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New blog post: excess of anthropological theory considered harmful
My usual audience is well aware why I am qualified to review Gabriella Coleman's book, Coding Freedom , but since I suspect this post might reach a bit beyond my usual audience I will restate the obvi...
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Playing Gorillas In The Mist with a group which has a clearer voice than you or your references is just dumb. The book isn't even free software.
 
I have to wonder what these anthropologists would have to say about what would seem to be like a self-reinforcing feedback loop in which academia tends to teach/indoctrinate the majority of its students to think in liberal/progressive ways, and how some of them who choose teaching as their profession teach the next generation to be so. At least this is the side effect conclusion I draw from your blog post, in that Coleman's bias(es) does not serve her well to document the hacker culture.
 
+Joe Philipps To be fair, I think Coleman is not much affected by left-wing biases.  Notably, her account of classical liberalism is far more sympathetic than one might have expected, even if her reading of John Stuart Mills does at times seem oddly selective.
 
Best quote ever "almost all of which appears to be completely useless except as a sort of point-scoring academic ritual that does less than nothing to illuminate its ostensible subject."
 
+Andrew Sledge I don't think he liked the book very much.  "Your manuscript is both good and original; but the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original are not good."
 
To be fair: "far too inward-looking, over-abstract, mired in self-reference and tail-chasing, obsessed with politicized modes of non-explanation" could be said about most groups. It's been my observation that this even happens within the hacker culture itself among the niche groups (Ruby vs. Python, GO!). You could abstract that and easily say that it's human nature to do so. But academics do seem to take it to a whole new level.

Great observations.
 
+Craig Trader No, it wasn't quite that bad. She managed to be both original and true  a few times, but it was pick-and-shovel work to find those amidst everything else.
 
So you're saying there really was a pony under all that horse exhaust?
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