It has been interesting over the past couple of weeks for me to see, on this university wide course, how different people from different backgrounds of study choose to research and think about different areas. There were many differences of opinion on the concept as well, which was equally interesting as some of us chose to question the point and usefulness of it, while others took it as a positive that it left room for interpretation.
Calum’s (fair) point on my blog that I was getting too bogged down in specifics of why White should back some of his claims up with numbers was one of those things that made me think – Did I think empiricism was really needed in such a matter, or was it pointless? – My thoughts are currently that it is always important. There are no real numbers to show that we aren’t all vaguely similar in terms of how often we’re a visitor or a resident, and unless we’re sure there’s a distinction to be made, how do we know whether to make it?
Freya’s blog was nicely balanced between the two viewpoints, which is why I found it interesting to read. By self-identifying as a resident, she added a more personal perspective to things, which helped the tone of the post, making it a good balance between the personal and the formal.
The other blog I chose to comment on was Charlie’s. He mentioned another weakness of the continuum that I hadn’t mentioned in great detail, simply that it can be impossible to pinpoint oneself on the spectrum, and even if you can, people near you do not have to be doing anything vaguely similar to you with the internet.
In retrospect, one of the things I noted first about the topic seems to be key – the lack of research. Only one researcher has really done much work on this, and that does seem to be reflected in the fact that there was a very low amount of variance between the reference list of all the blogs I looked at. It also shows that, the concept, while White’s baby, could well do with a bit of work from researchers at other institutions to see if they can show it has a use.