Task sequencing altered


in Daily updates, M.Phil thesis, Oxford, Writing

Today’s meeting with my supervisor was very useful – the flaws in my draft second chapter were discussed, and a route forward proposed. As soon as possible, I am to submit a revised chapter two introduction, as well as draft versions for the opening sections of chapters three and four. These are to lay out the central purpose of each chapter, the three or four main arguments that will be made, and the structure that will be used:

  • Chapter two, main argument: the linear model of scientific investigation is wrong, in the context of environmental politics generally and Stockholm and Kyoto specifically
  • Chapter three: scientific and political consensus are not independent, the first does not chronologically precede the second
  • Chapter four: technical remedies to environmental problems are not value neutral (be sure to focus on remedies and scientific rationality, not economic rationality ie. Coase)

Once that is done, I am to revise chapter two into a more logical form, then write the draft of chapter three that was originally due tomorrow. The objective of all this is to have the structure of all three chapters finalized by the end of the month, as well as their introductions and conclusions. Then, when Dr. Hurrell leaves for Brazil and I go to Dorset, it will be a matter of tidying things up, adding some footnotes, and generally polishing the finished work prior to submission.

Of course, that leaves me with eighteen days to write two more chapters, as well as discuss and edit them. Amazing how the period in which the bulk of the work on a project actually seems to get done always lumps up at the end. Hopefully, all the background reading I have been doing since last year will percolate into my analysis.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

A. March 13, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Glad you had such a productive meeting.

Milan March 13, 2007 at 6:46 pm

In truth, I was quite worried about it. Version 1-4 of chapter two (the version discussed) was a bit of a hasty amalgam of version 0-6 and an entirely new and unannotated version 1-0.

As such, it isn’t really surprising that the structure is problematic. The biggest relief was learning that – in my supervisor’s eyes, at least – the chapter does say something new and relevant to international relations.

Milan March 13, 2007 at 6:48 pm

Version 2-0, to be completed ASAP, should be a substantial improvement.

Anon @ Wadh March 13, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Regarding thesis structure, they are meant to be extremely predictable and utterly lacking in surprise:

In this section, I will show X.
Evidence for X.
In this section, I have shown X.

Sarah March 14, 2007 at 3:29 am

Glad to hear that you’re getting some useful feedback in exchange for your huge tuition fees! I, on the other hand, don’t pay any tuition, so I suppose I’m getting great value supervision ;-) .

Milan March 14, 2007 at 10:29 am


You get a rather startling figure if you divide a year of Oxford fees by the number of teaching hours.

This year, it would be 16 (Developing World option) plus 16 (International Law option) plus four supervisions of about an hour each. That works out to $733 an hour (£349).

Of course, the fees also pay for maintaining fancy buildings and good libraries, as well as subsidizing local undergraduates.

Ben March 14, 2007 at 3:12 pm

Don’t forget all those optional lectures, like Henry Shue’s…

Milan March 14, 2007 at 7:45 pm

The Pope on environmental politics

“Theology, philosophy and science all speak of a harmonious universe, of a “cosmos” endowed with its own integrity, its own internal, dynamic balance. This order must be respected. The human race is called to explore this order, to examine it with due care and to make use of it while safeguarding its integrity.

On the other hand, the earth is ultimately a common heritage, the fruits of which are for the benefit of all. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, “God destined the earth and all it contains for the use of every individual and all peoples” (Gaudium et Spes, 69). This has direct consequences for the problem at hand. It is manifestly unjust that a privileged few should continue to accumulate excess goods, squandering available resources, while masses of people are living in conditions of misery at the very lowest level of subsistence. Today, the dramatic threat of ecological breakdown is teaching us the extent to which greed and selfishness – both individual and collective – are contrary to the order of creation, an order which is characterized by mutual interdependence.”

“Even men and women without any particular religious conviction, but with an acute sense of their responsibilities for the common good, recognize their obligation to contribute to the restoration of a healthy environment. All the more should men and women who believe in God the Creator, and who are thus convinced that there is a well-defined unity and order in the world, feel called to address the problem. Christians, in particular, realize that their responsibility within creation and their duty towards nature and the Creator are an essential part of their faith. As a result, they are conscious of a vast field of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation opening up before them.”

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: