Bwahaha I am so funny!

Apologies to anyone who read my last post and thought I was serious about my PhD study plans on Wednesday and Friday.

I was yust yoking, folks. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself as I failed (yet again) to do any meaningful work on my literature review. Not from lack of trying, however. I DID manage to create a very pretty scroll outlining my topics:


Of course, as I was determining what was known and not known I realised there was plenty I still didn’t know about my research, never mind what the rest of the world doesn’t know about the work I am researching.

Worth doing the research to support my topic review? Hell, yes. Do I want to do the research? Hell, no. Am I lazy? No. Bored? A little. Does this part of the PhD feel rather like the homework I failed time and again to do when I was in secondary school? Why, yes, yes it does. Do I need a kick up the bum? Yes, yes I very much do. Am I procrastinating again? Yes, it looks like I am.

My last post promised to be assertive on time management and planning. This I clearly failed to achieve. But I will try, try and try again to plan this thing and do this thing. Because I am SICK TO DEATH OF THIS THING. So, this is what really happened on Wednesday:

10.10 arrive home from the gym, sweaty and hot. Put a load of washing on.

10.15 get out my Cultural Psychology books and open Michael Cole’s seminal 1996 publication “A Once and Future Discipline” (Belknap Press of Harvard Uni Press).

10.20 get mildly diverted by FB and email and just have to respond to a request for singing lessons.

10.40 play with the dog and decide to make a proper cooked breakfast. Shower and get dressed. Stack and turn on the dishwasher.

11.00 wash up remaining dishes and put on a load of washing.

11.30 get started on PhD after closing my internet browser. Look at a book on completing one’s PhD. Read the notes from last meeting about the literature review shape. Print out the current PhD literature review. Look up FB and email again. It’s a tic I can’t stop. Clearly I’m addicted.

12.30pm start to create the scroll of literature review – designed to hang on the wall and shame me into doing it. Write a few points down about how to shape the review, from a very good 2012 book called “Completing your qualitative dissertation” by Volpe and Bloomberg, Sage Publications. Get confused. Stop.

1.00pm hang clothes on the line. Remove dry clothes from line and fold. Clean house a bit. Read another bit of literature. Write several unsatisfactory lines about the history of Cultural Psychology and realise I don’t actually have to do that because it’s somewhat superfluous in an 80,000 word thesis, and besides, Cole has already done that for me.

2.00pm all over red rover – I have to teach.

Friday was a little better. While thinking and constructing ideas I often wander about the house cleaning and this is what I did, showering, dressing and eating before 8.30am and managing to start work by 9.00am. Nevertheless, I was coaxed into going shopping by my good friend and very bad influence Sharon from 1.00pm. Which is what I did – any excuse not to work is a good one, in my opinion.

So, I think for punishment and perhaps absolution (one can never really escape one’s Presbyterian past – guilt, flagellation and martyrdom run hand in hand) I will do some work this afternoon before taking the dog for a walk. And maybe on Sunday I’ll do the same.

I am SOOO funny. Ha ha bloody har.


Another book, another comment

Ok, so now I’m reading Michael Cole’s 1996 publication “Cultural Psychology” (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press; Cambridge, Mass), which seems to me an eminently sensible articulation of the main themes and premises of Cultural Psychology. I’ve spent much of yesterday and today underlining and sticky noting its pages. He refers, amongst others, to Bruner, Rogoff, Shweder, Bronfenbrenner, Lave and Wenger, and Engestrom’s Activity Theory. I don’t like the diagram used by Engestrom – somehow it seems too bounded, but I am starting to see where it might be useful, as it refers to artifacts, scripts and schemas, and all of a sudden some obscure terms are becoming more clear to me now. It is beautifully, neatly written.

I’ve been also reading some Carl Ratner, whose book “Cultural Psychology”¬† (2006, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; London) is misnamed. He is actually positing a theory called Macro Cultural Psychology. And he is fervently “critically realist” in his epistemological position, which is different to social constructivism. He is clearly opposed to social constructivism, which he claims does not allow for hegemonic primacy and discussions thereof. He claims that social constructivism “precludes criticizing any paradigm because it rejects any objective world or standard beyond the paradigm itself that could be used to assess it” (p. 227). He claims too, that social constructivism is “a kind of cultism” (p. 226). I think he misses the point somewhat, but then, he has taken a critical realist perspective, which he has underpinned with a political and reform agenda. So, I now understand why Rogoff, Bruner and others do not refer to his writings at all – they are diametrically opposed, despite using the same term.

This is a bit of a revelation.