Friday, 14 November 2008

How (not) to reference

I am currently writing an article on postmodernism (Derrida, Lyotard, Kristeva et al)  and its influence on the intersubjective school of  psychotherapy (Schore, Stolorow, Hargaden and Sills et al).  

I am getting in a bit of a pickle (Crosse and Blackwell 1922). 

Not necessarily because I worry that I don't know what I'm talking about (although that doesn't mean that I do.) The beauty of using postmodern theory is that you can fully admit to simply making up stories about the world because, ultimately, all we do make up stories about the world (Grimm and Grimm 1812)

My jam (Weller/Buckler/Foxton 1977) is with academic referencing.

Were I writing an article using specific theories or techniques such as the Drama Triangle (Thespis 534 BC, Euclid 300 BC) or the Script Matrix (Wachowski and Wachowski 1999) it would be straightforward enough. But when you are writing about the pervasive philosophical movements of modernity, the ownership of  knowledge becomes significantly less clear.

At what point does something become part of the canon of received wisdom, I wonder? (Del Shannon 1961). Writers frequently refer to 'paradigm shifts' without referencing Thomas Kuhn's seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). Is Kuhn twitching in his grave at not getting a mention? 

Do I really need to reference 25 impenetrable French philosophers if I use the term postmodern?

(As a mildly amusing aside, Derrida once confirmed that a quarter of his work was impenetrable. "I am a French philosopher", he declared. "If 25% of my work was not impenetrable, nobody would take me seriously." At least I think it was Derrida, but frankly I just can't be arsed to look it up.)

I have no wish to be accused of plagiarism (Harrison 1971) so I shall err, naturally, on the side of caution and reference everything - including the kitchen sink (Osborne 1956). 

There is a devil in me, though, that would love (Lennon/McCartney 1967) to just write 'Wikipedia' under the heading references


Ken said...

HUH? lol

B said...

Crosse and Blackwell? And Wachowski and Wachowski? You are funny :)

I'd love you to just put 'Wikipedia' under references. Would be hilarious!

(I put a belated comment on the last post as I can't work out how to order the DVD and can't find email for Stray as her profile link seems broken. Please can you point her to it? Thanks!)

Random Reflections said...

I think perhaps you need to get out into the fresh air a bit more!

I am reading a book at the moment that could do with a few references like yours - the guy needs to take himself a bit less seriously...

Misssy M said...

Aaargh those first three names strike fear into my heart. I had this dreadfully earnest radical feminist lecturer at Uni who made us read all that stuff in order to be able to talk about film theory. Talk about ruining somethng you love for you.

Loved this post!

McBöbø said...

It's worse than that, ... you may want to add: he's dead Jim (Star Trek).

Is it really "postmodern" or "post-modern" you are talking about? Google Fight gives 5 million references to postmodern but 7 million to post-modern.

My Fontana Post-Modernism Reader (with the hypen) includes the excellent essay, "How to Speak and Write Postmodern", by Stephen Katz. Here's an Online copy that might help you!

Good luck.

If you need proofing reading help, etc…

Glory von Hathor said...

I'm much more a Duotard than Lyotard fan...

Funny, cause I'm sure Maturana ain't French but he sure as hell is impenetrable.

DOT said...

Ah you bring back such fond memories - I did my MA on Modern French Thought and Derrida loomed large throughout. He claimed after submitting his DPhil in 1956 (I think) he never wrote another new idea, which is no surprise if you initially claim that all text subverts itself.

Be a bit difficult to write later, 'Hang on, I got that wrong. I do believe Asterix the Gaul reveals fundamental truths in an unequivocal manner.'

trousers said...

Well I can empathise with misssy m, I also recall deconstructions of film critique and theory as flitered through radical feminism....or was it post-feminist deconstruction? I can't remember, I used to take a lot of Kalms tablets - or beer - before those particular lectures.

I empathise with you too ms m, since I always used to get into a pickle with my references (Branston for me though), and wish you good luck with negotiating this particular minefield!

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi Ken, huh? indeed.

Hey there b, message is duly passed on, and I promise the day I reference Wiki I will blog it!

Hi again rr, having just read your blog, I can see precisely what you mean. Try Derrida - he takes himself far less seriously.

Hey misssy, I must admit to having a certain soft spot for French feminism. Whilst British and American feminists were writing earnest tracts on housework, Cixous was busy wondering about the 'happy union of the nipple and penis' in her Lacanian reading of feminist film making. Still makes me laugh. (French men still have no fucking clue how to use the hoover though, do they?)

Hi Mr McBobs, I was just getting excited there about the difference between post-modern and postmodern - and why I prefer the latter - when I got to the part about you proof reading and realised that you were just taking the piss (Mr Dyslexia).....might pass the article by you for your thoughts, though x

Lovely Ms hathor, firstly, thank you so much for introducing me to Duotard. I had to google them, and only wish I had thought of it first.

I also confess to having to google Maturana, who apparently claims to be Chilean. There is clearly some mistake. Garcia Marquez insists that all South Americans are either poets or revolutionaries - he never mentioned neurobiologists, let alone constructivist epistomologists. Maturana is obviously French. So, not only an impenetrable snob but a fraud to boot. I would boycott all of his works until he fesses up.

Hi there dot, I never realised that Derrida was so goddamn funny. I might have to go back and read it all again......although on second thoughts, I also have a carpet I need to sew myself to. I love the Asterix analysis, by the way. I do believe you could get that published.

Hi lovely trousers, I refer you to my previous response.....French feminists have always done it for me, and it's not just their hairy armpits :)