This is a short follow-up to my post about bad academic writing. As a response to my post, Guru suggested that bad writing was also caused by academics mainly thinking of the editor of journals as their reader, and does just the minimal to get above these rather shoddy standards.

I think the element of writing for the editor is certainly important, but I don’t think it causes laziness. For me, writing for an editor is still «writing upwards» – trying to impress and show how scholarly I am. In other words, I write for status rather than explanation.

The other aspect I wanted to bring forward is a paradox brought forward by globalisation in universities. I held a presentation for my fellow PhD candidates, an international bunch. I tried to speak in what I thought was an accessible, everyday tone. However, the response from several of the non-native speakers was that this made it more difficult to follow – the jargon of sociology was much more familiar to overseas sociologists than my attempts at presenting in non-academic english. Not surprising when you think about it, but a bit of a Catch-22…