Sean Bell

August 2011

The evolution of a weird super-story

The big story we have accepted has a very strange aspect. In one way it completes a triptych of betrayals of the people: the greedy bankers destroying the economy; the MPs’ expenses scandal; and now the press, in cahoots with politicians, big business and the police misleading the courts and carelessly pursuing a morally reprehensible course of invasion of privacy and bribery. We are all supposed to be joining in the circle of condemnation and moral outrage, waving our pitchforks at a newly discovered monster in our midst.

July 2010

Gets your motor running

Crawford’s well-aimed blows at scientific management principles, staff team-building exercises and the resistance of modern machinery to home servicing will strike chords with many, and he synthesises a fresh and thought-provoking outlook from his experiences. However, alongside the ambition of his remit, his basic argument - that we can make the world a better place by fixing stuff - is pretty modest.

February 2010

Transparency works both ways

If the public is treated as if mere information is required before the correct view of its significance can be arrived at, then attempts to engage the public with big ideas or really change their attitudes will fail

December 2009

Swimming against an authoritarian current

The Bully State is often useful and entertaining. But Monteith’s anthropomorphising of social pressures into a list of bullying ‘socialist’ do-gooders risks underestimating an important part of hyperregulation today.

November 2009

The myth of racist kids?

Adrian Hart was prompted to research and write his report after working on a film with an anti-racism awareness drama group at schools in Essex in 2006. He described this as his ‘wake-up moment’ where he realised the pressure on schools to provide reports of racist incidents led to the misinterpretation of ordinary childhood exchanges.

October 2009

The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education

Ben, a teacher, was the first to get passionate: ‘I disagreed with everything you said. I can feel myself getting angry!’ he said. ‘I think that what you’re saying shows an absolute lack of compassion.’

September 2009

Let the information be free

Anderson analyses Steven Brand’s famous quote that the ‘information wants to be free’, noting Brand also said another kind of information wants to be expensive, and the two are contradictory.

Books
July 2009

Mind, brain and self in the age of Facebook

The technology has heightened our perceptions about things that are going on in our culture and highlighted the concerns that we have about it, such as privacy, risk, celebrity and the intergenerational relationships between adults and children. Social networking technology is reflective of these concerns; it doesn’t generate them.

June 2009

Policing the Brighton public

After discussing many aspects of the booze ban in Brighton last week, it struck me that many of us were thinking about how this law might be fought in a legal way. I think that bringing it out into the open and forcing the council to defend it, politically, has a much better chance of reversing the DPPO sooner than any challenge in the courts.

May 2009

Free speech and identity politics

It was the Rushdie affair that marked the beginning of a new kind of battle between a minority and the state, where instead of taking action against discrimination or poverty, Muslims burned books and attacked publishers on the basis of their hurt feelings. The principle that it is morally unacceptable to offend was established in relations between different people in a way that we still suffer from today.

Energise! Power to the people

’We realised that we had to look much more carefully at energy and its uses and production. The politicisation of climate change is a serious issue because it stands in the way of solving problems and stifles debate,’ said Joe.

Culture Wars was included in creativetourists’ Top 25 UK Arts & Culture Blogs 2009.