skysha_tranqui: (Veronica Mars Oopsie --> pic by agent00)
[personal profile] skysha_tranqui
I tentatively had my dissertation idea. :)

I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much about it, 'cause I still haven't done a full essay plan for it, and I also haven't emailed my supervisor, so she could still say I can't do it.

Didn't stop me from having hysterics last night when I came up with the idea!

I ran downstairs and barged in on Steph to tell her my idea & do a happy dance, and then she completely crashed my mood by telling me she only has 18 days to finish her dissertation in...and given how early I'm trying to get mine done by I have even less than that - and she's been doing her dissertation since last summer! :/ So not quite sure how I'm going to get it all done in 2 weeks, but I really need to!

Anyway, my idea is....

Sociology as a discipline, and how some areas are harder to study than others - i.e. why in some areas it is harder to get theories and work accepted by academic peers.

It sounds massive, and v.random, but I spent y*day reading about stupid science, and how it's being suggested by people who study science that the discipline needs to move away from the traditional view of SCIENCE (i.e. objective, detached) towards RESEARCH (i.e. connected and curious) - and then it hit me that most of the problems I've been writing about in my other modules, are due to the fact that the research isn't considered scientific enough. Which for a 'social science' is plain ridiculous!

It's always seemed to me that the strength of sociology is that it's not afraid to postulate theories as to why something is the way it is, and yet in anomalous human experiences, consciousness, and humans & other animals (and probably other areas too, but these are the ones I've done), the academics almost seem afraid to do this.

So I've got my main idea - which is that in certain areas of sociology there is driving desire for a rigorous scientific method. And I've even got a potential idea as to why that is; the 3 areas I'm looking at all seem similar in that they're focused on very individual and personal phenomena.

With anomalous experiences the struggle there has been to determine both the worth of a person's statement (quite hard, given the generally accepted notion that even if they are 'telling the truth' it is equally possible that they have been misled themselves), and subsequently how to study something which can only really be experienced by one person.

Consciousness follows on from this almost, as it deals with an individual's state of being; their awareness of being aware, and what this can tell us about our experience of being human. Again though, this is dealing with things which are intrinsically tied to the individual, and forms of study for this area basically revolve around asking the individual to analyse their own mental state and functions.

Animals are mainly being studied with a view as to whether or not they are deserving of status in the 'moral community' - a question which depends on precisely how different their thoughts and ability to feel emotions/pain, differ from humans. Here the problem is two-fold, as we cannot know how an animal thinks, but equally what is assumed is that humans all think & feel the same.


Anyway, that's just briefly why I've chosen those 3 to study, and it's still a bit wishy-washy right now.

Today the plan is to do a full essay plan, and see if I can start reading based on the books I've got here at the mo. I want to get my plan emailed to my supervisor today, but equally I don't want to email her anything until it's fully fleshed-out. I don't want her to dismiss it because it's a crappy plan.

So ideally I'll have done a good overall plan, and then outlined the first chapter in detail - a.k.a. started writing it.

Right! Off to work I guess.

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Sarah

April 2008

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