Articles by: Mark Furlong

Author Biography:

Mark Furlong is an independent scholar, and thinker-in-residence at the Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University: .

Informit: Redacting the social

The Productivity Commission examines 'mental health' Mental health is a hot topic in the media, in public policy, in elite sport, in the armed forces and in the legal system. Children, like young adults, are said to be vulnerable. One in five of the population are reported to have experienced, or are expected to experience, a mental-health problem. No one is immune, even tycoons and celebrities: in 2018 James Packer was reported to have taken…

Informit: Common touch: Entrepreneurs

Israel is recognised as a world leader in the cyber-security industry. A recent documentary claimed the industry now has so much domestic cachet that many parents dream that their children will launch their own start-ups in this burgeoning trade. Forgo traditionally prestigious occupations, old-world careers like medicine and dentistry; young minds should be applauded for recognising, and seeking to exploit, what the market most wants.

Informit: Pakistan to Kashgar to tibet

Relations with officials began formally in northern Pakistan. Almost always, this stiffness quickly eased into smiles and good spirits. We were two independent travellers. In all but a few places, there were no other Westerners. This made us novelties - distractions whose presence prompted officials, and locals more generally, to do what they do so well: be the benevolent host. Even serious procedures - being registered as a foreigner by a district administrator; finding that…

Informit: The digital panopticon

Uber drivers and passengers are linked by feedback loops monitored by a central register. Before being picked up your rating has been checked. Every time you get out of an Uber vehicle you are also rated. The same process is applied to the driver: s/he is rated by the passenger at the end of each trip. Airbnb and Airtasker function in a similar way. Albeit voluntary, platforms such as TripAdvisor and Zomato employ a similar…

Informit: Common touch: Everybody knows

The narrator in Zadie Smith's The Embassy of Cambodia asks: 'Surely there is something to be said for drawing a circle around our attention and remaining within that circle. But how large should that circle be?' A modern reader might reply: 'Hey, draw that line around how I am thinking and feeling. I want to be in charge'.

Informit: Alight on the dark triad

A contention currently receiving attention in sports psychology is that athletes who succeed at the elite level - those that have the highly focused, succeed-atall- costs winner's mentality - tend to present with a particular personality type: they score high on the scale measuring what has come to be termed the Dark Triad. This proposed personality type bundles three sub-scales: a measure of the person's disregard for others ('psychopathy'), self-importance ('narcissism') and preparedness to be…

Informit: Whose problem am I?

What is to be said about the preferred presentation of self in everyday life? Obviously, shyness is verboten and rude good health is in, but what is happening between these well-lit lines?

Informit: ‘Psychological’

The Sociological Imagination was published more than fifty years ago. For most people, the frisson associated with its thesis has largely waned. A proposition might be ventured here: as the perceived appeal of the sociological has shrunk, so the perceived ambit and relevance of the psychological has expanded.

Informit: Humanities professionals and ‘the social’

What's In and What's Out The ambition of this essay is broad: to review the contributions of Arena on humanities professionals over the last fifty years. This ambit has been interpreted to include material relevant to those with a background or interest in public policy, social research, education, community services and health. To proceed in this way is uncertain. That is, the brief is unstable, as relevant naming practices and territory definitions are evanescent -…

Informit: Postcard: The circus master

Calculated machismo in Putin's Russia <br /><br /> There's a dog in first class. On an Aeroflot flight out of Moscow to Baku, this little surprise only became apparent to those in economy a little before takeoff.

Informit: The common touch: Drumming up a post-human beat

Today's self-presentation needs to be market wise. This may sound extreme, even melodramatic. It may even cede more ground than has been taken. But what is fair to say is that the understanding of what is acceptable, even preferred, in terms of personality and its elements - what Foucault refers to as the specifications of the self - is definitely changing. A recent book, and its review, offers a striking despatch from the front.

Informit: The common touch: Guilt as restraint of trade

An effective campaign has been waged against guilt. Not only disavowed by celebrity role models, guilt has now been dismissed as a 'useless emotion' by the competent authorities, those official technocrats delegated to manage subjectivity and mental health. This affect, they say, is inhibiting and archaic. De-legitimated, what was once an honoured, if uncomfortable, gamekeeper has been done down. Bad-mouthed as negative and unproductive - yuck! - guilt has become legal quarry.