Holidays are perfect time for some fun, non-research reading. No need to go far from academia though. In this summer time post, Marta shares hers thoughts on novels featuring academics and researchers…
So this happened back when I was an undergrad Philosophy student.
After our first ever lecture on Heidegger we wandered out into the corridor in a state of stunned amazement – the theory seemed so deep and complex, touching on the most intimate experience of everyday being and yet it was so difficult to grasp… also because the lecturer made a point of quoting the most crucial fragments and concepts in German…
Regardless, we were deeply impressed – both with Heidegger and with our professor who appeared to have read the 800-page “Sein und Zeit” with pleasure, and even understood the oeuvre (apparently, it is all very simple if you read it in the original). When we were already on the doorsteps of the building, lighting our Gauloises cigarettes (mandatory attribute of young philosophers, in case you didn’t know) and exchanging whispers full of reverence, a fellow student approached us, with a strange look on his face.
I wrote this post thinking about my Phd journey so far. Like many novice researchers, I struggle with finding out who I am in this new world called academia, where everyone ‘speaks funny’ and seems to be able to identify with some expertise in a certain field of knowledge.
How much do we know about the establishment of the field of semiotics? Eduardo Chávez Herrera (Warwick) shares his observations of semiotics in four countries.
Names are important, even more so when you are an aspiring researcher. Marta writes about her experience in academia and identifies three possible ways of dealing with ‘name trouble’.
–So, what’s your name?
–Oh, Magda! I have a friend…
–No, that would be another popular Polish name. But mine is Marta.
–Manga? Well that sounds Japanese!
–No, actually it’s Marta. M-A-R-T-A
–You know what? Just call me Martha.
Belonging to a group is very important to people. Even people who claim to be loners and deliberately live in the most isolated locations would still belong to a family unit, a community and/or a nation. We all seek belonging be it with other people or on a more abstract level, with a school of thought or belief.
Science and scientists have been the object of scholarship for some time now. Fields like the philosophy, sociology, or history of science as well as the sociology of intellectuals are all interested in how ideas and scientific discoveries emerge in certain (social, historical, philosophical) contexts. In this post junior researchers of the DISCONEX project explain what inspired them to investigate the curious world of academic researchers.
Researchers often struggle with how they are categorized by others
Researchers should be free from constraints that prevent them from the pursuit of scientific truth – this is an idea that universities all over the world like to pride themselves on. However, even the purest, most basic research is subject to pressures which are never exclusively scientific. Researchers are subject to a number of social constraints as they compete for resources, pursue careers, and network with others. In a nutshell, research is a social practice – a practice which does not only turn around ideas.
In my own career, I am often reminded of the social aspects of research when I interact with other researchers:I find it painful to be defined by a limited set of academic career parameters!
Sixian is a PhD student member and Ronny is project manager of the DISCONEX team. In this blog post, they discuss why the blog is titled ‘Academic Wor(l)ds’ and what they think the DISCONEX project tries to do. In subsequent blog posts, you would hear more voices from the team discussing other aspects of the project.
Academic Wor(l)ds is a research journal of the DISCONEX project, which investigates how researchers do research.
DISCONEX contributes to the emerging field of Social Sciences and Humanities Studies (SSHS) as well as to the transdisciplinary field of Discourse Studies. The project compares academic practices and cultures of SSH research in France, Germany, the UK and the US, particularly in two fields with distinct knowledge traditions and institutional cultures: linguistics and sociology. We analyse the discursive practices taking place in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH).