Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nowhere Girl

i am doing a PhD in Politics. raised eyebrows anyone? yeah, i too got suprised. apparently here in murdoch. a PhD is a PhD. specialization is not that emphasized. so when i applied, i could only tick PhD since there were no major fields accompanying it. when i asked jane (the principal supe), she was at a loss in answering since apparently it was not an issue. not a question. you just have to write phd vitti, period. period. so when i got here, the admissions letter said that i will be doing a PhD in...politics? so again, i went to jane to clarify. oh, it's because you belong to my department. later on, the specialization shifted although in a more comfortable zone, for me. it was now PhD in Politics and International Studies. ok, being under 'international studies' makes sense. My MA was on Development Studies and now, the focus of my research is in a development project in the Philippines. from the perspective of australians, i am doing an international study, a subject in Asia. hmmm, ok.

the meeting this morning on my research questions went well and so did on the 20-page brief. but readily, i could sense the gulf, the difference in perspectives between myself, jane (a political economist) and carol (the co-supe, an anthropologist). i realized after that the tools i have, the tools that i am comfortable with are those of a sociologist, a social analyst since this is what i became after the MA. in this field, i got to practice my MA. i was used to studying household units essentially and on a larger scale, programs. but never have i gone to extending analyses to policy and political economy. so i looked at jane and carol and saw from where the limits of my perspectives came from. i come from nowhere compared to them. i am on my second month, nearly (13 Sept is just two days away). and good that i realized this, this early. i had to broaden my thinking. i had to extend it beyond what i know now to be able to capture more meaning on the urban poor situation that i'm studying.

back in the flat, i was supposed to read judge dee but could not concentrate. instead, i racked up the catalogues in the library to read this time on political economy, social policy and collective action. from the micro to the macro. the learning process takes on a new tack. i'm taking a different route this time en route to the mountaintop.

Photo credit to Qi Zhou (Singapore) of www.123rf.com

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