Monthly Archives: April 2014

Digital media and altered states.

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Recently I came across copies of a couple of my popular legal articles published by the Northampton Chronicle & Echo in April and June 2009. It came as a shock to discover that the newspaper no longer publishes printed papers on a daily basis and is no longer even printed in Northampton. We may reflect on whether technology has altered our perception of the spaces surrounding us and those we make, how we express ourselves and how we interact with our experiences. 

‘The law aims for a clean break’
Northampton Chronicle & Echo – 24 April 2009

Chronicle clean break

The history of the Chronicle & Echo, (The Chron) a well-liked local daily newspaper, mirrors the trajectory of many a printed paper in analogy with creative expression of ideas: a trajectory taking it from predictable public everyday local spaces to private and yet omnipresent existence. There is no doubt that the dematerialisation of the printed word by digital technology has altered our states of perception and of our self-expression.

A brief glance at the history of The Chron offers an example of such transformation. The paper was established in 1931 from a merger of two weekly and two monthly papers. And one could say it was the precursor of modern-day political coalitions: the original Chronicle was a Tory and the Echo was a  Liberal paper [1].

It asserted its physical and geographical existence in a strikingly visible architectural presence symbolising local endeavor, political and social identity and local sovereignty. Until 1970’s The Chron was published out of its striking Art Deco offices overlooking Northampton’s famous Market Square.

In 1978 it moved to brand new purpose built offices in Upper Mounts boasting the most up to date computerised printing presses [2].  On 26 May 2012 it ceased daily print publication. And now it is printed only a weekly basis and in Peterborough.

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The Politics of Higher Degree Supervision. Or: why Einstein would never get his PhD!

Albert-Einstein-albert-einstein-28258168-1920-12001I am currently being ‘trained’ as a PhD supervisor, and this article is a short reflection based on some work on the course. But to start with a caveat: my intellectual background lies in the humanities and law, and in this context my comments are necessarily limited to the humanities and legal research.

The course is interesting, and it made me question to what extent it is possible for universities to introduce formalised accredited systems for generating research outputs and research training. Are formalistic systems institutional responses to the instrumentalisation of intellectual endeavour and research? It made me wonder whether what is assumed to be ‘effective’ research degree supervision aiming to help research students plan, undertake, complete and disseminate their PhD research can in fact contribute creatively to the body of human knowledge and promote original findings. Continue reading

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