Chapter 2 What to write about? The parable of Diogenes
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In this short chapter, I ponder the question of choosing appropriate topics for social science writing. Taking inspiration from Diogenes the Cynic and C. Wright Mills, I argue for viewing social science as an ongoing and undirected conversation where no topics are ever conclusively settled, and all discussions are liable to be re-opened and continued. I briefly wonder at the staggering variety of different ways of framing the same research experience, and the possibilities this opens up for writing social science differently. I argue against prescriptive determination of appropriate research tropics, and for the research and expressive freedom offered by the search for resonances with past texts, own experiences, and current contexts. I praise the example of Diogenes in resisting the seduction of aligning one's research with the currently dominant power structures, and in being able to find one's purpose and enjoyment outside the formal reward systems.

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