On Beginning a Dissertation

So, yesterday, I actually began work, in earnest, on my dissertation.  I really haven’t touched it, and haven’t even thought about it much, since my proposal was approved and I passed my comps a couple years ago.  Well, actually, I’ve thought about it pretty much every day since about that often I hear, “So, how’s the dissertation coming?”

I’ve finished all of my research, although I’m going to have to do a bunch of reading to remind myself of everything I learned while at PTS.  I’m using Scrivener — at least for the 30-day trial — and so far I really like it.  I tend to think about writing in a fairly linear fashion, but Scriverner will help a lot as I find stuff that applies to different parts of the diss.

I dug out the brief notes I took on a phone call with my advisor, Kenda Dean, about a year ago.  So this is what I’ve got to go on:

1. Problem (and solution)
Lit review
Define terms (social movement)

2. Method
detailed descriptions of movement and specific churches

3. What did I find out?
Explicate data
Core practices

4. Moltmann – trinitarian relational ecclesiology

5. pragmatic responses

Since a literature review seems profoundly boring to work on, I’ve jumped right to the social movement work.  I’m familiarizing myself with theory on New Social Movements, since several sociologists with whom I’ve spoken have said that the emerging church movement is clearly an NSM.  The first book to tackle is Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, plus a journal article criticizing NSM theory, in which I read this:

“The ideological hegemony of the state requires counter-hegemonic actions by social movements to dismantle the dominant social views that reinforce the legitimacy of the capitalist system.”

Gotta love it!  It sounds like a quote from David Fitch’s blog! :-)


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