Writing on Writing
As you read the effortless and insightful prose of the luminaries in your discipline, do you ever wonder how they do it? We certainly have, and as part of the Writing Across Boundaries project, we decided to ask them.
We have written to a number of scholars who have made a significant contribution to the social science literature and asked them to write a short piece (500 to 1,500 words) offering their personal reflections on the process of writing. In these pieces, scholars from a variety of social science disciplines share their thoughts, feelings, pearls of wisdom, anecdotes, theoretical musings and much else likely to give insight and inspiration to those in the later stages of doctoral writing.
We have had a good response and been able to assemble a series of thought provoking pieces. We have a list of scholars lined up to provide their insights in to writing but why not let us know who you would like to see produce a piece by emailing us.
Latest Writing on Writing
In a slight departure from our usual Writers on Writing format we have posted a longer than usual contribution by Michael Carrithers, Professor of Anthropology at Durham University. In it he explores the notion of anthropology as irony. In so doing he takes us on a highly reflexive and engaging excursion, taking in writing, translation, interpretation, rhetoric, and publishing along the way. In understanding the way that writing produces its effects we are also treated to an insightful exegesis of Godfrey Lienhardt’s classic ‘Divinty and Experience’ [in other words, we realise afresh why this ethnography is a ‘classic’].
The first contribution came from
Dame Professor Marilyn Strathern of the University of Cambridge with a piece called 'Outside desk-work', in which she reflects on her personal response to dealing with the 'data-theory gap'.
She has been followed by:
- Professor Irving Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, who gives a comment on Writing Across Boundaries.
- William Outhwaite, Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University, writes on 'What is Writing'
- Liz Stanley, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Narrative and Auto/Biographical Studies at Edinburgh University, with 'It's a craft and a job and requires practice'
- Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmus Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, on the importance for PhD candidates not only to 'start writing early, but to finish writing early as well'.
- Norman Denzin, Professor of Sociology, Cinema Studies, and Interpretive theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with 'Mystories: Connecting the Personal and the Political'
- Bryan S. Turner, Professor of Sociology in the Asian Research Institute at the National University of Singapore, on 'How to write practically'
- JP Roos, Professor of Social Policy at the University of Helsinki discusses 'Which (or Whose) Language Should I Use?'
- Arthur Kleinman, Professor of Medical Anthropology and Cross Cultural Psychiatry at Harvard University, on his Search for a Voice.
- Alan Mcfarlane, Professor of Anthropological Science, University of Cambridge and Fellow, King's College, Cambridge, with 'Some rough notes on writing methods: from typewriter, via computers to the pen.
- Ken Plummer, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Essex, writes 'On Pragmatism and Poetics'.
- Harry F. Wolcott, Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at the University of Oregon, with 'A Short Note on Writing'.
- Alan Walker, Professor of Social Policy and Social Gerontology, at the University of Sheffield, 'On Writing'
- Jaber Gubrium, Professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, with 'Curbing Self-Referential Writing'.
- Howard S. Becker, with 'Some words about writing'.
- Patrick Sullivan, Professor at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, Australian National University, with 'Writing With Your Head in Your Hands'.
- Arthur W. Frank, Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary with Writing as a Form of Analysis
- Tim Ingold, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, with 'In defence of handwriting'
- Harvey Molotch, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis , New York University, with 'How to write something'
- Roy Wagner, Professor of Anthropology, Virginia University, with 'Depersonalizing the Digression'
- Catherine Finer Jones, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Birmingham University, UK, with 'Writing about writing'.
- Shulamit Reinharz, Jacob Potofsky Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University, "Improving your writing, if you weren’t taught the basics in high school.
- Professor Paul Nchoji Nkwi, Centre for Applied Social Science Research and Training, University of Yaounde, Cameroon with a contribution on writing in English.
- Anna Tsing, in dialogue with Paulla Ebron with 'Writing and rhythm: call and response'
- Les Back, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London with a contribution called 'Take your Reader There'
Still to come....
- David Silverman, with 'Tips on Writing a PhD'