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27. August 2012 How to construct ”the new normal” scienfically? On the construction of personally meaningful yet scienfic comprehensive group definition.

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Presentation on theme: "27. August 2012 How to construct ”the new normal” scienfically? On the construction of personally meaningful yet scienfic comprehensive group definition."— Presentation transcript:

1 27. August 2012 How to construct ”the new normal” scienfically? On the construction of personally meaningful yet scienfic comprehensive group definition when researching women attracted to women and aspects of consumption of alcohol and drugs By Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow, Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research, AU Presented at the Nordic Alcohol and Drug Researchers’ Assembly 2012

2 ? 2 Inclusiveness

3 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August Turning to Agential Realism to understand processes of demarcation Awareness of research practices and reflection upon how different intra-actions come to play a part in the way we end up describing our research population

4 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 Agential Realism (Barad) Matter and discourse have real effects and agency Observed object ~ agencies of observation (participant, recruiting, interviewer, interviewguide, setting, etc.) “Apparatuses are material-discursive practices – […] intra-actions through which matter is iteratively and differentially articulated, reconfiguring the material-discursive field of possibilities and impossibilities in the ongoing dynamics of intra-activity that is agency. Apparatuses are not bound objects of structures; they are open-ended practices” (Barad, 2007:170). 4

5 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 My apparatus so far My intra-action as researcher - “Any causal intra-action is implicit a measurement in Barad’s sense” (Rouse, 2004, p. 158) Two Danish national databases asking for sex of former/current partner Danmarks Statistik and regulations about questions about sexuality Preconceptions about sexuality/science Presentation of study to participants - wording Intra-action on the phone and in letters Interview-guide, -setting, communication, recording of interview, trust/chemistry, etc. 5

6 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 Practically, materially, discursively and ethically informed group definition? What about (not) talking about sexuality? Demarcations and agential cuts in the literature: behavior, attraction, self identification, partnership Inclusiveness: An intitially loose group concept that will lead to a tighter one? Co-researchers  The universe kicks back – hopefully! 6

7 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 Implementing an agential realism perspective - does it matter? Barad on ethics: “We are responsible for the cuts that we help enact not because we do the choosing (neither do we escape responsibility because “we” are “chosen” by them), but because we are an agential part of the material becoming of the universe. Cuts are agentially enacted not by willful individuals but by the larger material arrangement of which “we” are a “part”” (Barad, 2007, pp ). - concerning abstract categories perhaps choosing is more central? 7

8 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 Understanding complicated matters - not complicating understandable matters… Simplifying & complexifying Agential realism  no possibility for simplification? 8

9 Conceptualizing “the new normal” scientifically Merete Poulsen, PhD fellow Centre for Alcohol and Drug Research 27. August 2012 Thank you for your attention References: Barad, K. M. (1998). "Getting Real: Technoscientific Practices and the Materialization of Reality." Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 10 (2): 87. Barad, K. (2003). "Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter." Signs 28 (3): 801. Barad, K. M. (2007). Meeting the universe halfway : quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Durham, Duke University Press. Bloomfield, K., M. Wicki, et al. (2011). "International differences in alcohol use according to sexual orientation." Substance abuse : official publication of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse 32 (4): Diamond, L. M. (2008). Sexual fluidity : understanding women's love and desire. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press. Hansen, H., f., L. Gransell, et al. (2009). Lige og ulige? : homoseksuelle, biseksuelle og transkønnedes levevilkår. Kbh., CASA. Hegna, K. and I. Rossow (2007). "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? SUBSTANCE USE AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE CATEGORIZED BY SAME-SEX EXPERIENCE AND ATTRACTIONS." Journal of Drug Issues 37 (2): Marshal, M. P., M. S. Friedman, et al. (2008). "Sexual orientation and adolescent substance use: a meta-analysis and methodological review." Addiction 103 (4): Moseng, B. U. (2002): ”Lesbiskes psykiske helse. NOVA rapport 04/02”. Norsk institutt for forskning i oppvekst, velferd og aldring. Ohnstad, A. (2010). "Signs, interpretation and recognition among women attracted to other women in Norway." Nordic Psychology 62 (4): Rouse, J. (2004). "Barad's Feminist Naturalism." Hypatia 19 (1): Savin-Williams, R. C. (2006). "Who's Gay? Does It Matter?" Current Directions in Psychological Science 15 (1):


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