Today's supervision meeting went better than I could have possibly imagined. They liked my framework and structure, and want me to keep it and flesh it out into a chapter. Talking it over with them, I realised that I've been ridiculously hard on myself. My framework is an original contribution to knowledge, which is the whole point of the PhD, after all.
The fact that it's original is why I felt so unsure about my approach. Not being able to find any literature to explicitly support my ideas made me feel like they weren't good enough--surely somebody must have done this before. But actually, the fact that this is different doesn't mean that it's weak--it means that it's original and it's a contribution to the field. I'm capable of so much more than I believe. I need to give myself some credit for this one, and have more confidence in my work.
This chapter isn't a "dissertation-by-numbers" theory chapter. It's not about subscribing to a theoretical point of view or debating the merits of one dead white guy's views over another. It's about breaking down the literature into its main ideas--it's really more of an analytical lit review than a theory chapter.
In other news, today I've submitted my revised journal article to the wonderful folks at Ludwig-Maximilians Universitaet in Munich, so my very first publication is closer to being a reality. Beyond excited!
I was hurt by some news yesterday that confirmed what I'd been thinking about the future direction of ICS, but I'm trying to put it all behind me. There are millions of opportunities out there in the world for me, and the changes at ICS might be just the push that I needed to get out there and pursue them. I've absolutely loved my time here and the people I've met, but it's obviously not meant to be a permanent thing for me, and that's for the best.