On refusing unpaid work

nicely timed in relation to my recent excursion on the dangers of open-source

Progressive Geographies

I was recently asked to write an entry on a topic I’m very interested in, for another multi-volume Encyclopedia. I’ve written about my doubts about yet more of these ventures before here and here. This one wants a 4,500 word entry, and because that is below a certain word-count threshold the only recompense is free-online access to the Encyclopedia itself when published. Effectively I’m being asked to work for free (see a previous related post here). As I said in my response, having written on related topics for other encyclopedias, dictionaries, companions, etc.

I’m left with two thoughts – there is an over-proliferation of these kinds of reference tools, often with the same people writing related entries for the different ones; and that the work that goes into writing them is disproportionate to the benefits. I note that in this case I’m being asked to write an entry…

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We’re Only Beginning to Understand How Our Brains Make Maps

bookmarking this- to think about in relation to GSV

Urban Choreography

All our instincts as “place” designers are well founded  it seems –  all of the fine details, ambiences and local differences we cherish are really important to how we navigate space and understand where we are and wether it is safe, dangerous or cool to be here – the latest neuroscience, albeit with rats,  is giving us new ammo in a our tangle with both virtual and the banal retail worlds. By Emily Badger at Atlantic Cities

About 40 years ago, researchers first began to suspect that we have neurons in our brains called “place cells.” They’re responsible for helping us (rats and humans alike) find our way in the world, navigating the environment with some internal sense of where we are, how far we’ve come, and how to find our way back home. All of this sounds like the work of maps. But our brains do impressively sophisticated…

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MANCEPT workshop on Methods in Political Theory

since ‘methods’ simply makes my head ache, I might have to pull something together for this.

Progressive Geographies

A call for papers for a workshop as part of the Tenth MANCEPT Annual Conference: 4th – 6th September 2013.

During the 1960s and 70s the methodological orthodoxy of enquiries into the study of political thought became the target of historical critique. Dissatisfied with analyses that masqueraded as historical theses, critics proposed alternative procedures they believed were more appropriate to interpretations of canonical texts. In reaction to the critique, political theorists turned inward, reflecting on the problem of how the canon should be reconstructed, thereby following in the footsteps of neighbouring disciplines such as philosophy and history, where hermeneutical issues had already been subjected to systematic investigation. Rather than trying to generate approaches distinctive to their enterprise, political theorists either ‘imported’ insights from the latter disciplines or expressed their aversion toward methodological debates.

This reluctance to talk about method has not changed much since. Indeed, some theorists consider methodological discussions as nothing but ‘continental’ charade. Aversion towards methodological debates is…

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