I might be on the down slope in this second chapter. I’ve been writing
about scale, aerating the idea of "textual altitude." I begin with conventional
notions of scale, like those we find in traditional, basic cartography. Drawing
on a couple of geography resources, I brush the term in two different
directions: representational scale and conceptual scale. Next, I bring
Latour on board so that he will help me account for the problems with the
micro/macro debate. Latour urges a flattening out of the social so
that associations are rendered traceable (without jumps up or down or the
proliferation of tiny, temporary, bridges of convenience). Latour is especially on point
for what I’m trying to set up where he distinguishes between the
Orders of Magnitude, a
variation of scale that is useful for measuring, and panoramic vistas, which are
appropriate for traveling (186). Right, his replacement of panoptica with
oligoptica pertains to scale, too, and I include it briefly, as well. I’m surprised (the
sort of surprise that turns into: What now?) by the correspondences
between what has shaped up in the section on scale and what shaped up in the
section on abstraction. Both chunks scream certain unavoidable ideas at
me that will return later in the diss as-conceived (esp. in C. 6). Can’t
worry about this yet. It doesn’t have to be settled until, oh, March or April.
One challenge of late is that in my quasi-outline I fancy holding to just ten
pages on the concept of scale (same for the other three concepts I snake through
in this second chapter). But ten pages won’t be enough unless I discard a
few citations, do away with some of the references I’d hoped to include.
At nine pages into this section on scale, I have dealt only with the traditional
cartography and Latour. I was also thinking I would bring aboard the
network studies conversation about scale-free networks. I can’t accomplish
this and keep to ten pages, but I can attempt it while keeping the section down
around fifteen pages. So that this seems like a good idea, I only need to
remind myself that what I’ve been writing will be different later on, after the
ruts and pockets are rolled smooth.