13 September 2009

Learning new patterns

I was talking about real-life journaling with my friend Anna last week while she was visiting my hometown. One of the things that I find most challenging is figuring out who this public personae IS. I think that I started this journal for odd reasons - I wanted a place I could refer family to about the recovery process on my leg - which is healing fine, though the relearning how to walk part is painful AND boring - and then never really used it for that.

I guess I have to think about who I am in this public space, what it is that I want to say.

But Anna had an excellent set of suggestions, none of which are this post.

I'm awesome, I know.

I have been following a lot of stuff that makes a meeting point of my personal and professional lives (multiples of both, of course, because I am a model poststructured subject who knows that I have more than one professional life, more than one personal life, even if it's not all that HEALTHY). One of them was the entire clusterfuck that happened around two researchers who recently graduated from Boston University (who falsely represented themselves as still being associated with the university, which they are not) performing research with a fatally-flawed research tool and methodology on fannish communities that are, frankly, smarter than they are. You can review both a general summary of events and a summary/analysis by a non-fannish academic who plans on using this case as a part of zir Research Methods course.

Amazing. It seems like, more and more, social science and cognitive researchers are coming into communities that I have been connected to for years. Is this a good thing? Is it a sign of mainstreaming or a kind of creation of an intellectual zoo, a place to sit and stare and point at the weirdos in their cages?

Or is it something else?

I'm not sure. But I'm currently in the middle of starting some research on the semiotics work that has been done with groups who are "deviant" or "odd" or "fringe" groups to see if there's something in this. Because what I keep seeing is people not speaking the same language - sometimes unintentionally, but sometimes that lack of connection on language is very intentionally created, formed through a complex set of signs (much like a light flicking off and on in an underground queer bar pre-1969) that have meaning to those within the community but appear innocuous or meaningless to those outside of it.

I start another master's program in the fall. I think there's something here, something about creation of internal languages and sets of signs that give us meaning within a community but cloak our communities from others.

It's going to be something. It's something new for me, something that shoots far enough off of my previous research to be something different.

We'll see where it goes.

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