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About David Beer

David Beer is Professor of Sociology at the University of York. Metric Power is now available in paperback. His next book, The Data Gaze, is published in November and is available for pre-order.


Articles by David Beer

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The oppressiveness of creativity

Has capitalism co-opted our creative juices? A review of Oli Mould’s new book ‘Against Creativity.’

Ripping up the Yellow Pages

The print version of the Yellow Pages may be coming to an end, but the cultural legacy of classification it embodied goes on – in the encoding even of our very eyes...

The backfire effect, bad objects, and changing our minds online

On social media, when exposed to opposing views, are we likely to change our minds? Or is there a 'backfire effect' which in fact consolidates communities around common "bad objects"?

Dominance and disruption: power is won by consent, and resisted through understanding

On the history of hegemony: an informed sense of how power has been understood can only cultivate a much stronger sense of how it operates today. Book review.

The cold intimacy that comes when the TV calls your name

This pretence of being friendly and of knowing us is a well-worn tool of capitalism – as noises crowd our lives, it becomes harder to find peace.

The power of money: how the rich took hold of our monetary systems to make themselves richer

To wrest back control from private finance, to reclaim our “hollowed out democratic institutions,” we must begin with a public understanding of money. Book review.

Algorithms: the villains and heroes of the ‘post-truth’ era

We often focus on the negative or positive impacts of algorithms. But is this a distraction from how power is actually deployed through them?

Four futures: life after capitalism

The alternatives we imagine are products of the times in which we live. A review of Peter Frase’s book Four Futures.

My 350 on BREXIT: The carnival of uncertainty

“The old notions of social divisions somehow seem to radically over-simplify what is happening or seem outmoded as a framework for coherent explanation.”

Mason's Postcapitalism – are networks actually part of the problem?

For Mason and others networks are a key liberating tool in moving beyond capitalist relations, but networks are not inherently democratising nor free of hierarchy.

When ‘special measures’ become ordinary

To be measured was once a sign of failure. It is now not only common place, we frequently measure ourselves publicly, and voluntarily.

Living with smartness

Will new technologies turn people into passive human beings?

The embedded power of algorithms

The recent revelations surrounding the manipulation of Facebook news feeds to affect the emotional state of users should not be understood as an isolated social experiment, but rather as one point within a far broader setting in which algorithms are powerful forces in everyday life.

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