James Harkin is a social forecaster who writes regularly for The Financial Times and The Guardian. He is director of Flockwatching
Between 1996 and 1999 he taught and lectured in social and political theory at the University of Oxford. In 1999, he exited academic life to work as an analyst of global social, cultural and technological trends for agencies in New York, London and in continental Europe. He also became a regular contributor on politics and contemporary society to newspapers and magazines, and managed projects and wrote several pamphlets on changing demographic and technological trends for the think-tank Demos. After 2003 he became a regular writer for the Financial Times magazine, writing features, interviews and essays. Between September 2005 and October 2006, he wrote a column for The Guardian Saturday paper called BIG IDEA, and before that he wrote similar columns for The Times and the Financial Times. He's appeared on Channel 4 News and Newsnight, and has lectured on contemporary cultural, social, technological and political trends everywhere from Oxford University to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, from the Ottawa Writers Festival to the LSE, from the annual conferences of the Arts Marketing Association to that of Schroders Bank. Between 2004 and 2009 he was, on a part-time basis, Director of Talks at the ICA in London.
He was the associate producer of Adam Curtis's most recent three-part series about game theory, The Trap: Whatever happened to our dream of freedom?, which aired on BBC2 in March 2007. His book, Big Ideas: The Essential Guide To The Latest Thinking, based on his weekly column for The Guardian, was published in February 2008 in the UK and the United States by Atlantic Books and has now been translated into Korean, Spanish and Polish. His second book Cyburbia, about how the internet and the idea of cybernetics are changing contemporary culture, was published in February 2009 by Little, Brown and by Knopf in Canada in April of the same year. His new book Niche, about the changing shape of business, culture, politics and society, has been commissioned by Little, Brown and will published in March 2011. He can be contacted via james [AT] jamesharkin.co.uk