Yes, Paris for the summer. Everyone said it would be wonderful, and it is. But not exactly in the way I expected. I am working on a research contract for the summer at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Telecom where I work with some economists who are trying to convince me that the new left uses statistics. I run into culture shocks everywhere, but especially intellectually. In France, serious thematics of race and gender in the social sciences are viewed with confusion. After all, the Republic is based on equality, so why look at difference?
Like working as a qualitative researcher in a quantiative department, and as a “sociologist” (closest approximation of my work) among economists, this disjuncture between my surroundings and my own practice is very productive. It makes me rethink where I am coming from, what the implications are of my politics and my practice.
Oh, and I am working on a historically-informed study of telecommunications as public and private — looking at the telephone, the radio, and WiFi. How do people negotiate public and private practices? What is the role of policy making? Of local culture? Of regulation? I have a little side project about ad-hoc WiFi devices, too. Fun stuff — and probably the last time I get to work on side projects before writing my thesis.