How (not) to write a paper: part II

[Continued from here ]

LIGHTBULB MOMENT! I wrote a formal paper for the Paris conference – surely I could lift quite a lot of material from that? Check back over old paper: most of this is irrelevant now. My topic has changed too much. Plus I spliced half of the lit review into that paper I had to stop in order to write this one. Damn.

But I can use some of the work on autonomy, and bits of the empirical sections. Good, good.

Still not sure what my conceptual ‘hook’ is. Autonomy is a bit over-done and I think it needs nuancing. Maybe this is my contribution? I bet no-one has applied autonomy to mobility, certainly not in a geography of tourism context. Better check to be sure…

Search Google Scholar, Web of Science et al.

Autonomy geography mobility

“autonomous geographies” mobility

“autonomous geographies” tourism travel

Geography “autonomous travel”

“Autonomous space” mobility travel tourism


OK, nothing. Looks promising, but “autonomous travel”, really? What does that even contribute to the world? Isn’t it just co-opting the concepts and theory of autonomy for some managerial tourism type to rip off and make mega-bucks? I need to be careful to protect the paper from this.

But either way, I still need empirical material to back it up. Grounded theory and all that. OK, check over my coding: “geopolitics”, “mobility”, “globalisation”, “state”. Damn it, I’ve only compiled “state”.

**Musical interlude while I spend an entire day compiling, cross-checking, thinking about the empirical material**

Geopolitics looks meaty – lots to do with travel routes and modes (e.g. cycling, couchsurfing, hitching) blocked, shifting, changing qualitatively, speeding up and slowing down, fragmenting and converging according to visa and border regulations and inter-state conflicts. OK, I like where this is going; I think I can work with this. I’ll cross-reference with globalisation and mobility (and possibly economy) and there could be some good intersections of capital and state to eek out somehow and squeeze in an (indirect) critique of the complicit tourism industry on the side.

Still stuck on the literature and theory. Didn’t Lucy Finchett-Maddock write something about entropy? Check paper. Still none the wiser about what entropy actually is. Something to do with energy and complex systems theory. Good read nonetheless – if only I’d remembered this for the VR and Formas funding applications I put in last week. Never mind. I really should make contact with her – we have some good crossovers – but how to approach someone you’ve never met? I’m quite socially awkward at the best of times. Perhaps I could ask for a paper of hers, pretending I can’t get it at my library. Yes, that could be a good way of introducing myself and my research interests. But then again, does it sound too… DAMN IT STOP PROCRASTINATING.

The irony, of course, is that I check Facebook about ten times a day. Surely that kind of procrastination is even less productive. I kid myself that Facebook and Twitter are important networking tools but they’re not really. I just end up watching MMA videos or commenting on funny pictures of cats. Perhaps there is some value in it though, as the… GET ON WITH IT.

Back to the paper. Amend the bullet point skeleton and I can see it coming together. Some progress is being made. Now to quickly check my emails / Facebook / Twitter just one more time…

[To be continued]

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