Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences
Modern academia is increasingly competitive yet the writing style of social scientists is routinely poor and continues to deteriorate. Are social science postgraduates being taught to write poorly? What conditions adversely affect the way they write? And which linguistic features contribute towards this bad writing? Michael Billig's witty and entertaining book analyses these questions in a quest to pinpoint exactly what is going wrong with the way social scientists write. Using examples from diverse fields such as linguistics, sociology and experimental social psychology, Billig shows how technical terminology is regularly less precise than simpler language. He demonstrates that there are linguistic problems with the noun-based terminology that social scientists habitually use - 'reification' or 'nominalization' rather than the corresponding verbs 'reify' or 'nominalize'. According to Billig, social scientists not only use their terminology to exaggerate and to conceal, but also to promote themselves and their work.
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abstract academic language academic social scientists academic world academic writing acronyms actions active approach arguing authors Bargh become beneﬁts Biber big nouns big words Bourdieu chapter claim conversation analysts count noun Critical Discourse Analysis deﬁne deﬁnitions describe difﬁcult discipline discussing editors entities essays example experimental social psychologists experiments ﬁctional ﬁgures ﬁnd ﬁndings ﬁrst ﬁt Foucault Freud governmentality grammatical Halliday human ideational metafunction identiﬁed iﬁcations inﬂuenced izations jargon journals linguistic massiﬁcation means mediatization Michael Halliday natural scientists nominalization noun phrases ofﬁcial ordinary language orientate participants particular passive voice phenomenography postgraduates problem processes produce promote publishing readers reiﬁcation reifying repression rhetorical Rose and Miller scientiﬁc scientiﬁc writing scores semantic ﬁelds sentence signiﬁcant social categorization social psychologists social sciences social scientists sociologists sociology sort specialist speciﬁc style talk technical concepts technical terminology technical terms theoretical things theory tion universities Urry variables verbs Wundt