Book Progress Report, Week 3

16 Dec

Despite my best intentions, this was a slow writing week. In part I can blame the heavy grading load that comes with the end of the semester. It has also taken me a bit longer to rework each section of the Style chapter than I had intended. I’m continually torn between knowing that what I have to say about these things I’m writing about is sound, and original enough, and knowing that it *could* be better argued, supported with more concrete evidence, connected to theories and parts of the literature that I haven’t read, etc. I read a ranty tweet (or maybe a blog post? or a facebook status?) this week calling out academics who write about activism for being too obscure and too focused on referring to academic literature. I need to keep that in mind, and use it to give myself permission not to, for example, read and cite everything by Bourdieu.

So, in the past week, I polished and tightened up the “Style as self-construction through representation” and “Style as distinction and boundary” sections. The second one still needs a little bit of tweaking and probably a couple more sentences to contextualize some of the data. I ended up rethinking/reorganizing the remaining sections. The “distinction and boundary” section was about twice the length of the other sections of the chapter, so I split it off and now have a section on “Negotiating the boundaries.” I started to doubt the logic of including the “visibility as trap” stuff in this section. I think it needs to be in there, as more than just a footnote, but I don’t know where. For now it’s living at the end of the draft in the “stuff I don’t know what do to with” section.

Since my self-imposed deadline for finishing this chapter was the end of this semester, I’ve got a lot to do before next week’s progress report (also another boatload of grading is going to hit me starting Tuesday). Have to polish the “style as critique” section. The theoretical stuff is there and just needs to be made less dissertation-y I think. I’d like to have some more data in a couple places, but that may not happen. I may need to just synthesize some of the existing theory and be a little bit speculative. I think as long as I’m clear that I’m doing that, it’ll be ok. Then I’ve got the “style as political communication” section which is mostly theoretical. I worry that there’s a bunch of rhetorical theory that I should be using here, but I’m not a rhetorician so what I’ve got is just going to have to be good enough. After that is the “style as commodity” section, which I think is fairly done. And then conclusion and the very beginning of the intro.

So I’ve got about 6 sections to work on before I can call this draft done. Something tells me it may not happen by next Friday…

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