RAM: Seriality and Serendipity
I spent a little quality time in the cgbvb archives last night, and thought I’d dredge up the entry below. It’s a nice example of the kind of seriality that Kathleen was talking about, and also highlights for me the kinds of serendipity that online scholarship is capable of. Sadly, the blogosphere isn’t quite the metonymy machine that it used to be, but this summer, I’ve been feeding data from my desktop and my iPad into Instapaper, and I’m finding that the same kinds of patterns emerge.
I also found out that at some point, for a while anyway, I was ending blog entries with “Snip, snap, snout.” I don’t have any recollection what that was about.
[This entry is a little more impressive with all of the links that I originally included, but now that they're mostly dead and gone, I went ahead and scraped them. Dead links are not as impressive.]
“So that’s how it works!”
Collin vs Blog, 18 September 2006
I have a folder on my desktop that I’ve been gradually filling for almost two years now. I probably add something once a month or so. Maybe I’ll pull something off of a delicious bookmark, or I’ll see a link to a pdf through Bloglines, and just dump it in.
So anyway, I didn’t have a “next” thing to read about 10 days ago, so I went into that folder and grabbed a pdf. Turns out it was James Moody’s “The Structure of a Social Science Collaboration Network: Disciplinary Cohesion from 1963 to 1999.” I read it right before I left for Jeff & Jenny’s wedding, so I marked it up some with the intent of bookblogging it. Before I could do so, I was browsing my blog stats, and found some visits from a site I hadn’t seen before, and followed the link, coincidentally enough, to the page of a grad student who’s working with Moody.
Which was enough to send me browsing through the various pages associated with the Sociology department at Ohio State, including Moody’s, which took me to the page for his course on Theories of Social Action. And although there are lots of texts both there and on other pages that ended up in that desktop folder of mine, the one that happened to catch my eye was Mustafa Emirbayer’s “Manifesto for a Relational Sociology” (JSTOR), which of course I’ve now read and intend to bookblog as well.
And in the works cited for Emirbayer’s essay, I happened to see an entry from David Kaufer, whose Rhetoric and the Arts of Design I’m a fan of. And it turns out that he and Kathleen Carley wrote an essay on semantic connectivity back in 1993, which of course is next on my list and will be bookblogged once I do. But the emphasis on relational sociology (as opposed to sociologies that assume substance) in Emirbayer’s essay connects for me with Latour (whom Emirbayer cites), which is close to the top of my brainpile thanks to Jenny’s post.
But it’s Debbie’s post, along with the comment about verbing rhetoric, that reminds me that I need to go back and dig up Michel Serres’ stuff about philosophy that would focus primarily not on nouns or verbs, but rather on prepositions. And the appeal for me of the word pre/position, as something both that is relational and that precedes the stasis of positioning, clicks together pretty nicely with Massumi (whom Debbie also mentions) and Jenny both.
That it inches me closer to the things I want to say, by this point, is almost gravy. That’s how it works.