Sang-Froid

 

Dont worry, my research has not led me to become a serial killer. Not yet anyway.

However, I have challenged myself to not lose my cool. To stay focused. And to try to be more disciplined in my professional work, including my research. Thanks partly to @PLongy.

As it turns out, this has been useful for my current PhD work in which I try to demonstrate the gap in the literature. I tend to approach research as a bit of a chore and cant stop thinking about the deadline. This sometimes, well often, results in rushing the work and leaving out important detail.

Today, I’ve been more like a detective in trying to cross reference specific arguments in the academic literature. I’ll give you an example.

In my area of study, Angela McRobbie is often quoted when researchers discuss self-exploitation in cultural work. She’s done a lot of work in fashion and music commenting on the insecurity of creative work. In the late 90’s McRobbie wrote this:

The majority of the young fashion designers I have interviewed would earn more as temps or secretaries but their commitment to notions of personal creativity provides them with a utopian idea of breaking down the distinctive between dull work and enjoyable leisure. If paid employment is no longer secure, then self-employed but ‘creative’ insecurity is often more appealing than uncreative job security in a large company or corporation.

This work has been referenced by many including Andrea Ellmeier in her paper about Cultural Entrepreneurship. But other than Gill and Pratt’s empirical work, there are few studies that specifically identify issues of self-exploitation in self-employed or freelance cultural workers by engaging directly with cultural producers. This is problematic because I think there is a reliance on general accounts of cultural work which do not reveal a more complex experience.

Anyway, I could go on… but the main point here is that it is only by drilling down into the detail of an argument that you reveal something potentially significant.

I hope it is significant but even if it isn’t. I’m 500 words closer to getting part of my literature review done!

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