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Heightened Performative Autoethnography

Resisting Oppressive Spaces within Paradigms


William M. Sughrua

This book argues for – and carries out – what the author terms Heightened Performative Autoethnography (HPA). The common theme throughout the volume involves resisting oppressive and hegemonic spaces within paradigms, and hence seeking epistemological liberation. The text methodologically and conceptually situates this newly proposed variant of autoethnography, while contextualizing and justifying its «performed or enacted» theme involving resistance against the oppressiveness of paradigms. The book concludes with an analysis and commentary, demonstrating how this particular theme, and HPA as a research and writing repertoire, are able to meaningfully respond to the eighth moment of contemporary qualitative research, which calls for a critical and social justice agenda directed at empowerment, equity, liberation, and related issues. Heightened Performative Autoethnography could be used in upper-level undergraduate classes and graduate courses within the social sciences, humanities, and education, for courses on critical theory, contemporary research methodology, performative studies, narrative writing, and related subjects.
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Chapter 6: Part One: West Town: An Inquiry into Space


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West Town: An Inquiry into Space

The thump of metal at our feet, I in my dad’s old Scoutmaster boots, unlaced, and Plato in flats of leather tied with rope, and then Plato and I brace for better footing, as we slingshot through floating cables and then shattered white, some long lost firework maybe, and the spacecraft in a float and all blue and cold.

I was then a suburban kid, with a recent BA in English, living a gap year between BA graduation and MA study, and working as a part-time researcher at a law firm and a substitute high school teacher in the Chicago public school system. Perhaps as resistance to my own “transparent forms of ‘whiteness’” said to “reinforce the existing racial understandings and racial order of society” (Doane, 2013, p. 11), I fancied myself haunted by second-generation Irish-Catholic guilt, which apparently had manifested in an identification with Malcolm X, his back turned to the “silhouettes in the dark park” (Neal, 1969, p. 34). This in turn had partly brought me, on this cold winter night, to the silver fence-link tunnel going along the side wall and leading to the door of the dance-cantina Juárez Azul in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. My winter breath these chunks of white stone in the dark; and an accordion not far off, from inside but as if outside, first a treble and...

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