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Social science writing should not ape quantitative science in format, structure, or style. If we can’t explain ourselves to others in a style both illuminating and interesting, we won’t and don’t deserve to be taken seriously. Too many in the Ivory Tower cling to the belief that research and academic writing must conform to a “scientific” format. Quality writing is more art than science. To be relevant, writing need not be – indeed should not be – rooted in a limited model of “hypothesis, replicable experiment, findings, discussion.” The more jargon and sociobabble we anthropologists, sociologists, and ethnographers spew out, the more we strive to define ourselves as literate scribes in an academic temple, the more irrelevant we become.


This work was originally published in PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review



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