I haven’t looked very far into this, but I wanted to register this first
entry under EWM’s newest category: Method. Method: what a fine
category label, eh? That’ll put a Full Nielson on Unsuspecting’s
attention, was my thought. Beats Mothoi…Methodoosies…Meth(odd)inks….
What brought this on? Well, I’m studying methodology this semester; it’s the
only class I’m taking that meets (the way conventional classes convene, I mean).
By and large, we’re reading inductively (is it conductive?) for methods and
methodologies, extrapolating ways of doing the work from the work itself.
This isn’t a hard-cast certainty; it’s more of an early observation from the
four-fifteenths (.267) moment in the semester. An I feel a stance
My plan for this category is to accumulate various bits and ends
(wander-methodically: metal detector at the beach-style). And although
we’re not spending as much time with meta-method (reading about methods
as much as reading enactments of methods, re-enacting them on a small
scale), I want to use this category to play through the possible reaches of
method. What are the limits to history, discourse analysis, ethnography
and theory (these, our four categories)? What do these methods
(method-orientations) conceal or domesticate? What do they feature? excite?
This brings me around to the faintly recurrent warnings I’ve stored up
relative to the dissertation. Common challenges: (-1-) haven’t read enough
and (-2-) method/ological haziness. I’m not trying to stockpile
dissertation-related anxieties yet, but in light of these thoughts, noting
possible methods just might be a productive turn. Where, in terms of
method and rhet/comp, do we meet up with mapping, network analysis, documentary,
the computational and the visual (the protocular method)?
Quickly to close: I’ve had the nagging sense that something is shared between
genre and method. If method, then, is a procedural way…a
protocol, then our naming of it (under the roomy rubric of history, let’s say)
likens it to a genre–genre as social action (C. Miller). The activity–a
manner/attitude/work-pattern–is sufficiently generic that we can hold it up (a
suspension) and name it. That’s what I think, anyway. Our formal
study of method is pretty darn close to expanded theorizations of genre (beyond
the bucket, the boxy treatment of text-only).