Research study: conventions

In this study I employ the following conventions:

  • I refer to this PhD text as a study.
  • I capitalise the ‘C’ and employ a numerical digit when referring to the names of chapters, i.e. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and so on.
  • I capitalise the first letter of certain words denoting what I consider to be ‘institutions’ with specific traceable histories. I do this in light of the attention Speth (2008:31) draws to the difference between idealised models versus what actually is the case in reality. Speth draws this distinction (though he does not capitalise the word like I do) in the case of Capitalism: “I use ‘modern capitalism’ here in a broad sense as an actual, existing system of political economy, not as an idealized model”. Capitalism is one case in point; for the same reason as the one I have just highlighted, I also capitalise the words Christianity, Science, Technology, and Democracy throughout the study when I refer to them as actual, existing systems (as per Speth’s distinction)[1]; my reasons for viewing these as institutions will become clear as the study progresses. When a quotation is used, I stick to the original case (usually lower-case) used within the quotation itself, but revert back to the upper-case when ‘outside’ of the quotation. I must add that, in practice, this method of distinguishing between the two (i.e. actual existing systems versus idealised models) is not always a straightforward matter, and I request that ‘grey areas’ are tolerated regarding the use of uppercase and lowercase first letters for the use of the relevant words.
  • I adhere to the South African English standard of using the letter “s” in words such as “idealised” instead of the American English standard where a “z” is used. When a quotation is used, I adhere to the original spelling used within the quotation itself, but revert back to the South African English standard when ‘outside’ of the quotation. This is demonstrated in the previous point of this section, where I first used “idealised”, but then quoted Speth, who used “idealized”.
  • When I have used a quotation in which a term or phrase is used, and then wish to use the term shortly after the appearance of the quotation in a manner where I allude to the phrase or term as it appeared in the quote, I use either single inverted commas (‘’) or double inverted commas (“”) to draw attention to the fact that the phrase or term came from the relevant quotation. Sometimes I drop this convention when a phrase or term is used several times after it has appeared in quotation format. I occasionally italicise a phrase or term to highlight it as one that has already been encountered.
  • In this study I avoid the use of writing conventions that seem to me too formalised, to the point of obscuring the fact that, in the final analysis, statements made by authors represent their own, singular perspectives. Here it is no different: the analyses or interpretations offered regarding the many conceptual issues to be presented and clarified, as well as the overall argumentative progression of the study, is a particular, singular individual’s work, albeit through the medium of language. Language is, after all, not any individual subject’s exclusive domain, but something that pre-exists individuals and in which all share, in accordance with Wittgenstein’s famous remark, that there is no such thing as a ‘private language’ (Wittgenstein 1967). My use of the first person singular (‘I’) should therefore be seen as signifying a singular perspective on a conceptually or linguistically constituted ‘world’ that is variously accessible from the perspectives of different subjects.

[1] I often capitalise the word ‘Business’ to denote something coterminous with ‘Capitalism’.