Dense, wordy, wooden, Foucault-flaunting prose? There is another way, scholar tells Matthew Reisz
If you have ever needlessly added the term “Foucauldian” to a journal article or bludgeoned readers by starting an epic sentence with reference to the “post-Mendel application of Lamarck’s apparently superseded scientific theory by non-empirical social scientists”, then you have followed the trend for “wordy, wooden, weak-verbed” writing that dominates academic prose.
Those are two of the examples picked out by Helen Sword, associate professor in the Centre for Academic Development, University of Auckland, who hopes to bridge the “massive gap between what most people consider good writing and what academics typically produce and publish” in her book Stylish Academic Writing, published on 26 April.
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Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.