We’re currently moving slowly from the curatorial stage of the followthethings.com project through a reflective to an analytical stage. Below are abstracts, snippets and screenshots of the work that’s now emerging. We’ll update this!
Cook et al, I. (2016) Les géographies du numérique: on en veut encore! | More digital geographies, please. Justice Spatiale | Spatial Justice, 10 Full text in English & en Français
Researchers now expect their peers to discuss the kinds of laughter their work evokes. It’s a signal of the complex registers through which research quality is judged. Maybe it ‘raises consciousness and … reveals a darker reality hidden behind the veil of appearances’ (Lewis 2010, 643). Perhaps it ‘open[s] us an oblique path that links together heterogeneous semantic contents previously unrelated’ (Virno in ibid). Hopefully it ‘get[s] difficult messages across to a broad range of actors and decreases the risk of encountering angry reactions or alienating bystanders’ (Kutz-Flamenbaum 2014, 298).
Cook, I. & Crang, P. (2016) Consumption and its geographies. in Daniels, P., Bradshaw, M., Shaw, D., Sidaway, J. & Hall, T. (eds.) An introduction to human geography. Harlow: Pearson, 379-398
Recent reviews of new media scholarship have criticised it for paying little attention to the social and environmental (in)justices in its technical infrastructure. At the same time, scholars of social and environmental (in)justice are experimenting with web2.0, using wikis, blogs, twitter and other social media to conduct and disseminate their research. These strands have collided in the making of a website called followthethings.com which simultaneously critiques the injustices embedded in everyday things, whilst also being made and maintained using everyday things, most notably a laptop, its software and the technical infrastructure of web2.0. Drawing on an emerging literature on critical making, this paper explains what has been learned about the material geographies of web2.0 and commodity activism through this making process.
Cook et al, I. (2014) ‘Organic Public Geographies and REF Impact’. Acme: an international e-journal for critical geographies, 13(1), 47-51 Full text
‘Follow the things’ … [is] a radical research and public pedagogy project. It taps into public curiosity about ‘where stuff comes from’, and draws into its processes a proliferating genre of non-academic ‘follow the things’ work, including documentary films, art work, journalism and activism. Its intellectual / political purpose is to critique the fetishism of commodities, to show abstract relations between things as social relations between people (Harvey, 2010). Its pedagogical/political purpose, within and beyond academia, is to encourage critical thought, conversation and ‘do it yourself’ research that enables diverse people to follow their own things, consider the social relations and trade (in)justices in the lives of those things, and then to share, discuss and perhaps be activist with their findings (Cook et al., 2007a; Cook and Woodyer, 2012).