I’ve now finished work on Foucault: The Birth of Power – the corrections to the proofs have been sent off. In the past several weeks I’ve been working hard on Shakespeare, and have got several chapters into draft state. I’m going to have to take a break from this work in the autumn-winter, with teaching and several talks on different topics, so I’d like to get this manuscript to a point where I can leave it without too many loose ends. This doesn’t mean it’s nearly finished, indeed far from it, but I want it to be at a point where I can put it aside and return, at some point, with fresh eyes and hopefully new energy and ideas.
I’ve put a new page on this site with more information on the Shakespeare project. This supersedes the older page, and more accurately reflects the current shape of it.
Foucault: The Birth of Power is now available to pre-order from Polity’s distributor, Wiley, as well as online bookstores. It is currently projected for February publication. The cover isn’t yet up, but the book’s description is.
Now for a holiday.
A pile each of books and journals, recently received. The books are mainly the second instalment of ones in recompense for review work, along with Ian Shaw’s Predator Empire, sent by the publisher.
David Beer’s Metric Power is now out. A great shame about Palgrave’s prohibitive price for this – hopefully a paperback will appear at some point, but there is no justification for a £50 e-book.
This book examines the powerful and intensifying role that metrics play in ordering and shaping our everyday lives. Focusing upon the interconnections between measurement, circulation and possibility, the author explores the interwoven relations between power and metrics. He draws upon a wide-range of interdisciplinary resources to place these metrics within their broader historical, political and social contexts. More specifically, he illuminates the various ways that metrics implicate our lives – from our work, to our consumption and our leisure, through to our bodily routines and the financial and organisational structures that surround us. Unravelling the power dynamics that underpin and reside within the so-called big data revolution, he develops the central concept of Metric Power along with a set of conceptual resources for thinking critically about the powerful role played by metrics in the social world today.
Louise Amoore on ‘Cloud geographies: Computing, data, sovereignty’ in Progress in Human Geography (requires subscription).
The architecture of cloud computing is becoming ever more closely intertwined with geopolitics – from the sharing of intelligence data, to border controls, immigration decisions, and drone strikes. Developing an analogy with the cloud chamber of early twentieth century particle physics, this paper explores the geography of the cloud in cloud computing. It addresses the geographical character of cloud computing across two distinct paradigms. The first, ‘Cloud I’ or a geography of cloud forms, is concerned with the identification and spatial location of data centres where the cloud is thought to materialize. Here the cloud is understood within a particular history of observation, one where the apparently abstract and obscure world can be brought into vision and rendered intelligible. In the second variant, ‘Cloud II’ or the geography of a cloud analytic, the cloud is a bundle of experimental algorithmic techniques acting upon the threshold of perception itself. Like the cloud chamber of the twentieth century, contemporary cloud computing is concerned with rendering perceptible and actionable that which would otherwise be beyond the threshold of human observation. The paper proposes three elements of correlative cloud reasoning, suggesting their significance for our geopolitical present: condensing traces; discovering patterns; and archiving the future.
Interesting interview with Mark Blyth at E-IR on international political economy, the uses of theory, ‘Brexit’, austerity and other contemporary politics. The interview ends with a strident answer to the question ‘What is the most important advice you could give to young scholars of international relations and political economy?’
I’ve done three manuscript reviews for Routledge this summer, and this is the first instalment of books in recompense. Also in the pile, a copy of Extraterritorialities in Occupied Worlds, in which I have a chapter; an inspection copy of Dunleavy’s Authoring a PhD; and a second-hand copy of the Cambridge As You Like It.
Ray Milefsky, who worked with the US State Department’s Office of the Geographer and Global Issues has died. I only met Ray briefly at Durham’s International Boundaries Research Unit events. He was a regular tutor at IBRU workshops, and a strong supporter of its work. There are good tributes from Martin Pratt and Phil Steinberg.