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by Peter Moskos

June 9, 2010

On [Acadmic] Writing

I have an article in the current Political and Legal Anthropology Review, "Policing: A Sociologist’s Response to an Anthropological Account":
In order to be read (and who among us writes for sheer compositional joy alone?) writing needs to be good; people won’t read the other kind. The more jargon and sociobabble we anthropologists, sociologists, and ethnographers spew out, the more we strive to define ourselves as literate scribes in an academic temple, the more irrelevant we become.
...
I’m all for sound and progressive arguments, but style is the key to good writing. I just wish more academics would worry about the Elements of Style as much as they obsess over the whims of anonymous reviewers and straitjacket themselves with journal orthodoxy.
As an added bonus I've become a published poet in the same piece by reducing "Casey at the Bat" to haiku form:
mighty casey swings
oh two two on down by two
no joy in Mudville
Yes, folks, inspiration like that is why we professors always rake in the big bucks.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

PCM,

Didn't you say you were working on something about caning as an alternative to short term incarceration, something like that? Am I thinking of someone else?

From Canada

PCM said...

That would indeed be me. "In Defense of Flogging." I should be writing it right now.