Thoughtful Doll, Blogging with Research

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My first post went out on 11th April, and I am very pleased with how it is going so far. For the couple of criticisms received that it isn’t ‘high brow’ or ‘serious enough’, the positive responses have far outweighed those negative voices. You can’t please everyone, whether in blogging, research, work, personal life, and it is important to be happy and proud in what you do. This blog represents me, it isn’t meant to be pretentious, or exclusive, or show how clever I am (side-eyes). It is a way of formulating ideas and arguments, a tool for self reflection, and a way of networking with others and being brave enough to put messy or unfinished ideas out there.

As the amazing and refreshing Professor Richard Jenkins said at the Translation and Transformation conference at the University of Sheffield, 5th June 2013, “Sociology has its own barbaric language”.

Professor Jenkins’ keynote was captivating, he spoke of his increasing impatience with social theory, it makes the world too complicated. “This stuff isn’t rocket science”. I could have cheered, or maybe fist-pumped (though I would probably have been removed, and it was my first paper that day, so I behaved).

Professor Jenkins also said “don’t be intimidated” of academia.

It really was a superb keynote, I love hearing papers delivered by down-to-earth people like this. I actually love theory, but in its rightful place. It is not something to hide behind, something to mark your territory with, or something to neglect the everyday for.

There are some wonderful bloggers out there, truly gifted writers (check out http://www.xojane.com/author/sarah-woolley) and I do not have that skill. But you work with what you have, and you inhabit that niche. I have a lot to say, and I am happy to share. I also like to support fellow students and researchers. There are a lot of people out there who like to patronize and shoot people down, reinforcing the exclusive and elitist nature of academia and knowledge. The tonic for this is creating a supportive network and space for the exchange of ideas.

I know for some students the thought of blogging is terrifying as they are scared of looking ‘stupid’. If you want to blog, then do it. This one is only just starting out, but I hope to build on it and improve. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t think people care too much, they don’t. Yes, be professional and don’t say anything libellous, but if you wish to speak on controversial issues, you get respect for having the conviction to do so. And at least you are saying something you are passionate about.

I am not sure what I will do when I finish my studies (well, actually, I do have a full plan a,b,c and d at present, but they are top secret, sssshhhh) but I want to be known for being me. What you see is what you get.

Having become friends with Dr Billie Lister (another blog to check out) who calls herself an “unlikely academic” I also proudly use that term. I just like to think.

I am writing a post about sexual harassment/ unwanted attention in academia, which again, is a post some people have said “I wouldn’t write that you know, people won’t like it” which is precisely why I will write it. I am not a people-pleaser.

So far, this blog has introduced me to wonderful, interesting, down-to-earth people, both in RL and as part of a cyber-community, and it has been a invaluable conversation starter.

Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or feedback, please contact me. x

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