Back among IR scholars


in Daily updates, M.Phil thesis

I switched gears in reading today, and the result has been dramatic. There are really three kinds of research going into this thesis:

  1. Background reading about fundamental concepts like the nature of science
  2. Research on the case studies
  3. Examination of analyses of other case studies

Shifting from 1 to 3, I feel like I have gone from picking a few grains of gold dust out of a bucket of mud to striking a vein of solid gold. By that, I do not mean that the previous reading was uninteresting or poor scholarship. Rather, I mean that the ratio between pages of reading and possible thesis content approaches 1:1 in a lot of Litfin’s work, while it was much lower when reading general background materials. Seeing whole paragraphs that I could well imagine in my own thesis is both empowering and frightening. It proves that I am not totally insane in what I have written so far, and it holds out the threat that what I have come up with isn’t exactly original.

In any case, reading Karen Litfin’s Ozone Discourses, on the Montreal Protocol, has been quite engaging – even if she does have an annoying habit of wandering off into abstract discussions of marginally related philosophy, apparently simply so as to prove to everyone that she has thought a lot about Foucault.

That said, perhaps her statement that there is a “general human proclivity to believe that what one does not understand must not be very important” is proven in my response to her lengthy dissemination on Habermas et al.

PS. Days remaining until submission: 66.

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