dinsdag 3 mei 2011

Getting to the point

This Friday some of you might have been walking in "real nature" and might have moved a lot of meters vertically.

We were walking a lot of meters horizontally, namely 16 000 m. And while walking we were wondering: What is the point?

What is the point?

There are two kinds of ‘point’. One resonates with what is also called the ‘argument’. The point of an article may be to argue (for instance) that the walking path from Breukelen station into the polder is a fine one for holding a walking seminar – but not as good as walking path Z (well, which one?). The second ‘point’ rather evokes effects and is thus linked up with what these days is also called ‘interference’. It may be the point of writing to tell the truth, to relate gripping stories, or, let’s abbreviate, to improve the world (or some specific part thereof – which one?).

What, against this background, is the point of the text you are currently working on (the chapter, article, summary, introduction)? And how does it relate to and fit within the point of your overall research project?

Is it easy or difficult to make ‘a point’ with/in your specific research project – compared to others? Which others? Which comparisons are helpful and/or illuminating?

How about the many ways in which one may make ‘a point’ – upfront, by stealth, early on, gradually, angrily, critically, meticulously, seductively – which ones do you like on which occasions – in the texts of others – in your own?

And what do you do on days when you wonder ‘what is the point?’

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