[Air-L] Credentials

Alex Halavais alex at halavais.net
Tue Aug 18 07:53:14 PDT 2009

I am sympathetic to the idea that we should be "named" in our posting
to AIR-L. In fact, it's part of the expectations of the list:
http://aoir.org/?page_id=3 .

And for those who wish to self-identify ("Hello, I'm Alex, and I have
a doctorate..."), I see no harm in that. I choose not to for a few

First, I'm not sure precisely what the credential means in my own
case, let alone others' cases. Surely, not all Ph.D. granting
institutions are of similar stature--should we also be saying where we
graduated from, and in what field? Do Sociology Ph.D.s hold more sway
than humble Communication Ph.D.s? What were our field exams, and how
did we do? Does the fact that I hold no high school degree diminish my

I'm reminded of Bernays on Letterman (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6hH3roMe4w ). My hope is that I can be
convincing enough without those three letters.

Second, I consider all of you--approaching 2,000--colleagues. I was
lucky enough to be considered the same by some of the eminent members
of this list before I completed my doctorate, and so I want to do the
same for those who are starting out in their own studies. For me, the
use of titles in this context creates an unnecessary social distance.

Again, to each their own, and if you choose to put your affiliations
and credentials in your .sig, more power to you. But I wouldn't want
it to become an expectation.

Alex Halavais
Person of Interest, Man About Town, Perpetual Student, Neophyte Baker,
and Sometime Bamboo Fancier

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