It just took me over an hour to write an email to my supervisor. The reason for the email is that we are supposed to meet tomorrow but I have not rewritten my interview questions or ethics application since we met last Thursday because I do not feel like I can do a better job at the moment. I really do not want to wear out my welcome when it comes to meetings. Writing the email ended up being a great exercise in its own right because through writing it I found a possible starting point. I thought I would capture this idea in this blog post through unpacking it a bit further.

My most recent thought is to use the notion of ‘investment’ as a lens as it should allow me to look at

  • economic & social capital
  • agency in processes of identity formation & communication
  • means & ends

Furthermore, I could be able to do this without naturalising ‘community’.

Hopefully this will be a way of getting at the question of whether there are ‘one or many’ communities of Port Melbourne. If I get enough data I should be able to map out

  • who takes community to be the goal

  • when community is seen as/ used as a tool towards other ends

  • and/or if community is ascribed the status of pre-existing social reality.

Through looking at investments in the social world and the urban landscape, it should be possible to be able to get some understanding of what sort of community/ communities are imagined and who shares those same representations. The notion of ‘investment’ also lends itself to looking at the desirability and feasibility of moving on, whether this is moving on from poverty or affluenza. I like how the capitalist baggage carried by the term ‘investment’ highlights how the investments that are made change the context (market) in which they operate.

Of course, a lens needs to be considered not only by what it includes but also by what it leaves out. While I do not want to start off with an overly narrow project, I think if I am looking at such a diverse geographic area and so many households I need to narrow down my scope to some degree. I think ‘investment’ as a starting point moves the focus from representations in and of themselves to the intended and actual outcomes of representations.


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