April 11, 2007

re-assessing the big picture

I feel as though I have been on the road constantly for the last four weeks, and naturally, with traveling and preparing for interviews, output for my dissertation has suffered.

It's not all a loss, though: constantly refining my research talk (I'm doing it again for a conference in San Francisco next week) has really helped me to step back and think about the big picture issues I'm working on, and has helped me to see where the gaps are. (Just in time for my research trip in two weeks.)

1. A very penetrating (ie skeptical) question about the economic value of communist heritage tourism really pushed me to think about the other benefits of this brand of tourism, including the cultural colonization that I suspect is happening as Nowa Huta is re-evaluated as to place value. (That perennial question: "co warto zwiedzic" - what is worth visiting?) But can I show the causality? Discourse is more the answer than tourism, probably.

2. A question on Monday about the faddism of such tourism made me realize that I have to be always aware of the passage of time. What is true today may not be true tomorrow; communist heritage tourism is dynamic and changing, especially as the world "speeds up."

3. I feel I've made some strides connecting my method to humanistic geography. After years of bumbling around with linguistics, this feels really solid.

4. I am beginning to develop a better picture of the situation with the redevelopment of the steelworks and redevelopment in Krakow more generally, as I understand who the players are and what their relationships are.

Posted by otto0114 at April 11, 2007 1:58 PM