I am at that stage in my PhD project of setting the administrative wheels in processes for submitting my dissertation. This is what I say my thesis is:
Understanding Port Melbourne: Accounting for, and interrupting, social order in an Australian suburb
Any account of a place or people relies on the imposition of order. I present an ethnographic account of Port Melbourne configured in three parts, using the work of Jacques Rancière. First, the material and social geography demonstrate that spatial orders are always underpinned by social order. Second, stories and characters from the suburb reveal such order to only ever be imposed, not inherent. Third, the imposition of order, even when underpinned by the most principled policy commitments, imposes inequality.
In thinking about my title and the little bit of back and forth with my primary supervisor as to what needs to get fitted into the 80 word description (turns out they want quite a clear picture), I have been painfully aware of how much I learnt in Port Melbourne is not in my dissertation. I never expected to say everything, but I still have this imagined ‘final work through’ of the chapters in which countless little stories and observations will be able to be squeezed in, along with many references to the academic literature.