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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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Prologue

Extract



As authors we welcome you to this assemblage in which all of us have been and are always, already present in the narrative becomings that entangle us across time, space, and place. The mapping of this territory/assemblage is no easy task given that it is not of our own making. Narratives are agents in their own right. We are implicated in narratives whose trajectories intersect and diffract in ways we can never trace, nor is that what we seek to do in this book. The story we tell is not a linear one in which we reflect on our “experience” or “stories” as a site of revelation. Instead, as we go to press, we recognize that what we have been doing is practicing/embodying narrative as an ethical/political becoming in which we are present to each other and to our imagined readers. We understand narrative not as a method that leads to description of the world, but as a creative, generative embodiment of becoming in the world. In other words, narrative (and we suggest that all research is narrative) becomes not a method of explication/representation, but a space to embrace ambiguity, precarity, mystery, vulnerability, humility, and stumble in disorientation. Troubling the role of method in conventional narrative research asks us to resist authoritative, final interpretations and instead remember that stories are more than words; they are living beings. Enacting narrative becomes an ethical act, as well as an ontological and epistemological one. ← vii | viii →

Reframing all research...

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