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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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4. Continuing Dilemmas of Life History Research: A Reflexive Account of Feminist Qualitative Inquiry (Petra Munro Hendry)


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Continuing Dilemmas of Life History Research

A Reflexive Account of Feminist Qualitative Inquiry


We are all aware that often uneasy relationship between teaching and theory. One reason is that we are not accustomed to theorizing daily life. Theory exists on some meta-level in some domain where thought and logic rule. But daily life is often so noisy we can’t even hear ourselves think. The other reason is that language of theory is rarely the language of things. The work of theory is too often a sensible emptiness.

Jo Anne Pagano (1991, p. 194)

The dichotomization of teaching and theory, as Jo Anne Pagano suggests, serves to split the world into separate and distinct domains. As a feminist, my work as a teacher educator/researcher is grounded in the belief that the separation between theory and practice distorts the reality of the research process. This separation serves to maintain traditional hierarchies that function to legitimatize certain forms of knowing over others, thereby maintaining dominant relations of power (Flax, 1989; Mascia-Lees, Sharpe, & Cohen, 1989). In reconceptualizing theory to fit my experience as a woman, I view theory as intricately woven into the daily struggle to make sense of my life and provide some thread of continuity and sense of community. ← 123 | 124 →

This view of theory as embedded in our daily lives was central to my choice of...

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