An Account

Latour, in ch. 5 of Reassembling, writes this of "slowciological"

What is an account? It is typically a text, a small ream of paper a few
millimeters thick that is darkened by a laser beam. It may contain 10,000
words and be read by very few people, often only a dozen or a few hundred if
we are really fortunate. A 50,000 word thesis might be read by a half a
dozen people (if you are lucky, even your PhD advisor would have read parts
of it!) and when I say ‘read’, it does not mean ‘understood’, ‘put to use’,
‘quoted’, ‘shelved somewhere in a pile’. At best we add an account to all
those which are simultaneously launched in the domain we have been studying.
Of course, this study is never complete. We start in the middle of things,
in medias res, pressed by our colleagues, pushed by fellowships,
starved for money, strangled by deadlines. And most of the things we have
been studying, we have ignored or misunderstood. (122)

Even if I don’t choose this as the epigraph to the preface to the rough draft
of my dissertation prospectus, I find it to be an encouraging and humorous
characterization of the phase that lies ahead. And this is to say nothing of
seeming one of the more important (read smart, even riveting)
books I’ve picked up in recent months. Well, right, I am being sort of pokey in
crawling through it, the way an aspiring slowciologist of associations should.

1 Comment

  1. This is a wonderful reminder as I’m having a mega anxiety attack over recent revisions…

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