Excelentes los últimos posts de mi amigo Silvio en su blog grancomboclub, que pueden leerse, de una manera o de otra, como consejos a estudiantes de economía. El blog de Silvio es:
Muy bueno el post:
Este post está en el contexto de otros, muy buenos también:
Me parecieron muy buenos los consejos, también en el blog de Silvio, que hace Gregogy Mankiw, profesor de macroeconomía en Harvard:
Rule No. 1: Learn from the Right Mentors
Rule No. 2: Work With Good Co-Workers
Rule No.3: Have Broad Interests
Rule No. 4: Allocate Time and Crew
Rule No.5: Write Well
Rule No.6: Have Fun
Son consejos aparentemente muy simples, pero en realidad muy perspicaces y útiles. Y me parece que la mayoría de estudiantes no es conciente de su importancia.
Me pregunto qué podríamos decir de la enseñanza de sociología o de ciencia política, si es que se aplican o no las ideas debatidas por Silvio. Y ya que estamos en esto, me pregunto también qué consejos podría dar a estudiantes de ciencias sociales en general, y de ciencia política en particular. Para esto comparto con ustedes los consejos que dan Richard Snyder y Gerardo Munck, en su libro Passion, Craft and Method in Comparative Politcs, que está por salir en Johns Hopkins University Press. Los autores entrevistaron a las "vacas sagradas" de la disciplina (Gabriel A. Almond, Barrington Moore, Jr., Robert A. Dahl, Juan J. Linz, Samuel P. Huntington, Arend Lijphart, Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, James C. Scott, Alfred Stepan, Adam Przeworski, Robert H. Bates, David Collier, David D. Laitin y Theda Skocpol), y llegaron a algunas conclusiones que explican cómo y por qué estos autores se convirtireron en "clásicos" del análisis político comparado.
Focusing on the human dimension sheds light on key aspects of comparative research. It reveals that the best researchers have rich life experiences, are passionate about scholarship, and take risks. It offers fresh insight about how to generate new ideas. Finally, it illuminates major challenges facing comparative politics. Because the quality of comparative research depends in good part on the quality of the life experiences of the people who do it, the experiential deficit observed by leading scholars among students today raises concerns about the future vitality of the field. Steps should be taken to ensure that students and professors, too, find ways to enrich their lives by regularly stepping outside the academic framework. Passion about research is in jeopardy because of the widespread tendency for professors and students alike to regard scholarship as just a 9-to-5 job. To avoid this iron cage of professionalism, enthusiasm for research as a “calling” should be cultivated and rewarded, which requires acknowledging that emotional engagement and normative commitments are compatible with, and even necessary for, excellence in scientific research. Professionalism threatens to squelch risk taking and creativity. Incentives for innovation should thus be strengthened to prevent the hegemony of a herd mentality. Finally, professional amnesia is depriving us of powerful models of intellectual excellence and weakening our self-confidence about the achievements of the field. We need to improve professional memory by knowing, teaching, and drawing inspiration from the history of our field.
To conclude, the following recommendations for aspiring scholars can be drawn from the examples offered by the fifteen leading comparativists interviewed in this book:
1) Get off the academic track and gain real-world experience by working or traveling before you go to graduate school. This will make you a better social scientist by helping infuse your research with meaning and purpose. It will also provide a stronger foundation of knowledge about the range of human behavior, which can serve both as a source of fresh ideas and as a basis for testing generalizations.
2) If circumstances do not permit you to take time off before graduate school, then doing a fieldwork-based dissertation is probably the next best way to gain experience. Consider extending the amount of time you spend in the field. Fieldwork provides an indispensable empirical grounding for comparative research, helps hone skills of observation, and should be seen as a life-long investment that will inform your research over the course of your career, even if you never do fieldwork again.
3) Study with faculty who are enthusiastic and excited about their research and do not see scholarship as just a 9-to-5 career. Have fun doing your research, because the more enjoyment and pleasure you get from it, the better it will probably be.
4) Build strong interactive communities with other students and with your professors that get beyond the confines of the classroom and formal training. Interaction outside the classroom in study groups, workshops, and even social gatherings can help strengthen your enthusiasm for research.
5) Do not be afraid to let normative commitments shape your selection of research problems or to explore the normative implications of your work. This will nurture your passion for research. But do not let normative commitments blind you to “inconvient facts” that do not support your position.
6) Take measured risks. Enroll in courses that excite you, even if they are offered by professors in other sub-fields and departments. Know and master mainstream research, yet try to stand with one foot outside the mainstream. Do not apprentice yourself to a single professor, but gain exposure to a variety of faculty with different perspectives. As you advance and get tenure, you can afford to take greater risks.
7) Look beyond professional fashions and fads by paying attention to classic and older works and also to the wisdom of senior scholars. See yourself as part of a field with a distinguished lineage reaching back to Antiquity.
Combined with recent important advances in the methodological training of students, a stronger focus on experience, passion, risk, and professional memory holds the promise of new generations of comparativists whose achievements match, and even surpass, those of their most illustrious predecessors.
Me permito añadir por lo menos algo más, por si no es evidente a estas alturas: aprender idiomas extranjeros. Manejar bien el inglés es absolutamente imprescindible, y es necesario algún otro más.
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