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Going with the Flow: The interview as confession and the use of Water Logic Cate Goodlad University of Sheffield The FurtherHigher Project.

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Presentation on theme: "Going with the Flow: The interview as confession and the use of Water Logic Cate Goodlad University of Sheffield The FurtherHigher Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Going with the Flow: The interview as confession and the use of Water Logic Cate Goodlad University of Sheffield The FurtherHigher Project

2 Interview participants Northgreen College 10 students on Access to HE courses (8 continued to phase 3) moving into HE 6 female, 4 male 9 White British, 1 British-Pakistani

3 The interview as confession A Foucaultian view of the confession as a means to reveal the ‘truth’ about oneself. We have become an ‘Interview Society’ (Atkinson and Silverman, 1997) Pervades all aspects of society – medical, counselling, TV programmes, magazines...

4 The confessional Always a confessor and confessee, within a power relationship ‘Interview’ associated with ‘truth’ (e.g. Police interview, job interview) rather than ‘having a chat’

5 Interview as confession Want to be a ‘good’ interviewee Narratives shaped by dominant discourses or ‘regimes of truth’ A rehearsed narrative – how people talk about themselves

6 Being a ‘good’ interviewee Checking questions: Sally - …Then I went to University – do you want what kind of subjects? (Sally, 1, 2) Cate - And what are your plans for the future? Sally - Immediate future or long distant future? (Sally, 3, 29) Sunita - My school experience – do you mean from primary up to kind of secondary? (Sunita, 1, 1)

7 Dominant discourses Interpretation and construction of the self shaped by discourses Discourse follows ‘rules’ and includes practices as well as what is said. Can reveal how individuals think about themselves - ‘Who am I?’ ‘What is acceptable for me?’

8 Beth Age 27, brought up on a council estate: People from the area I came from didn’t really do anything, they just, if they worked, they got rubbish jobs, do you know what I mean? They didn’t – it weren’t like it were ever on the cards to do anything. (Beth, 1, 10) I’ve always thought, people like me don’t go to University you know, and so, it took quite a while for me to get that motivation, and confidence as well (Beth, 1, 56)

9 Darren 38 years old and worked as a cabinet maker: So I mean over the past years I’ve kind of looked at it really about maybe going to uni but I’ve just kind of thought well I’m too old to do that really. It were a daft idea…. Why did you think you were too old? Well, I don’t know, it’s kind of something you do after school really isn’t it? That’s what I always thought. (Darren, 1, 10&11)

10 Resistance Both Beth and Darren previously saw higher education as ‘not for them’ – shaped by discourse Both can be said to be resisting the discourse by moving into higher education Power invested in Access discourses made HE a possibility

11 Taboo subjects Dominant discourses shape what is taboo. Tina was reticent about revealing why she moved to the area: Cate - So how did you end up in Northgreen? Tina - Through marriage. My husband was from [North West town], I was from [Midlands town], just some things that were going on in my life at the time as well it was sort of a new start, new change, you know, and chose Northgreen. (Tina, 1, 6)

12 Tina Later clarified: Cate - So what was it that made you think about starting college again and doing some qualifications? I think it was someone….. I had a few problems like before when I came up here and stuff, got into drugs that was what it is, that was like the main reason for coming here, you know, to sort of get away from that. And then it was through the drug worker, you know, the set up for that, you know, and they introduced me to the Fresh Start course. (Tina, 1, 8)

13 Tina’s narrative The power of the confessional situation – she could have lied. It is illegal, so by admitting to the use of drugs, she categorises herself as ‘deviant’. Need to be seen as a ‘good’ citizen – keen to stress that this is her past Part of her new narrative about herself – education is a strong part of who she is now.

14 Water Logic Practical tool for mapping perceptions conceived by Edward de Bono (1993) Used in this case as a means to check information and understanding Introduced at the end of the third phase interviews.

15 Rock and Water Western society tend to think in terms of ‘rock logic’: Traditional rock logic is based on identity: ‘This is a caterpillar.’ It is also based on ‘have’ and ‘inclusion’: ‘this caterpillar is green and has a hairy body.’ Inclusion, exclusion, identity and non-identity, and contradiction are the very stuff of reasoning. We create boxes in the forms of categories, classifications and words. We judge whether something belongs in a certain box and if it does we can give it all the characteristics of that box.

16 Water Logic Bono suggests that perceptions are more fluid (like water) Not what is it? But What does this lead to? Perceptions add up to a whole (as in poetry)

17 De Bono’s example A woman brings a faulty kettle to a department store and asks for a replacement. The sales assistant knows the kettle could never have been bought at the store because the store does not stock that brand. But the sales assistant changes the kettle for a new one. On the basis of ‘is’ logic and justice this must seem absurd. But in ‘to’ logic it does make sense. The woman is so delighted that she becomes a regular customer.

18 Creating a flowscape Stream of consciousness list From the interview transcripts ‘What does HE mean to this person?’ No right or wrong answers

19 Stream of consciousness list for Sally A‘normal’ routeB Bmore interesting jobA Cheavy workloadD DharderK EmodulesJ FplacementsJ Glack of moneyK Hindependent learning N Idifferent to collegeH JAssessmentsN KpressureH Lpart-time workK Mstudent identityH higher-status Nfirst-class degreeB

20 A ‘normal’ route Neither of my parents went to University. My sister, 2 years older than me was at University, but there was never any pressure for me to go. May be it was through school like all my friends were going, but there was never any pressure to go, it just kind of seemed like the natural thing to do. (Sally, 1, 8)

21 Flowscape diagram for Sally

22 Re-interpretations Sally agreed with the SoC list but commented on pressure as a collector point: There’s one thing I didn’t mention, I wasn’t sure whether to mention or not, is that I have started seeing a counsellor, I’ve been a couple of times because I have been getting quite stressed (Sally, 3, 39)

23 Re-negotiated flowscape

24 Sunita Single parent to 5 year old who just started school. Working part-time Several level 3 qualifications (beauty therapy, computers, customer services, then Black Access) Started Degree in Childhood Studies – left after 7 months

25 Sunita Her reflections on leaving: I still feel a bit’s a bad decision like… because like you know when you’ve passed your work and you get a feeling of like “oh I’ve done it and I’ve got a good mark for it” or, you know, I was alright, at least I passed it or whatever… so I’ve got that thing and I just wanted to achieve it, wanted to do it but I couldn’t so… (Sunita, 3,17)

26 Sunita’s narrative She attributes failure to lack of ability: …when I spoke to the tutor she said “no you’re doing fine, you’re doing quite well, your marks are fine” but I felt myself like I’d have to struggle to....every piece of work was like a struggle to do it. I don’t know, maybe it was a bit too much for me. (Sunita, 3, 2)

27 Sunita’s Flowscape

28 Alternative Narratives Initial response to flowscape was one of shock: –Yeah that’s true actually, really true yeah. When you put it like that it’s like “oh my gosh”. (Sunita, 3, 29) Discussed alternatives but reluctant to let go of original narrative: –Yeah, I should think like that but....still do but..... (Sunita, 3, 33)

29 Foucault and Water Logic Foucaultian power/knowledge and De Bono’s Water Logic both emphasise importance of context. Perceptions can be faulty but still be ‘true’ – similar to ideas of truth in discourse They can also change, just like discourses.

30 Conclusions The interview can be viewed as a confession – a means to produce ‘truth’ Narrative of the self is shaped by dominant discourses Water Logic a means to check information Water Logic opened up new spaces for negotiation and shifted the power relationship

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