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Troubling Method

Narrative Research as Being

Petra Munro Hendry, Roland Mitchell and Paul Eaton

Troubling Method seeks to extract narrative inquiry from method. The shift to a post-humanist, post-qualitative moment is not just another stage in modernism that seeks to "improve" knowledge production, but is a shift to understanding research as an ontology, a way of being in the world, rather than a mode of production. Fundamental assumptions of research: method, data, analysis, and findings are deconstructed and reconfigured as a mode of relational intra-action.

Troubling Method is constructed as a dialogue between the three authors, focusing on their work as qualitative, narrative researchers. The authors revisit six previously published works in which they grapple with the contradictions and ironies of engaging in pragmatist, critical, and feminist qualitative research. After a lengthy introduction which problematizes "method," the book is divided into three sections, each with two chapters that are bracketed by an introduction to the issues discussed in the chapters and then a "dialogue interlude" in which the authors deliberate what makes possible the questions they are raising about method and narrative research. The three sections attend to the central premises of "narrative research as being": 1) relationships, 2) listening, and 3) unknowing.

Troubling Method is ideal for introductory or advanced courses in qualitative research, narrative inquiry, educational research, and those aimed at employing critical theories in qualitative and narrative inquiry.

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3. “Soft Ears” and Hard Topics: Race, Disciplinarity, and Voice in Higher Education (Roland W. Mitchell)


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“Soft Ears” and Hard Topics

Race, Disciplinarity, and Voice in Higher Education



At the time Dr. Shelia Mason participated in the interview above, she had been teaching statistics courses for two years at a predominantly European American university in the United States. This interview excerpt represents Dr. Mason’s ← 99 | 100 → insights associated with race and racism as they intersect with her being a member of academic communities or disciplines, and her comments show how these issues influenced the ways that she thought about her teaching in higher education. In this chapter, I focus on a case study of Dr. Mason to analyze how although race is such a ubiquitous subject in educational research, the impact of membership in an academic discipline may be overlooked or not as easily observable for researchers and in some cases even for the participants themselves. In fact, the findings from this research suggest that membership in scholarly communities or academic disciplines actually disciplines professors to the point that it polices the ways that they think about and voice the relationship between their racial identity, approach to pedagogy, and subsequent interactions with their students.

In addition to drawing out some salient points about the relationships among race, disciplinarity, and voice—especially as it pertains to those of us who are qualitative researchers studying those relationships—I use this chapter to develop a more...

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