Narrative Trust with Helen Sword

Definitely an article to take on board, as someone who is keen to write ‘clearly and engagingly whatever the audience’:

What theory can be advanced to explicate the propensity of a significant proportion of individuals engaged in the scholarly profession to manufacture writerly texts that exhibit a more substantial resemblance to the technicality-replete discursive formations of androidal entities than to the quotidian narrative artefacts of the non-academic populace?

Or to put it another way: Why do so many academics write like jargon-spouting robots rather than human beings with a story to tell?

As the author of a book optimistically titled Stylish Academic Writing, I frequently hear versions of the following lament from PhD students and early-career colleagues: “I can’t write more clearly, more engagingly, for a non-academic audience, in a personal voice because if I do I won’t get promoted, my colleagues won’t respect me, people won’t think I’m intelligent, peer reviewers would disapprove.”

Read full article.

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