In this new feature the Sociological Imagination invites short (2500 word max) contributions reflecting on any aspect of academic craft. We use the term ‘craft’ in the broad sense conveyed by Richard Sennett:
Craftsmanship names an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake. Craftsmanship cuts a far wider swath than skilled manual labour; it serves the computer programmer, the doctor, and the artist; parenting improves when it is practiced as a skilled craft, as does citizenship. In all these domains, craftsmanship focuses on objective standards, on the thing in itself. Social and economic conditions, however, often stand in the way of the craftsman’s discipline and commitment; schools may fail to provide the tools to do good work, and workplaces may not truly value the aspiration for quality. And though craftsmanship can reward an individual with a sense of pride in work, this reward is not simple. The craftsman often faces conflicting objective standards of excellence; the desire to do something well for its own sake can be impaired by competitive pressures, by frustration, or by obsession.
We envision a number of forms such contributions might take:
- Reflections on particular academic roles (e.g.review editor).
- Reflection on the process of writing for particular forms of publication (e.g. journals, monographs, logs)
- Reflections on the craft of research (the tools utilised, your relationship with them, the messiness of the process)
- Reflections on where you work, the devices you use, how the ambiance shapes your writing
- Reflections on undertaking research, managing time, negotiating conflicting demands.
- Reflections on routines and writing practices which are integral to your craft
- If you were brave enough to send us a picture of your workspace we’d love to include it!
However these are only examples. We’re keen not to get posts of the style “10 Tips for Writing Good Journal Articles”. We have nothing against these posts – we often feature them! But this project is aim towards generating a discussion of the craft of sociological work, the practices which sustain it and the emotional life and personal concern which are irrevocably bound upon it. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore the constraints that contemporary academic structures place upon the creative exercise of sociological craft and how we can, hopefully, work towards ameliorating these circumstances.
If you want to submit a contribution for the project then please e-mail your contribution attached as word document (with any multimedia files attached separately) along with a short 2 line bio to accompany your post.