Having recently attended the Gathering of the Clans in a rather large area of biomedical science, I suppose it is inevitable to think about what Janet Stemwedel terms the Tribe of Science. Actually I've been thinking about the many, many tribes within science. A storm of tribal Venn diagrams has been wandering across my mind.
Tribal action for the common goodIn history and fiction, calling the tribe or Gathering the Clans has an almost inevitable connection to warfare. Pulling together into group action for the common good, albeit occasionally to the detriment of Others. Not always of course, see Figure.
Science tribes come together, mill about and .....what?
It is going to be a series of posts for me to work through this I think but I was thinking of how many tribes I inhabit.
Several training tribes. From undergraduate affiliations to those of my various graduate and postdoctoral stints. I spent a lot of time talking to my peeps, seeing where they are, who they are training or training with. What new jobs they have taken or are seriously considering.
The tribe of me. Trainees, close work colleagues, peers who mentor me and whom I mentor in return.
Subfield tribes. Meeting the trainees of my field peeps. Talking about potential collaborative experiments and papers. Study section colleagues.
The burgeoning blog tribe. Great to meet you all!
Tribe of Science, pull together!Sol's skirmishing over here with the smart ass youngsters has me thinking about generational tribalism. It's all fun and games on this blog but I need to think on this tribal distinction more. In fact I think one of the larger subtexts of my blogging on science careers is calling the generational tribe, trying to convince you that lateral networks are just as important as sucking up to the old folks.
I have a feeling that when I talk about networking and some of the person-based careerism stuff I am missing something important. I suggest trainees need to enter tribes. Sure. When I talk about schmoozing your peers and program officers and all that....I'm talking about getting into the tribes. Getting into the tribes so that you can fully contribute to self-selected Goods on the basis that tribal affiliations and properties influence access to such a great degree.
What I fail to do is talk about calling the tribe for common action. I think it is that damn Obama and his neoKennedian call to action and call to service. He's calling the Clans my friend, make no mistake. And we have to ask ourselves what we're going to do.
Which Tribe are you going to lead? Which call will you heed?