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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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6. “Why Didn’t They Get It?” “Did They Have to Get It?”: What Reader Response Theory Has to Offer Narrative Research and Pedagogy (Becky Atkinson / Roland W. Mitchell)


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“Why Didn’t They Get It?” “Did They Have to Get It?”

What Reader Response Theory Has to Offer Narrative Research and Pedagogy



“Why didn’t they get it? Where did I mess up? Was I not clear? Didn’t they listen to what I was telling them?” Roland (second author) asked, shaking his head in dismay. He was trying to figure out how what had seemed to be a straightforward conference presentation about his experience with institutionalized racism had become a tense debate among two groups of women within his audience. One group of African-American female educators supported his analysis of an incident with his white female supervisor as an example of institutionalized racism. Another group of white female educators insisted that Roland’s interpretation demonstrated sexist overtones, and had not acknowledged his and his student advisee’s exercise of male privilege.

“Well, I don’t think you said anything wrong, but I could see how the sexist interpretation could be possible. The supervisor, even if she was incredibly rude, may have had child care issues, and, being the supervisor, she might not have wanted to admit that to a student and an advisor whom she was supposed to supervise,” responded Becky (first author), his colleague and audience member. ← 179 | 180 →

She continued, “I do think something related to women was happening there, because, except for you,...

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