Presentation on theme: "The Privileges and Pitfalls of Conducting Narrative Research: Deconstructing My Collaborative Storytelling Methodology Dan Mahoney, Ph.D. Ryerson University,"— Presentation transcript:
The Privileges and Pitfalls of Conducting Narrative Research: Deconstructing My Collaborative Storytelling Methodology Dan Mahoney, Ph.D. Ryerson University, Toronto Canada
Academic Qualifications Ph.D. Sociology, University of Essex, 2002 M.Sc. Family Relations and Human Development, University of Guelph, 1994 B.A.A. Nutrition, Consumer and Family Studies, Ryerson University, 1992
My Teaching Profile Teach in the areas of health, intimacy, sexuality, family studies and research methods Profile the diversity of Canadian family life Social health determinants – as they relate to social support and family relationships Mentor/supervise/teach qualitative research methods
Research Interests… What is the connection between storytelling, community building and sense of belonging?
Social and Interpersonal Context of Families with (LGBT) Members How these family members come to characterize and give meaning to their intimate relationships through the stories they tell about the people they love?
My Narrative Beginnings
Emerging Representations 20 th century studies shaped contemporary discourse about gay men’s life Construct new meanings to the collective and personal identity of gay men’s intimate life
Sound Bites These representations are often reduced to fragments, partial descriptions, distilled passages, selected vignettes and objective truths Almost always as a means of making authorial analytical points of view
Lost in Translation!! The readers of these text have not sense of the wholeness of these stories - as they were told – including the meanings that were derived from these experiences and the process of discovery that took place between the collaborators in these research inquires!!
Process of Discovery How, why and when stories are told are hugely important to the creation of meaning-making for storytellers. What gets included in the narrative, in what order and at what time, allows the storyteller to emphasize, underscore, make sense – and in some cases - rework previously held thoughts, points of view or shared history
What is needed are more experimental readings that are both sensitive to the complex and interactive experiences of everyday life and attentive to the contextual ways these stories get constructed
My Collaborative Storytelling Methodology My Collaborative Storytelling Methodology
Emotional Interpretive Ethnography Provide an intimate storytelling context for a deep and emotional understanding of the lived experience – collaborators are encouraged to use their own voices and languages of understanding
Collaborative Communication Process Meaning is constructed by sharing personal and social experience between us in the context of a developing fieldwork relationship. The construction of these fieldwork relationships allowed us to become immersed in the emotional world of the other, to re-story experience in a powerful and empathetic way.
Storytelling Framework Time spent together focuses on the interview process, the stories that get told and shared and the understandings that emerge as a result of the telling (and retelling) of these stories
Voice, Location, Accountable? Actively locate the storytellers in the process and production of the narrative – and allow for a more creative and transparent process in the production of knowledge
Emotional, Reflexive Process Our process of discovery values the study collaborator’s perspectives, as well as the researcher’s own self-reflexive understandings, emotions, reactions and awareness of those constructions
Storytelling Outcomes Making the private more public Personal narrative in sociology Better representations Poly-vocal ethnography Interpretation and Ownership
Making Problems Out of Methods
Constructing Fieldwork Relationships?? “A great deal of gay life is still private and largely invisible; and getting gay men to speak openly about their relational experiences is complex and context specific. Many gay men will only share the details of their lives with others in safe and empathetic environments. Overcoming such obstacles began by first constructing an identity within local gay community networks….”
Insider/Outside Dilemma Convincing others you can trusted insider?? Taking your insider location for granted?? Overcoming cultural, class, gender and personality barriers?? Selling the project!!
Managing my Fieldwork Relationships “Understanding how these fieldwork relationships got constructed and renegotiated along the way was just as important as the process of discovery of discovery that took place in the storytelling collaborations. How the fieldwork relationships were forged had a profound affect on how the stories got told”
Blurring the Collaborative Boundaries “I learned there were limits to the number of boundaries we could transgress in this collaborative project. We were often left with the inevitable task of having to build a set of boundaries that would strike a balance between our public fieldwork relationship and our private intimate selves.”
Continuous Self Awareness? It’s important, but potentially crazy-making work Journaling my reflexive turns in these projects greatly facilitated the construction of newer meanings at every stage of my fieldwork practice