If the human world is as messy as I claim, then I need to take responsibility for shaping my work

Sometimes Often it feels like this whole PhD gig is about rediscovering the same thing so many times that you finally take notice and become familiar enough with it to be able to mobilise it in your own work. I suppose I can be a bit thick but, in the interest of charting my (hopefully) ‘hermeneutic spiral’ inspired progress, here are a couple of not too ground breaking observations.

The other week I was part of a conversation about how to deal with people potentially identifying themselves, or people they know well, in written work. I realised that I was labouring with the false hope that I can do enough work to let people find understanding even if they disagree. While I would like to only write about people and situations I know enough about to be able to present the type of nuanced discussion that gives some glimpse into the messy reality of human life, ultimately my understandings will only ever be partial.

 

I have been working with the misplaced hope that if I take my deliberations to others they will some how be able to tell me if I am completely wrong or a little bit right. It has been liberating, and a little bit terrifying, to come to understand that my data cannot be verified as right or wrong within the university; my data will be judged on how, and whether, it answers my question.

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