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Revisiting Young Lives data with a narrative lens: What insights does a narrative analytic approach offer to children’s talk about everyday life and growing.

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Presentation on theme: "Revisiting Young Lives data with a narrative lens: What insights does a narrative analytic approach offer to children’s talk about everyday life and growing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revisiting Young Lives data with a narrative lens: What insights does a narrative analytic approach offer to children’s talk about everyday life and growing up in Andhra Pradesh, India? Catherine Walker, NOVELLA-linked PhD student, Institute of Education In association with the University of Sussex

2 Presentation structure 1PhD research and rationale 2Secondary analysis of Young Lives qualitative data 3Theoretical basis for narrative analysis 4Contextual themes from the data 5Discussion of narratives in relation to themes 6Reflections on this phase of work

3 My PhD research: Children’s everyday experiences, understandings and practices of the environment in two countries Linked to NOVELLA – Narratives of Varied Everyday Life and Linked Approaches Working closely alongside Family Lives and the Environment project (one of three constituent NOVELLA projects) Seeking to get beyond the rhetoric of children as an abstract social group used to give impetus to moral argument for pro-environmental action Looking at children (aged 11-12) as competent social actors with a range of identities – where, if at all, does environmental concern intersect with these identities? Narrative as a way of getting at these identities, in order to explore this question Cross-class, cross-national and rural/urban interests

4 Young Lives Longitudinal research study ( ) into childhood poverty in Ethiopia, India (Andhra Pradesh), Peru and Vietnam Core-funded by UK Department for International Development (DFID) Mixed methods study – survey data collected from 12,000 children and caregivers and qualitative sub-sample of 200 children across the four countries Younger and older cohorts of children – born in 2001 and 1994 respectively

5 Young Lives: Qualitative data Qualitative data collected with the aim of getting children’s perspectives on two themes: Resources, choices and transitions Risk, protective processes and wellbeing Methods used in data collection: Individual interviews with children and caregivers Participatory group exercises with children Focus group interviews with caregivers and community stakeholders Community-level reports based on researcher’s observations Looking at data collected over three rounds with children aged 12, 13 and 15 Data accessed through research partnership between Family Lives and Environment and Young Lives

6 Aims for secondary analysis To increase my contextual understanding of children’s lives in rural and urban Andhra Pradesh To explore the extent to which secondary narrative analysis can be carried out on data that was not collected within a narrative methodology, and which has been translated from the original language To develop a narrative analytic framework with which to analyse data collected for the later phase of primary research in both countries To identify examples or absences of environmental discourses in children’s talk about environmental events and practices in order to draw upon these in my primary research in Andhra Pradesh To work in collaboration with Family Lives and the Environment (FLE) researchers, to both inform and learn from their expertise, and to benefit from and contribute to the NOVELLA node as a whole

7 Research questions for secondary analysis How do narratives emerging from interviews and activities with children and other family members speak to theories of how environment features in children’s everyday interactions in the different spaces they inhabit? What connections, if any, do children make between environmental conditions, understandings and practices, both in their narratives of everyday consumptive practices and of ‘disruptions’ such as crop failure, extreme weather events and unplanned urban development? How does living in a rural or urban setting impact upon the ways in which children understand the relationship between their lives and the natural environment?

8 ‘Magnifying glass’ focus - four cases Qualitative sub-sample for Andhra Pradesh (n=48) Young Lives full sample for Andhra Pradesh (n=3,000) Older cohort within qualitative subsample in Andhra Pradesh (n=24) Eight cases for contextualisation of children’s lives in Andhra Pradesh (two urban, six rural) Four cases for narrative analysis (two urban, two rural) Data I had access to

9 Engagement with narrative literature The active role of stories in human interactions (Freeman, 2002, in Riessman, 2008; Bruner, 1990; Squire, 2008) Co-construction of narratives in the research encounter (Phoenix, 2008) Children’s multiple voices through story-telling and implications for power relations with the adult researcher (Connolly, 2008;Luttrell, 2010) Narratives as having a referential and evaluative function (Franzosi, 1998) – the bringing of events in the past into the present through story-telling

10 Narratives in everyday speech “...in everyday oral storytelling a speaker connects events into a sequence that is consequential for later action and for the meanings that the speaker wants listeners to take away from the story. Events perceived by the speaker as important are selected, organised, connected and evaluated as meaningful for a particular audience.” (Riessman, 2008, p. 3)

11 Contextualising the data Rahmatulla and Sania Living in Hyderabad, state capital of Andhra Pradesh Congested, chaotic ‘slum’ within the city: “...with narrow lanes and stagnant water, litter on the roads, closed windows and doors and women moving around in burkas” (Round one data gathering report) Contextual themes: Danger, lack of trust and hierarchies of power Gendered use of space and mobility

12 Danger, lack of trust and hierarchies of power “Group members also added that there is a haunted house, a very big one at the entrance of the community. According to them there is a ghost in that big house. Nobody dares to enter that house. Only sometimes big people in cars go inside and come out. The facilitator asked them whether they felt frightened and they said yes’, but they do not share their fear with their parents because they in turn will scold them.” Round one boys’ group activity, 2007 “Next, the facilitator asked the boys to explain the topic of illness due to stagnant water and mosquitoes. Rahmatulla and another child said that due to stagnant water from heavy rains there is an increase in mosquitoes and due to this the people of this locality suffered a lot with chicken guinea and dengue fever. All this is due to the [un]cleanliness of the surroundings. At present new cement roads have been developed because of the upcoming elections. The government is working effectively due to the elections. The people need votes to win in the elections so they are working. They come to the houses and make promises they do this and that after elections [but] they will not see this through....” Round two boys’ group activity, 2008

13 Gendered use of space and mobility – boys’ perspectives “Two boys said that the boys tease the girls by going fast on their bikes, setting the songs on mobile phones loudly and increasing the speed so that noisy sound comes out, then beating the girls on the backside as they go past. One of the participants referred to an incident which happened nearby where a college guy was driving fast and struck a young girl who died. There are no speed brakes on the roads to slow people down so this is happening. Boys also, to draw attention, make circles on their bikes. This is shown on television and the boys see this from an early age and want to imitate it.” Round two boys’ group activity, 2008

14 Gendered use of space and mobility – Sania’s perspective “Sania shared about the petty shop in their community where all foods, from chocolates to rice are available. She drew stick diagrams of humans in the corner of the lane in the community and explained that “Gande Bacche” (which means dirty or wicked boys) stay here, who constantly persecute the girls in the community who wear a burka. When the facilitator questioned whether at any time she had had an opportunity to report this to her elder brothers or family members, Sania shared that her family members had warned the boys many times but still they continued to do the same thing... She said that she likes the playground in the school very much, where she gets an open environment to play. She likes playing ‘Bat and Ball’, skipping and [playing] ‘Hide and Seek’ in the playground and says “Bahut Maaza Aata Hai” (which means she enjoys playing them). However, she doesn’t get much time to play at home (or rather she is not allowed to play at home). She shared that she can personally identify a difference between when when she was young and she was allowed to play outside, and the time since she has biologically grown up, as now her mother and the family restrict her from playing outside. If there are no boys in the vicinity of the community then her mother allows her to play outside.” Round one girls’ group activity, 2007

15 Exploring these themes through narratives around objects Five minutes to read through extracts: Rahmatulla and the bicycle Sania and the television Data have been translated from original Urdu Extracts are anonymised but should be handed in at the end Discussion of these extracts – minutes

16 Reflections: What insights does a narrative analytic approach offer to children’s talk around everyday life and growing up in Andhra Pradesh? Small, everyday narratives as a way of accessing mundane and arcane meanings around objects, events and relationships Secondary analysis as a way of contextualising a research setting Secondary analysis as a way of bringing methodological literature to life Hindsight: a thematic analysis first, then more refined questions to take to cases? Possibility of revisiting the data having spent time in Andhra Pradesh? The value of collaborative work, especially with researchers who carried out data collection, but still, the impossibility of knowing

17 References Boyden, J. & M. Bourdillon (2012) (Eds.), Childhood Poverty: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Connolly, P. (2008). Race, gender and critical reflexivity in research with young children. In P. Christensen & A. James (Eds.), Research with children: perspectives and practices (2nd ed., pp ). Abingdon: Routledge. Franzosi, R. (1998). Narrative Analysis - or why (and how) sociologists should be interested in narrative. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, Heaton, J. (2004). Reworking Qualitative Data. London: Sage. Luttrell, W. (2010). ‘A camera is a big responsibility’: a lens for analysing children's visual voices. Visual Studies, 25(3), Phoenix, A. (2008). Analysing Narrative Contexts. In M. Andrews, C. Squire & M. Tamboukou (Eds.), Doing Narrative Research. London: Sage. Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage. Squire, C. (2008). Experience-centred and culturally-oriented approaches to narrative. In C. Squire, M. Andrews & M. Tamboukou (Eds.), Doing Narrative Research (pp ). London: Sage.

18 Any questions? Please send any feedback to: Institute of Education University of London 20 Bedford Way London WC1H 0AL Tel +44 (0) Fax +44 (0) Web


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