發文作者:Albert Tzeng | 2010/07/23

Ambivalence about an Award

Winning the RCHS Young Scholar competition with the paper I presented in ISA Congress was a pleasant suprise, but somehow I always felt an ambivalent feeling on that. I left the feeling there untouched until last night, when I saw a caring senior colleague gladly sharing this news with a group of Taiwanese delegates in this event with warm remarks on congraduating me. Hit by a strong feeling of embarrasement, I wrote the following mail reflecting on why I felt ambivalent on the award:

Dear All

I won’t pretend that I wasn’t glad, in particular 500 Euro did contribute to my tight budget. However, deep in my mindI kept on hearing a voice reminding myself not to get too excited.The first obvious reason, as I said in my earlier mail, was that I myself am not yet convinced that the paper was that good. I knew it has certain potential, but more polishing is needed to bring more focus in the analysis and the evidences utilized in my arguments need to be further strengthened.

This realization brought me to a second level of reflection on why I was awarded. To put in the terms of sociology of knowledge, what were the social factors that contribute to the decision by the juries to award my paper. To this I first thought of the ideological affinity of these reviewer with the skeptical views on managerialism expressed in my essay, and secondly their lack of familiarity with the empirical reality in Asia (hence the ability to question my substantive interpretation). I realize that I might be able to convince the group of Western scholars just based on my logic of argument, but this won’t guarantee that my writing can be as penetrating among the Asian colleagues.

Departing from this reservation, I came to a important observation of my innate conviction: I seem to have taken those people that my research is about as the ultimate judge of research. If I believe the delivery of sociological imagination is aimed to help people relating their personal life with broader social and historical context, it is only through a appreciative reception by its ‘subject’ that the research can be finally vindicated.

At a more fundamental level, I think I was trying not to let my own judgment on myself influenced by any of such artificial, external evaluation to a significant extent, just as I don’t want it to be moved too easily by criticism. I seem to feel that, if I allow myself to feel too happy with the result, I am running the risk of compromising my independent critical faculty in face of the sort of credit-chasing game. Staying alert when I was supposed to cheer is not that natural, but necessary.

Following the same logic, I am also ambivalent with the ‘symbolic capital’ brought by this award. Yes I immediately got more attention in my RC once the award was announced, but was that level of attention/ expectation necessarily good? What are the implications if I let this capital flow through my intellectual life? ‘Capital’ is something every sociologist is alert of. It enables, attracts more accumulation, but also creates bubbles and risks, and in the fundamental level alienates. Hence I try to be cautious in managing the flow of this sort of capital by controlling how much I want to popularize this news, just like the governments need to control the transnational capital flow to protect its economy.

 

附件:以下文字,寫於七月二號,感謝在FB版上祝賀生日的朋友們,也提到前一天剛寄出的論文,紀錄著當時的心境。

最近想到七月一,只記得是條「死線」,幾乎忘了是生日,這天真是生死一線啊!來報告一下:六月22收到一封信,原來我七月中旬去ISA報的那個RC 決定來個新人獎,七月一號交稿。五百歐元還蠻誘人,當天就決定開始狂寫。從第一頁開始,八天飆了一萬三千多字,比之前寫碩論還快。不過前面五千字還能嚴謹安插 citation,後面半篇幾乎就是直接論證,先寫過去之後再回來插針修改。昨天晚上,眼看來不及了加最後的Section,斧底抽薪改摘要,假裝後面沒有了。匆忙寄出去前,唉,別說沒有polish,連bibliogrpahy都沒來得及整理。這樣的完成度,當作業都不見得及格,那個新人獎絕對沒指望。不過文章主線已經有了,寄出去審委就得看。到時候開會,跟他們問建議才會有內容。拼這個死線,就是多三個免費指導教授幫我看這一章,還是划算!

廣告

說說你的想法

在下方填入你的資料或按右方圖示以社群網站登入:

WordPress.com Logo

您的留言將使用 WordPress.com 帳號。 登出 / 變更 )

Twitter picture

您的留言將使用 Twitter 帳號。 登出 / 變更 )

Facebook照片

您的留言將使用 Facebook 帳號。 登出 / 變更 )

Google+ photo

您的留言將使用 Google+ 帳號。 登出 / 變更 )

連結到 %s

分類

%d 位部落客按了讚: