, transistor

Here’s a write up of my paper from the recent Terms of Media conference at Leuphana University. This is a draft heading for Judy Wajcman and Nigel Dodd’s forthcoming collection, The Sociology of Speed: Digital, Organizational and Social Temporalities. And since it is material coming out of my own book, Counterproductive, all feedback at this […]

Writing in the periphery

Some new publications I’ve been working on lately… Inside the Data Spectacle, forthcoming in Television and New Media: This paper focuses first on the scopophilic aspects of large scale data visualization – the fantasy of command and control through seeing (Halperin 2014) – and places these in relation to key sites and conventions inside the […]

Counterproductive: Towards mindful labor

Excerpt written for iDC in the lead up to the Digital Labor Conference, The New School, November 14-6 Affective capitalism is defined by the articulation of self-fashioning practices with a productivity imperative. We work on ourselves in order to be productive, but without an overarching referent or guide for our actions. To feel productive is […]


This week I’m heading to Georgia Tech to host a ‘metahack’ – an event where we learn about hackathons by adopting many of their features and practices. Over the past year a number of ISTC-Social researchers have been studying hackathons as unique socio-technical encounters. Fieldwork across different US cities and internationally is showing that these […]

Data sweat

A link to more work in progress. This paper is my first effort to bring cultural studies in to the world of high tech. It starts with some ground clearing etymology before introducing three new concepts: data agents, data sweat, and data exhaust. All three are efforts to expand the critical and ethical vocabulary for […]

How we became professional, part 3 – From organizations to collectives

(… continued from parts 1 & 2) Now that I work for industry, this interest in the history of professionalism needs to bear relevance to the practices of a company. Part of the learning curve for my job so far is grappling with the ingrained register of critique that has been an inheritance of my […]

Speculations on Airbnb

These notes arise from discussions at the recent ‘Privacy and Accountability’ workshop at Intel and from excellent conversations with Maria Bezaitis. 1. Who do we live with now? Airbnb allows a new scale of possibility for long-term and short-term intimacy. People share their house with strangers, every day of the week. The desire for proximity […]

Finding composure

Kenneth Burke’s “Literature as Equipment for Living” (1941) is an early attempt to offer a sociological approach to literature – one that can account for the role of popular textual forms in cementing social relations. As a work of criticism, it proposes a method for assessing literary works as responses to ‘typical, recurrent social situations’ […]

On the fallacy of the zoom

Notes from Bruno Latour’s closing keynote at Paris CHI. I Latour’s opening provocation set the agenda: ‘There are no collective phenomena’. Rather, collectives contain the work of collecting (as we will see, contain can have several senses here: to hold, to include, to limit). There are many collecting devices which generate collected data. There is […]

Transmissions and entanglements

This month the ISTC-Social hosted Nina Wakeford and Kat Jungickel from Goldsmiths College, London for a discussion called Transmissions and Entanglements: Uses of inventive methods. Both Nina and Kat are interested in presenting research in non-textual forms, and creating methods that are crafted to the problem under consideration. Kat’s phrase to capture this epistemology – […]

keep looking »
  • @melgregg

  • Currently reading

    Invisible Labor
  • Look Who