Sociologists and anthropologists reflect on the craft of writing

This wonderful project undertaken by the Department of Anthropology at Durham University has solicited short reflections on writing from an intriguing selection of authors from across the social sciences:

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.

This is very much the sort of idea I had in mind with the Sociological Craft Project, though I guess I hope this will be simultaneously broader (in format and topic) but also narrower (restricted to sociology). Thus far I’ve only worked my way through a few of these short pieces and I’m writing this post in part as a place holder to remind me to come back this material. I’ve thought for some time that projects like this need to be encouraged and could be an important part of postgraduate training. Unfortunately, it is the sort of topic which can too frequently be left homeless within the traditional landscape of scholarly communication. It’s one of many reasons why I find an increasing turn towards academic blogging so exciting, as even those who don’t set out to focus on topics of ‘craft’ invariably shine a light on these ‘backstage’ aspects of academic practice which are usually obscured from view.

Here’s the full selection from the site:

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