For decades the governing cry of our cities has been 'Never speak to strangers.' I propose that in a democratic city it is imperative that we speak to strangers, live next to them, and learn how to relate to them on many levels, from to the political to the sexual. City venues must be designed to allow these multiple interactions to occur easily, with a minimum of danger, comfortably, and conveniently. This is what politics - the way of living in the polis, in the city - is about.
Samuel Delany,Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
Most of us enter the scholarly world because we think we can do something important in the world. We are motivated to want to change things for the better. We want to be inspiring teachers and writers. And we want our work to have impact beyond the academy among persons who may find in what we have to say the same life-changing moment that we had reading that story so many years ago. Unfortunately, most forms of academic writing fail to accomplish those goals. Think about it. When was the last time you read a study that truly moved you? This is not to say that traditional academic studies are worthless; it is to say that they seldom satisfy our needs as readers beyond providing useful information that we can draw on for our own work. That is no small thing, but neither should it become the only thing valued about academic prose. We can choose to live larger than that. We can find new ways to use our research to reach a wider public audience and to have real impact in the world. And that choice has everything to do with the way we choose to write.
H.L. Goodall, Qualitative Writing Inquiry
It is hardly surprising, then, that most Americans have little idea of what it can mean to live in [the city]. They are clear enough about the ugliness of the world they live in, and they are quite vocal about the dirt, the smoke, the heat, and the congestion, the chaos and yet the monotony of it. But they are hardly aware of the potential value of harmonious surroundings, a world which they may have briefly glimpsed only as tourists or as escaped vacationers. They can have little sense of what a setting can mean in terms of daily delight, or as a continuous anchor for their lives, or as an extension of the meaningfulness and richness of the world.
Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City
[Y]ou are being badly trained! Not teaching social science doctoral students to write their PhDs is like not teaching chemists to do laboratory experiments. That's why I am teaching nothing but writing nowadays. I keep repeating the same mantra: 'describe, write, describe, write.'
Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social, 149.