Sunday, 7 July 2013

Why this blog?


This blog is about the angst, anxiety, excitement, highs and lows of a PhD student.....and much more (hopefully)! Its also an attempt to share with others, especially fellow students, the process one goes through while doing field work.

So who am I? I am a PhD student studying labour geography from Dept of Geography, University of Durham, UK. Now if you don't know where Durham is, go look up the map of England. You will find a tiny dot in the northeastern part of the country. That's Durham!  But hang on, don't dismiss the place by its size. Durham County played an important role in England's industrial history. Remember that English proverb that as a child never made any sense to us in India 'bringing coal to Newcastle...'?? Yes? So this is the place from where most of the English coal came from....the mining county of England. Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the former PM who died in April this year,  is discredited for systematically decimating the mining economy and the livelihood of thousands of mining families in this northeastern county between late 1970s and 80s with her neo-liberal economic and anti labour policies. I was in Durham when Mrs Thacher died. I asked the porter of my college, a former mine worker from Easington, what his first reaction was when he heard of 'Maggie's death'.."oh the bad smell is gone...". But then was she just a 'bad smell' and is the 'bad smell' really gone? What about the bedroom taxes, austerity cuts, rolling back of NHS, closing down of public libraries that the Cameron government is steam rolling in? Thatcher is not dead, its really not about a person, but what the person symbolized and the legacy that is left behind. Thatcherism is a political and economic culture, a way of thinking and looking at the world, which has become part of the British polity.     

So the blog and what I intend to do with it. Well, I am starting out with an ambitious idea, but what will finally become of it, we will only have to wait and see. But listen, PhDs are an evolving process (and this blog is a 'process document' of sorts), so one can't predict anything, not even your try to enjoy while it all unfolds.

I am researching the world of work-life of factory workers and much of the blog's content will be devoted to that, and with it my 'labour' of doing the research!