Bringing This To a Close….

This self-funded blog is set to renew at the end of May….and I’ve decided I’m not going to renew again this year–bringing this little blog “experiment” to a close!

When I started this out, many years ago, I hoped that keeping a blog alongside this project would motivate me to write little bits here and there, think out loud a bit and–maybe–even get some feedback. But, there was the classic chicken and egg problem right there: nobody reads a blog that isn’t updated, and, for me, writing on a blog that isn’t going to be read doesn’t provide much motivation!

In truth, the other problem was that I simply didn’t find ways to break off smaller chunks of writing/thinking that fit with the blog post format. I’d still like to get better at that, and I’m going to look at some other ways of doing so as I embark on the next project . My hunch is that this is easier if you can piggyback on existing venues and outlets, with already-established readerships and a need for content. Or maybe I should have started a substack newsletter?!…

For those seeing this, while it is still visible until the end of May, a few things to mention:

  • What’s up with the framebuilder project?
    • I’m truly done with data collection on this project, having completed ~ 60 long-form interviews over the years. The framebuilder survey and the pandemic combined to leave me in limbo a bit in 2020-2022, but I’ve had the survey report out and available for a year now and been getting back to writing papers since then. After those are out, I’ll have this wrapped up.
  • What about the survey report?
    • It’s still available (for free) here for now, but I’ll just move it over to my university-hosted bio page once this blog is shut down.
  • What are these papers I’m talking about?
    • I’ve alluded to some of these before, but here in the first half of 2022, things have come clearer to me–mainly by splitting some bigger arguments into smaller papers. These are:
      • Since February I’ve been drafting a paper on framebuilding as a field dominated by what a growing sociological literature would call “work passion”. That is, virtually all framebuilders view their work, and dedication to the trade, as reflecting their true passion in life and as an expression of their own self-realization. Turns out, this is a way of thinking and talking about work that prevails in a growing number of fields…and, many sociologists would argue, also can generate and reproduce many social inequalities through work as well. So, in this paper, I’ve been looking at “work passion” in the field of framebuilding and thinking about how a larger “field” dominated by passionate work can generate and reproduce material inequalities across those within the field.
      • The second paper I will get back to is one I’ve mentioned briefly here before, focusing on how framebuilders envision what it means to be a “professional” and how this has played out in efforts to organize the field through a few different organizations (what we could call efforts toward “professionalization”).
      • Finally, I want to write a paper on both the appeal, and the peril, of pursuing “scale” in the framebuilding field–looking at “scaling up” as a recurring dynamic in the field…albeit one that has rarely actually achieved the goals of financial stability that motivate such efforts! Here I’d also like to consider the kind of “new wave” of builders doing batch building and other strategies to manage the business side of things in a more sustainable fashion.
    • As I get these papers out, I will try to publicize them on the forums and maybe through some podcasts
  • What is next?
    • I’ve been so slow on this stuff that it feels funny to talk about “what’s next”…but I’ve actually, for some months now, been getting more intrigued by looking at changes in the culture of cycling and how they intersect with the rise of e-bikes. I’m thinking of this as “post-fitness” cycling and have (unsuccessfully) pitched an essay idea on this topic to a major outlet. I see it as a kind of “manifesto” of sorts, so maybe I’ll just start another blog on this and write it up! Actually, if I’m being smart, what I should do is pitch it to a place like the Radavist and get some folks to read it. So, post-fitness cycling…you heard it here first!

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