Jonathan Wald Annotations

Habits, Neuroses, Talents (

Sunday, August 9, 2020 - 4:19pm
  1. Do you have more trouble articulating your frame (social theoretical questions) or object?


  1. Do you tend to project-hop or to stick to a project, and what explains this?

Mostly stick to a project. I can find it hard to multi-task, but this can also mean that if a project is derailed it can be difficult to mentally return to it.

  1. Do you tend to be more interested in internal dynamics, or external determinations? In the terms laid out by Keller, do you tend to focus so intently on the object of your concern that context falls away (i.e. are you obsessive compulsive, rather than paranoid)? Is your desire to name, specify and control your object? Is your desire is for figure, its ground your annoyance? Or are you paranoid, context being your focus and obsession? All is signal. Only begrudgingly will you admit that something is noise, outside the scope of your project? Figure is hard to come by. Its ground has captured your attention.

On this binary, I would likely identify as more obsessive than paranoid, but I actually identified more with Keller’s description of sadistic research. I tend to focus on the “so what?” element of research with context or object becoming significant insofar as it supports ethical or political objectives.

  1. What do you do with unusual or counter examples? Are you drawn to “the deviant,” or rather repulsed by it?

This is where all of my attention focuses, perhaps to the point where I find it difficult to focus on the ordinary.

  1. Do you tend to over-impose logics on the world, or to resist the construction of coherent narratives?

I’m interested in patterns and how people react when they are broken. This can risk “over imposition,” but tracking this process in myself has been a central part of my education in anthropology.

  1. Do you tend to over-generalize, or to hold back from overarching argument?

I likely risk overgeneralization.

  1. Do you like to read interpretations different than your own, or do you tend to feel scooped or intimidated by them?

Honestly, I sometimes feel intimidated, less by the author of the interpretation than by the institutional forces which make it difficult to be the second (or later) person to arrive to a conversation.

  1. Do you tend to change an argument as you flesh it out, or do you tend to make the argument work, no matter what?

My arguments change a lot while writing.

  1. Do you tend to think in terms of “this is kind of like” (metaphorically)? Do you hold to examples that “say it all,” leveraging metonymic thinking?


  1. Do you like gaming understanding in this way? Does it frustrate you that your answers often don’t fit easily on either side of the binaries set up by the questions? (Jakobson suggests that over attachment to a simple binary scheme is a “continuity disorder.”)

While there are certainly terms I don’t agree with in some of these questions, I enjoy reflexive practices.

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