Thursday, February 23, 2012
Through the methodology assignments, I have realized that really, there is no reason I cannot begin my project now, sort of. I am not exactly sure if there are rules to this, but I am going for it. I am developing some light, easy-going interviews/surveys for a few people I know to sort of get my bearing on reading in India. I know a few Indians here, hopefully they can point me to a few more, and I have randomly run into a few people online that I know from India whom I hope to e-mail or chat with online to get a generally idea for the feel of this area.
Any information I got from this would of course be colored by the fact that most people I know are very well educated, in America, or going to be in America in the near future. Thus I am not quite sure how much their reading experience differs from the general Indian reading experience.
Thinking about this, as I work on finalizing my project into a proposal, I am probably going to limit it in some way to something like just North India, or people who's first language is Hindi or English, as will be the case in Delhi. Granted, there are a lot of different states represented in Delhi since it is the capital I am just not confident that I will be able to get a representative sample large enough to confidently label it as reading in India rather than just a subset. India shares a lot of culture, but there is also a lot of difference between each of the states.
I dislike how scientific that sounds. I really am not happy with how scientific this sounds sometimes. It isn't that I do not want to be scientific, because that kind of is the way to conclude things, I suppose. I guess the bigger issue is that I do not believe that I know enough or that I can know enough about the people I am working with enough to even label them as something. I also know that I am not going to be able to interview or survey or interact with enough people in time to really get "scientific" data. Plus that just sounds so mercenary to me. My goal this summer is not to draw broad conclusions. I don't expect that I will be able to declare with confidence the state of reading in India. What I am going for is more like context, experiences, ideas, guidance. I wonder sometimes if that perspective will end up cutting me short in the end.
I think what it comes down to is part of the reason I ultimately chose to pursue English. I am more interested in the inquiry. I am much more comfortable with observing things and then making observations, trying to see how things ultimately connect.
I think it will probably just end up being a scientific ethnography, or at least the attempt at it, but I like to think how I think about it makes a difference. Maybe I just need to come to terms with the post modern and identify the role it will play in my project.