April 2008


My cat has been helping me get through a really horrible 6 day exam. I’ve been trying to bribe her with catnip to type my essays for me, but so far she’s only agreed to sit on the keyboard and purr. I thought I’d up the stakes, and offer to buy her a new wardrobe if she worked harder. She was pretty disgusted by the site I found, but it made my day.

CAT PRIN — the tailor for a cat you know — it is — fact which will become dearer than former if a cat has clothes on

But I thought that maybe I’m aiming too high trying to get her to write essays that even I can’t write. Perhaps instead, if I get Cat the Anne of Green Gables outfit, “The cat which became a hood figure is likely to have a broom at any moment, and is likely to begin cleaning.” Great! I can put her to work on the kitchen instead!

I also learnt from this wonderful site that, having got Cat’s help, I must “say then, without forgetting the language of gratitude to a cat. “– be flooded — a way — good — having done one’s best — ! –“. ”

There you go. You learn something new everyday.

One happy cat.

Would you trust this cat to write your exam?

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I’ve been lost in a forest of work for the last few months. Its getting crazy as I get close to leaving to start my field work. I was having a conversation with someone a while ago about the loss of the sublime in academic life, the result of which is that the closest we get to art is picking profile pictures for facebook. In a similar thread, I’ve just read and reread this paragraph from Bourdieu on scientific fields, and come to the conclusion its the closest I’ve got to poetry in a long while. Here it is, in the style of “The Poetry of Donald Rumsfeld”:

“The specificity of the scientific field and the social conditions of the progress of reason”

by P. Bourdieu.

The structure of the distribution of scientific capital
is the source of the transformations of the scientific field
through the intermediary of the strategies
for conservation or subversion
of the structure which the structure itself produces:

on the one hand,

the position which each individual agent
occupies
in the structure of the scientific field
at any given moment
is the resultant,
“crystallized”
in institutions and dispositions,
of the sum of the previous strategies of that agent

and his competitors,

strategies which themselves depend
on the structure of the field
through the intermediary of the structural positions
from which
they originate;

and on the other hand,

transformations of the structure of the field
are the product of strategies
for conversation
or subversion
whose orientation and efficacy are derived
from the properties of the positions
occupied within the field
by those
who
produce them.

It has a nice flow to it I think. Oh well, back to the grind stone.