the presence/absence of "I" in academic texts (response to

Kathryn Church (
Wed, 3 Jul 1996 10:11:43 -0400

On Tue, 2 Jul 1996 15:24:14 -0400 elmer s. miller wrote:

> A colleague passed along Thomas Headland's comments about my book
> Doubt," which has stimulated this response to him and to any interested reader.
> (snip)
> nowhere do I question the "accuracy" of standard ethnographic writing,
> but rather point out that the absence of the "I" in such texts does not make
> them more objective; on the contrary, it restricts the capacity of the reader
> to interpret the work by withholding information that would contribute to a
> greater understanding of why certain choices were made in the writing process.
>Greetings to you and to the list. This is my first posting. I found your exchange
with Headland very interesting from several points of view. Very glad for your
clarifications. I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist home in a small town in central
Alberta (complete with missionary cousins). Attending a lay Bible training college
after high school gave me my first exposure to city life and to people who helped
me get into university and from there..... the world beyond. Your comments made
me reflect back on this experience in light of my current life. In my current
incarnation, I am a feminist sociologist doing post-doctoral work at the University of
Toronto. (Perhaps not) Oddly enough, writing myself into my academic work has
been very important. Parts of my doctoral dissertation were released in January
as a book entitled "Forbidden Narratives: Critical Autobiography as Social Science"
(Gordon and Breach). Your book sounds like one I should read. As well, I would
be very interested in more discussion about this particular aspect of the writing of
social science.


Kathryn Church