Acknowledging Your Limitations

by Kieran Healy on October 29, 2004

While looking up something else, I came across one of the Top 10 Best Things in a Preface ever written by an academic. It’s from Garry Runicman’s “A Treatise on Social Theory, Vol II”:

bq. I have also been faced with a dilemma about the use and transliteration of sociological terms from languages other than English … I have compromised as best I can, and where the language in question is Greek, Latin, French, German, Italian or Spanish I am reasonably confident of my judgement about the nuances carried by vernacular terms for institutions, practices and roles. But in all other languages, I have had to rely entirely on the authorities on whose writings I have drawn …

It’s tough having such a narrow range.



Walt Pohl 10.29.04 at 7:06 pm

This reminds me of the best acknowledgements ever:


Giles 10.29.04 at 8:11 pm

My favorite is

“this is a fairly boring and tedious paper, and intentionally so”

Alwyn Young on the Tyranny of Numbers


william 10.29.04 at 9:36 pm

Wow. Thanks, folks. Those were great.

That’s my kind of academic writing.


william 10.29.04 at 9:40 pm

Sorry for the double post, but I wanted to note that I had a rather funny essay published in my undergrad’s academic journal. It’s obviously not all that academic, but it was delightful and risque at a Catholic liberal arts college, I thought.

On Sleeping With Friends

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