How bloggers duel (repurposed How Engineers Duel)
A coming deeper look at Sino-African relations, from Global Integrity Commons
Posted in anthropology and culture, law, Networks and Infrastructure, South Africa, tagged classification, CluetrainManifesto, EverythingIsMiscellaneous, reading, SortingThingsOut on April 14, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
The Classification of Things
I first became seriously aware of the study of categorization and its history a year or so ago when I read Everything Is Miscellaneous by David Weinberger. Weinberger argues that the digitalization of information has led us to a new era, one in which there are no longer externally and heirarchically imposed ‘Aristotelian’ classification systems, but rather clouds of ‘prototypical’ descriptors, selected by the user in a web of self-classification. Where once everything had only one place within the ordering of things due to physical constraints, now information – both the ‘object’ and its categories – can be stored and filed in multiple ways. Weinberger rejects the notion of the proper ordering of things and is almost gleeful in his prediction of a return to nature; that where once ‘everything was miscellaneous’, now it will be so again.
Bowker and Star, in their book Sorting Things Out, take an anthropologist’s stance towards the classification of things, detailing the how, and the why, but clinically – here we have disorder, now we have order, and such are the consequences. At first, this makes for much less compelling reading than Weinberger – while the politics involved are fascinating in their own way, Weinberger writes in a way more likely to inspire strong feelings in either direction. Indeed, after reading his book, I found myself embroiled in an argument about the Dewey Decimal system with a library science student, whereas after finishing Bowker and Star I put down the book and played a game of Taboo.
The difference, of course, is that Weinberger is an author of the Cluetrain Manifesto and an internet marketing expert, while Bowker and Star are leaders in the field of science and technology studies. Excitement factor aside, Bowker and Star’s work is the far more rigorous and thought-provoking. Although written seven years before Everything Is Miscellaneous (published in 2007), Sorting Things Out meticulously shreds Weinberger’s hype and demonstrates that the state of nature he advocates is not freeing, but in fact emotionally, politically and legally disastorous. (more…)
Posted in conflict, law, Networks and Infrastructure, Peace and Security, Politics, writing, tagged CCT754, framing, idealism, IR, norms, Politics, R2P, school, transnational activism on December 1, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
I’ve been reading a lot about transnational activist networks for my paper on the failure of R2P to be established as an effective international norm. There are several requirements for the creation of a successful norm, which break down into three central categories: framing, structure, and mobilization. Further complicating the success of a transnational movement is the interconnectedness of each of the three aspects: mobilization requires effective framing, which can be determined by the structure of the system.
My original hypothesis about the failure of R2P focused primarily on problems of framing. As my research progresses, I am also beginning to wonder if the advent of the internet and other forms of technology isn’t in fact hindering the mobilization of activists, and/or that the structure of the movement (somewhat more centralized than others) isn’t hindering the effective use of technology. This isn’t the question that I want to discuss here, but I would welcome any ideas or suggestions. (more…)
Posted in Africa, conflict, governance, law, Networks and Infrastructure, Peace and Security, Politics, tagged 9/11, AnatomyofPeace, BlackHawkDown, Burma, CCT754, Collier, Darfur, HighNoon, ICISS, idealism, IR, Iraq, NYTimes, Politics, R2P, Somalia, Zimbabwe on September 30, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
NB: This post for CCT754 is admittedly very incomplete. I’m working on an idea for a final paper for the class, and this post serves, not even as an introduction to that idea, but as an intro to the universe of ideas from which it comes. I ultimately don’t think I will write about R2P, but I’ve needed to say some of these things for nearly 2 years now, and finally did. As the topic evolves, I’ll be sure to post.
From the Enough Project:
Tune in for Public Broadcast of The Reckoning
At Sundance and in specialized theaters around North America and Europe, the film The Reckoning has been educating audiences about the quest for an international justice system that began in Nuremberg after World War II and came into being as the International Criminal Court. Now, the film will fan out to the masses in their living rooms across the United States through its national broadcast premiere on July 14th.
The Reckoning follows the first six years of the International Criminal Court, from the court’s headquarters in The Hague, to the scenes of the crimes – in eastern Congo and northern Uganda – to the U.N. headquarters in New York, where the court has met some of its toughest critics. The Reckoning has a captivating way of weaving together the strong personalities of individuals into a gripping narrative, such as a young Ugandan woman who survived a rampage by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army, passionate judges inspired by the work of establishing standards for global justice, outspoken critics of the Court, and a dynamic lead prosecutor who has become the face of the struggle to bring justice to victims in Darfur.
So tune-in to PBS tomorrow, July 14th to catch the film. Then, join the Enough Project for a live web conference with ICC expert Colin Thomas-Jensen. Join Colin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15th for a discussion of recent ICC activity and send him your questions about the court.
More info here.