dinsdag 2 oktober 2012

Which terms, whose terms?

Words matter, as Carol Gluck's and Anna Tsing's global lexicon "Words in Motion" exemplifies. How which words matter where in our research was the topic we talked about during the last walking seminar in Breukelen.

Which terms, whose terms?

There it is your object of research. But how to call it? And, more generally, in which terms to talk and write about it? Terms, notions, words differ between theoretical traditions, between academia and field, between one field and another. So, what to do? How to navigate these differences?

What words do your informants use to talk about the object you are interested in? Or, which different words - and how do the words differ? Are there (contrasting) word-experts? Are there typical practices where either one term or the other is prominent? When do you bring out these differences and when do you gloss over them?

What kind of practices are there in your field where your object, rather than talked about, is dealt with in other ways?

And then there are the "theoretically informed" literatures, where your object becomes related to notions such as "ontology", "aesthetics" or "subjectivity". Which are the theoretical issues that are at stake in the literature written about your object? What ways are there to engage with these notions? What ways are there to shift them?