Ethknoworks LLC

Michael Agar @alcaldemike


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Mayday update

I know I promised to turn the book writing into a lesson for the newcomer in how to housebreak your manuscript. The book in question is "Culture: How to Make It Work in a World of Hybrids," following the "how to" format so admired in the US market. The latest draft is available in the column to your left. It's close enough to done that I'm now sending queries around.
The problem is, I don't want to give any general advice based on writing this book. The last line of the mss is about how I think I finally learned to write a transdisciplinary book. The next problem is, it's a weird mix of ancient refs and news clippings that appeared as I was writing. The third thing is, I knew how to write the beginning but had no idea where I'd end up. My "best sellers"--Professional Stranger and Language Shock--came from courses that I'd taught for awhile so a big picture guided the writing--though the courses didn't start out that way. That plus other things like health issues made this book an experience that I wouldn't wish on anybody as a general model, though I did enjoy the run me own self. I write to learn and learn I did. I believe there's a couple of interesting ideas in there.
So that's it for Mayday. Writers of the world unite: you have nothing to lose but your cash flow.
At the top of the column on the left is a new drugs policy rant published in my local paper. You can take the boy out of the drugs but you can't take the drugs out of the boy.
Life is interesting.

Selected Works

Nonfiction
Wonder why studies you read about your world usually don’t get who you are and how you really live? Frustrated that “the numbers” don’t solve the problem? Does it bother you that policies and programs, more often than not, don’t work like they’re supposed to? People, organizations, countries–they rely on information about real human social lives. Usually they don’t have it because they only test what they think they already know in narrow situations of their own design. The results have value, some of the time, but it’s not nearly enough. We need a human social science that begins and ends in the real worlds of the humans that it claims to be about. One has been around for a couple of hundred years. The Lively Science tells the story of its historical roots and the reasons for its neglect, blends in new intellectual tools, and argues that it’s time to get on with a science that changes research objects into human subjects and learns who they are and what they’re trying to do before conclusions are drawn.
Living in a world of linguistic and cultural differences
A personal story of decades of work in the substance abuse field, a story of how our ineffective drug policy came to be and stayed in place. Now available as an e-book at iBook on iTunes and on Barnes and Noble.
The story of the working world of independent truckers in a time of deregulation
Nonfiction, Introductory Text
An introduction to ethnography