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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More "Signposting Without Signposting"

I reviewed an article last year in which the author (identity unknown to me) couldn't stop using "As I will contend..." "I will argue that..." The curious thing was that this kind of language did not really orient the reader through the stages of the argument: it was used at seemingly random moments merely to signal particular assertions. So to be effective, signposting must actually serve that orienting function. Otherwise it is like finding a sign on the trail that says "you are somewhere on the trail."

My idea is that you can mark the stages of the trail without too many metadiscursive markers in the first place.

1 comment:

Andrew Shields said...

Good point: too many people just drop in the formulas at apparently random places, rather than using them carefully (as Thomas B would have writers do, with his specific paragraph that includes the thesis framed with "this paper argues that ...").

I love that "you are somewhere on the trail," by the way!