ENGL 112 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Naila Kabeer, Cosmopolitanism, Revealed Preference
Course CodeENGL 112
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A research proposal should establish a topic and a tradition of inquiry. It should begin
with a summary of existing knowledge. It should then outline a knowledge deficit,
identify a research site, and pose a research question. A research question addresses a
controversy in a tradition of inquiry, which is something more complicated than
originally thought or something having escaped notice. Sometimes, it may involve
combining two or more different approaches to a problem. A research question addresses
this controversy/deficit. You should not know the answer to this question before you
begin your research paper.
A research proposal often involves summarizing a tradition of inquiry using the
technique of orchestration. See examples on p. 17 and pp. 24-26 of Academic Writing.
Notice how the passage outlines a controversy or a knowledge deficit (a statement of
what is unknown or limited/faulty knowledge within a tradition of inquiry). You can
outline a knowledge deficit by taking a position about a controversy or by establishing a
position within the tradition of inquiry. That can mean proposing a new approach to an
issue or problem, or applying previous knowledge to a new research site, as I do below.
Your research site will be the University of British Columbia.
Beyond the Ethnic Economy: The Labour-Supply
Decisions of Turkish Women Entrepreneurs in Germany
The labour-supply decisions of immigrant women have been a focus of much study
[topic]. In her study of the labour-supply decisions of immigrant Bengali women living
in London, Naila Kabeer rejects the dominant economic model of labour-supply
decisions, which holds that individuals make such decisions autonomously in order to
maximize utility (285). Kabeer maintains that immigrant women must bargain with more
powerful family members in order to arrive at these decisions (285). Kabeer also rejects
the stereotypes of the culturalist model of labour-supply decisions favoured by
sociologists, suggesting that immigrant women make such decisions within an “ethnic
economy” consisting of both “rules and resources” (286). Kabeer suggests that racism,
sexism and community norms constrain the labour-supply choices of Bengali women
working within London’s garment industry [tradition of inquiry/summary of existing
knowledge]. However, Kabeer only analyzes the labour-supply decisions of Bengali
women living in London during the late 1980s and early 1990s. One might wonder if the
structural factors that she outlines constrain the labour-supply choices of immigrant
women living in other cultural contexts during the present day [knowledge deficit]. This
paper will examine the labour-supply decisions of Turkish immigrant women living in
Germany [research site]. Do race, gender and community norms constrain their labour-
supply decisions? [research questions].
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