Dark matters - Angus Bancroft's teaching and research

Questions about reading which are really about you, the reader, but are also about me, the writer

The kind of reading you do matters a lot to the kind of scholarship you are doing. The classic image of the scholar is someone poring carefully over a text, parsing each phrase and glossing every paragraph. A scholar isolated from the world around, unburdened by cares. I expect few …

Crimes of forgiveness

Forgiveness is good for the soul. Debt forgiveness is the juice that keeps the economy fresh. If all debts were honoured then capitalism would close up shop. Debt forgiveness can be  egalitarian. Social movements promoted the forgiveness of odious debts incurred by developing world governments. Debt cancellation has been a …

Encryption and entropy

What is the physics of society? Its chemistry, its biology? We are beings who live through these material stuffs. Biochemistry matters for mind and behaviour. For example, the distribution of energy in the form of food is a critical question for health, for cultural symbolism, for life. The distribution of …

Is it a university building or an unethical experiment in social psychology? Why not both?

Visiting the art college and the Informatics school reminds me how uncreative most academic buildings and arrangements are. Many bear a striking resemblance to Dunder Mifflin, a monastery made of MDF, or the offices of a well established but slightly shady law company specialising in lengthy divorce battles. Students are …

Stabilising security market abstractions

My study is illicit market ecosystems. The counterparts are global insecurity markets. These are growing markets in policing and public order solutions. They extend from gear – riot shields, body cameras, conducted energy devices like the Taser – to eyes – surveillance methods, smart policing algorithms. Each device produces a …


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