I have brought together nineteen of these blogposts as a collection of essays on the philosophy, ethics and methodology of economics. The essays touch on questions such as why economists missed the global financial crisis, debates about how economics needs to change, and the impact that economic analysis has on the real world. The issue of orthodoxy, heterodoxy and pluralism in economic analysis features prominently. The need for a stronger ethical component to economic education and economic analysis is a recurrent theme. Several of the essays make the link between economics and a broader political economy.
A paper by Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson entitled Why do academics blog? An analysis of audiences, purposes and challenges has just appeared online. The paper caught my attention, and not simply because it quotes at length from a post I wrote back at the beginning of the year. I regularly reflect upon what I’m doing, or trying to do, when I’m blogging. It was interesting to see whether what I’m doing bears any resemblance to what others are doing.
I guess an initial caveat would be – as outlined the post I referred to above – that I don’t see myself so much as an academic blogger as an academic who blogs. Or a blogger who happens to be an academic. Or something.
The distinction between “academic blogging” and “an academic who blogs” has always been of some significance to me, if not to anyone else. [Read more...]
- Bedroom tax … and beyond (6th Aug)
- Why is Owen Jones so annoying? (4th July)
- Free to schmooze (21st July)
- ‘Quackademics’ under fire as critical voices targeted (22nd Aug)
- Britain’s property problem (15th Aug)
One thing that can be inferred from this list is that September was a relatively quiet month. Nothing quite took off.
One notable feature of this quarter is that Uncertain Terrain: issues and challenges facing housing associations, which was published on 11th May, was only a handful of hits away from making it back into the top five for Q#3. [Read more...]
A thought-provoking post entitled The dangers of academic blogging appeared yesterday at The Sociological Imagination. The post drew, in turn, on series of posts at Near Emmaus.
Like many such posts the implied audience is postdocs and early career researchers. The key point made in the Near Emmaus posts was that while you – we – might see the value of blogging to twenty-first century academic life, the same may not be true of all those looking to recruit staff or make promotion decisions. Such senior staff may see this blogging lark as a bit of a distraction from serious scholarship. Young researchers who build an online profile may be dismissed as insufficiently focused on what matters – real academic writing for real academic audiences.
Even if one thinks blogging is intrinsically worthwhile, when starting out it has got to be wise to factor in to your decisions the issues raised in the Near Emmaus posts. By no means all – or even the majority – of established academics have embraced the value of newer forms of online communication and social media.
But these considerations do not cease to be entirely irrelevant for those of us who are better characterised as, ahem, mid-career. [Read more...]
I have shovelled something like half a million words into cyberspace since I started blogging three years ago. Some of those words were arranged in ways that were pleasing, to me at least. Some of them were arranged in ways that might best be described as decidedly clunky. What makes the difference largely eludes me. But then, when it comes to writing, I’m no kind of craftsman. It’s all a bit more agricultural.
When I started blogging I had been writing as a social scientist for more than twenty years. Social scientists have been responsible for some of the most impenetrable texts ever offered up for human consumption. Their audience, while no doubt appreciative, can be rather select. Acquiring the capacity for obscurity is, it would appear, a core part of socialization into some disciplinary communities. Yet that wasn’t so much the case for me. Writing for policy and practice audiences alongside academics has, I hope, inoculated me against some of the more virulent strains of obscurantism. [Read more...]
A bunch of statistics about the housing market have been published over the last few days. Housing issues have been hitting the headlines in the mainstream media harder than is usually the case. A number of the key pressure groups have made the point forceful that current developments in the housing market are by no means entirely positive. It is interesting and welcome to see commentators who usually focus on the economy more broadly also getting in on the act and giving attention to our pressing housing problems.
But the mainstream media does not always have the time, the space, or possibly the inclination, to do justice to the complexity of the issues. In that respect the blogosphere comes into its own.
Without the strict constraints of maximum word counts or limits on the the use of images, expert bloggers can often quickly produce better informed and more indepth analysis than is possible in other media. [Read more...]
- Curbing the welfare hate (6th April)
- Who is social housing for, and who should it be for? (10th April)
- Uncertain terrain: issues and challenges facing housing associations (11th May)
- Is a little economics dangerous? (2nd April)
- Universal Credit: Some observations on policy and politics (19th June)
I was clearly on a bit of roll at the beginning of April!
One thing that strikes me about this list is that all the posts apart from Curbing the welfare hate are links to longer documents on Scribd.com – including texts prepared for other purposes or to accompany presentations. Also, two other link posts of that type were just outside the top 5 this quarter. This came as a bit of a surprise. I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Clearly there is some interest in pieces discussing current policy issues at greater length than is possible in a conventional blogpost. Any thoughts welcome. [Read more...]
We now have a new resource in the form of www.bristolblogs.com. Bristol Blogs brings together more than 80 different feeds from bloggers in and around Bristol, blogging about life and events in the city and about a huge range of other topics. The site is already up and running. It is currently carrying over 3,500 posts.
My posts appear under the academia and politics headings. But you know where to find me already. Why not visit the site and find out what everyone else is talking about?
- Help to buy? (20th March)
- The politics of the bedroom tax (9th February)
- Clegg courts catastrophe (10th March)
- Research and the policy process (13th February)
- The boundaries of academic blogging (20th January)
This quarter has seen 3 of the 4 busiest months since the blog started. I’m glad that people are continuing to find these ramblings of some interest. Onward and upward!
Thanks for reading. And commenting. Even when you’re disagreeing with me.
Image: © iQoncept – Fotolia.com
The formation of a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats was probably the only viable outcome of the General Election in May 2010. A coalition between two unnatural bedfellows in the public interest looked like the only plausible way forward.
Coalition was always going to be a journey that carried risks. It is rarely kind to the junior partner. The history of Tory-Liberal coalitions in Westminster is not an entirely happy one, especially for the Liberals.
The nature of the Coalition’s political agenda became apparent fairly soon after it was formed. Criticism and protest swiftly developed in response. My response was to engage with the agenda online. I have been blogging about political developments under the Coalition since 2010. [Read more...]