Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For Peggy

Peggy asked for more on my previous post. Sorry Peggy, I'm writing this because I'm feeling bored and frankly, a little negative. So here's a barrage of thoughts.

To do full justice to what I wrote in my last post, I would have to offer some quotes from Barney himself. But I am too tired at this point to make my post into another academically-sound piece of writing. In fact, I don't even know if "vested social interests" is what Barney called it. But I do remember that it pertained to the understanding that academics are more interested in their own work, their own theories, their own language, and the advancement of their own careers than they are in the pure pursuit of knowledge. To protect their interests, they create a culture where in order for you to "advance" in academia, you have to play by their rules. If you don't, you are ostracized.

I came to this stark realization after having some really good and deep conversations with a visiting professor. After getting to know hir well, s/he told me the "secrets" to scholarly achievement. Scholars playing the game, so to speak, will only pay heed to another scholar if the other scholar has credentials behind hir name. And to get those credentials, you need to abide by the rules of the game: publish in the right journals, cite the right people, be cited by the right people. For many scholars (perhaps American ones in particular), what you have to say is less important than how well you've played the game. You could say something brilliant, but if you don't have the right credentials, it doesn't really count. It's as if you're not in the club, so your opinion doesn't matter.

I saw this "in action" last week with my own eyes. The speaker was saying some really brilliant things, but because s/he did not play the academic game, scholars in the club discredited hir. "We would have to know who s/he was first before we'd be willing to hear what s/he has to say."

Excuse me? Should not the content speak for itself?

I like academia, and I still think there is much good--and many good scholars--in it. Especially those who are older, accomplished, and really bored with the game people in academia play. I greatly admire true thinkers. The rest of those [us?] career-vested academics are, I'm afraid to say, fooling themselves (and those who are wow'ed by anything PhD) to think that they are really contributing to knowledge in any significant way.

I am thankful for people like Barney who have taught me not to be so small minded as to limit the periphery of my vision to see only what I have been socialized to see.

I will end this post with The Professor Song which I made up one day when listening to my children's Flea Fly Song (sung to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic):

One professor published behind a second professor's back
The second professor published behind a third professor's back
The third professor published behind a fourth professor's back
The fourth professor published behind a fifth professor's back

They were only playing te_____nure
They were only playing te_____nure
They were only playing te_____nure
When the one professor published behind another professor's back!

The moral of the story? Learn to play the game, but don't get your mind muddled in the muck.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Barney Glaser Is...

Barney Glaser is a genius.

If I never knew that before, I know it now.

To me, a genius is not a person completely untouchable by common folk. A genius is simply someone who really stands out from the crowd in terms of ideas and insights. Like the Beatles. We can all sing their songs, and yet they have been hailed as geniuses.

Hey Jude~

So, why exactly is Barney a genius? Because he can cut through the crap. And his methodology cuts through the crap.

I say crap, but I don't mean it as if I am above crap. This crap that I'm talking about is vested social interests that shape and form knowledge, otherwise known as academia.

It's a club. And it is so cleverly done that those who are not in it, gawk with awe at it, give it a good deal of worship, and really have no way of knowing whether it is as valuable as it is perceived. Because academic parlance, if you will, completely masquerades itself through jargons. When you are well-masqueraded enough--like Madonna--a mystique starts to develop around you.

Barney knows that, talked about that, talks about that, and teaches us to see it.

That's all for tonight. I won't elaborate further. If you want to know more, leave a comment.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alas... Conference in RCA

is no more for me.

Too far to travel, too little time.

Conference organizer (a big name scholar, by the way) said that he was very much looking forward to my presentation, and will miss my involvement.


Was he just being nice, or was my work truly that good?

He was just being nice.

I'm sure of it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A small hip hip... and a BIG HIP HIP

Chapter 4 (my theory section) is completed and sent in to Adviser for comments and feedback.

A small hip hip hooray for me!

My friend Scholar Wannabe has landed a tenure-track position at First-Choice U.


Go to hir blog and congratulate hir. And tell hir Lonely Dissertator sent you. :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Writing Fever

That's it!

I've gone back through all of my coded data, saturated my sub-categories, and made conceptual ties to portions that were previously more descriptive. My intuition was mostly correct as I only had to reword a couple of my sub-categories.

Of course, I moaned and groaned and considered giving up over the past 5 days of doing this, but the effort has proven worthwhile.

What is even MORE exciting is that tonight, I read a booklet written by a practitioner in the field that I am studying. This is DATA! And guess what?

Guess what???

My theory completely explains his perspectives!!!

Not only that, the data from him represents a group of people from which I had difficulty obtaining interviews. So I can quote him!!!

And best of all... well, not best best of all, but pretty close to best best... I sent that data with my theoretical scribbles in the margins to Adviser and sh'he wrote back saying that sh'he can't wait to read my theory!!!

The best best of all is this: I believe I have a really good theory on my hands!

No, I don't believe it, I know it!

I know it! I know it! I know it!

(Okay, did I overdo the exclamation marks?)

And now it's 5:40am and I refuse to go to sleep even after working 7 hours straight. I am writing out my theory now, and boy, am I ever excited!