Category: "Academic life and family"


Wrapping it up, or new beginnings

I was reminded of my blog again recently when an editor from Popular Anthropology Magazine asked me to write a short article on my experience of blogging from fieldwork. Her questions made me miss the time I was blogging regularly:

For example, what are some of the challenges and rewards of blogging during fieldwork? Are there any special precautions you need to take in order to maintain the anonymity of research participants? Have any of your research participants read your blog? How does blogging impact the accessibility of anthropological research? What does blogging reveal about fieldwork that may become lost in other publications? How do you transition from blogging to writing up?

I’ll link to the article when it appears in the magazine in June. While writing the article, I became so inspired that I set up a new blog Cicilie’s city blog (Cicilies byblogg) where I consider blogging from my recent project. Now the only challenge is to find time… between feeding the 6 months old and playing with the 4 years old and all the rest.

Another thing that has happened in this project since the last time I updated this blog, is that the radio clip I wrote about previously was aired again. It lead to a request from a support group from people with psychological problems and another from a library to hold a speech. I’m working on the latter now and have titled the lecture Therapy and democracy at the bar: Slam poetry in Paris. It was fun to write in Norwegian about slam poetry again, and I’ll see if it’s possible to transform the lecture into an article of some kind. I desperately need to publish…

Apropos this desperate need: The first I got on with after the birth of my second son was an application for a postdoc. I thought my head was pretty fit for starting working again, particularly since I had so much time on my hands to just sit thinking about things for a long time (seeing Little Fatty Pear just get fatter and fatter). When I received the evaluation I realised that I must have been a bit out of my mind at the time, as I had proposed to write nine articles and two books during a two years long postdoc period. Now, I’ve sent a new application, for a 3 years long position this time, and with the aim to write only 4-5 articles and a book, all from the slam scene inspired by my other research: The stage is all the world, and the players are mere men and women: Parisian performance poetry and other stories from Relational Europe… We’ll see. In a few months time, it seems I’ll have not much more to do than to look after Little Fatty Pear and write.

But for the moment, it’s not Parisian slam poetry that counts, but suburban libraries and urban morphology, but that’s – hopefully – food for another blog coming up very soon.

Ops, there I almost forgot the nice little interview (in Norwegian) at Foreningen !Les ("Read"): In the field with poetry slam


10:28:25 pmCategories: Writing, Academic life and family

Manifesto for faster writing and shorter workdays

Belleville streetart
To my surprise I discovered that it was easy to change my way of writing and even my way of working more generally. The writing came easiest. When I wrote my master thesis, on very good days I could produce half a page. I could file and mould every sentence for hours, a technique I think contributed to the far too dense structure. Not only is the fluency easily lost, but I also started to find it a boring way to work.

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11:18:17 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Spaces, Academic life and family, Paris

The multilingual playground

(Early Sunday morning. Where are my playmates?)

It’s not the first time I write about how I enjoy hanging out in Parisian playgrounds (see posts from 2005 and 2007). They’re small to middle sized and every neighbourhood seem to have one. So, if you’re looking for a green and shady place to relax for a while and observe the local way of life, a playground can be recommended. Earlier, I haven’t paid much attention to the standard of the equipment, but this time I quickly noticed that all the parks in this part of the town have got new, exciting and very varied games for the different age sets. Perhaps this is part of an renovation of the public spaces in the Northeastern and poorer districts of Paris?

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09:10:31 pmCategories: Academic life and family

Can a conference be a family occasion?

Early morning, Maynooth Campus

Taking one’s family along to a conference is obviously not that uncommon. “Where can I sign up for that anthropologists’ wife association?” my partner wondered, as he saw yet another man pushing a stroller along on the campus here in Maynooth. This month I’ve tried both, conference – or festival, as I often missay it – with and conference without husband and child. With is definitely not much of a festival, but it’s got other charms.

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A little red robin just whistled outside the bedroom window. My son takes his midday nap in my lap this summer. For a long time now, he has let us know that midday laps are a waste of time, and the only way to get him to sleep is to make the environment as boring, but cosy as possible. I bunk up with a cup of tea and a novel or a pencil and paper, and for an hour or so I can slouch peacefully in the bedroom in the middle of the day.

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11:02:15 pmCategories: Writing, Academic life and family

Home office

Tomorrow is my first day in my “home office” (a Norwegicism for working from home). The little lion turns three months this week, and the progress he has made recently makes life with him far more joyous as well as a lot easier. His recent decision to refuse drinking from a bottle is on the other hand something we’ve not been too happy about as the day for sharing the parental leave has come closer. He’s a real slow-drinking glutton (who has grown 13 cm and 3 kilos in 11 weeks!), so how are we going to solve this? However, luckily, as part of the parental leave, I have the right to two hours of nursing time deducted from my 7 ½ hours working day, so I think we’ll work it through… And I’m so much looking forward to starting up again tomorrow!


Cities: It was twenty years ago. Part 2

The roar is not really loud, it’s rather tiny, but with a high pitch. He learns and develops new sounds at the moment, the books say and we’ve certainly noticed that. On the brighter side; he’s also learning to laugh. I find that wonderful and such a good symbol of the human condition (as a product both of nature and society): the urge to laugh (and smile of course) is innate but babies has to learn to make the right sounds! So, now my son opens his mouth and tries to make the “h” sound…

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10:59:19 pmCategories: Academic life and family

…It was twenty years ago: Cities. Part 1

A friend who checks my blog on a regular basis and know me well in “real time” commented jokingly that “style, voice and perspective” wasn’t really what concerned me at the moment, so, where’s the update? Numerous updates spin around in my head daily when I, hours on end, feel like I do nothing, but, when I in fact do nothing less than providing the total nourishment for keeping another human being alive. I try to see it that way, that I actually do something very important with long lasting effects and which in the big scheme of things doesn’t take that much time… But it’s hard to change outlook entirely and over-night from one aloof and intellectual to one almost entirely concerned with biological and material necessities. Naïvely, before the little creature arrived, I imagined I would have at least a couple of hours a day for doing other things. But unfortunately we happened to call him Leo and indeed he eats like a lion. …well, duty calls with a loud roar. That’s it for today. I didn’t even get to the point of telling what happened twenty years ago and what that has to do with cities and why this is of concern for this blog.

I’m curious to see how many parts it will take me to get me to finish this post or even get to the point. Well, that’s life at the moment.