What’s not to like?

Seriously, let’s deconstruct it!


From this web site:

The Royal Fridge was the brainstorm of a Facebook discussion by a distributor for General Electric appliances in the UK. This is one piece of memorabilia that literally takes the cake – and so much more! David Garden, a director for GE at GDHA has really high hopes for this 5’9″ royal wedding souvenir. “Who knows,” he says. “Perhaps Prince Charles or Camilla will buy one as a gift for William and Kate.” After all, “Commemorative tea towels are so 1981.”

Petition to remove “Big Society” as Strategic Area for AHRC

Please consider signing this petition.

We are members of the AHRC Peer Review College, AHRC funding applicants, and others with an interest in AHRC activities. We call for this change with immediate effect.

We call upon the UK-based Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to remove “The Big Society” as one of its six strategic areas for research funding. Research councils should not direct funding to strategic areas which overlap with any political party’s slogans. We would be equally opposed to “The Third Way” becoming a strategc area for research funding shortly after the 1997 election. Political party campaign slogans should not become strategic research funding areas post-election. We support the removal of “The Big Society” with immediate effect.

Research into Tory slogans: it gets worse

The AHRC is now maintaining that they were NOT blackmailed into identifying The Big Society (a Tory campaign slogan) as a research priority, but that they decided on it all by themselves, with no government pressure. (I know something’s wrong in the world when I find myself deeply disappointed to find out that blackmail didn’t take place.)

It also emerges that they have produced documentation on this “research theme” which reads (and looks) like party political propaganda. For non-UK readers, the Big Society idea is that government should withdraw from funding essential services as far as possible and that the spirit of volunteerism should take its place. Think Bush Senior’s “1000 points of light” on steroids: volunteers should fill in for police, rubbish collectors, doctors. Of course– it goes almost without saying– they should take the place of services to families. What is the world envisioned by this? The AHRC document helpfully illustrates with a photo of 1950s housewives chatting over the fence.

There are calls for a boycott of the AHRC by those currently doing the work of reviewing applications, etc.

I feel ill.

(Thanks, L!)

Science, Knowledge and Democracy: 75% women!


April 1-3, 2011

The goal of this conference is to bring together scholars working in moral and political philosophy, social epistemology, philosophy of science, and related areas to reflect broadly on the relationships between science, knowledge, and democracy. We aim to explore questions such as the following. In what ways should we be seeking to foster democratic influences on science, and why? Can we unpack the concept of objectivity (whether in the scientific or the political domain) more fruitfully by shifting from an individual to a social level of analysis? What is the nature of “lay expertise,” and what are its implications for pursuing public participation in scientific research and policy making? Do various forms of “epistemic injustice” detract from scientific knowledge or political decision making? What are the implications of political theory for thinking about how to democratize science and to integrate scientific knowledge into policy making? Does governmental involvement in and funding of scientific research pose special challenges to traditional epistemic and moral justifications for democracy?

The Three Rivers Philosophy (TRiP) Conference will take place at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. The conference is named after the Saluda, Broad, and Congaree Rivers, which meet in Columbia.

Keynote Speakers:

* Elizabeth Anderson (University of Michigan)
* Miranda Fricker (Birkbeck, University of London)
* Henry Richardson (Georgetown University)
* Miriam Solomon (Temple University)

Conference Organizers: Kevin Elliott and Justin Weinberg
Conference Assistant: Chimene La Roche

(Thanks, Justin!)