Hearing Others in Qualitative Research
Chapter 2. Performative Listening
One of, if not the very first, recordings of Miles Davis I listened to was the 1970 album Bitches Brew. I was 13 years old and had been playing the trumpet for three years. When I heard the music on this album for the first time I was confused. The rhythms and instrumentation sounded strange. I remember waiting, for what seemed like an eternity, to hear Davis’s trumpet on the opening track. After almost two and half minutes, my lack of musical patience was rewarded with a brief phrase played by Davis. Needless to say, I found the album frustrating. My expectations and desires were not met. I was instructed by my band directors, that by listening to other trumpet players, I could learn to be a better trumpet player. On that first attempt to learn by listening to Davis I realized that this album, without any additional context or experience, was going to be a difficult starting place.
Listening provides a unique starting place for engaging in qualitative research in terms of communication, relationships, pedagogy, and pleasure. In this chapter, I define performative listening as a method or mode of listening that might modify or complement a variety of existing qualitative research methods.1 Performative listening is an embodied practice of critically and reflexively engaging with and learning from others in qualitative research. ← 31 | 32 → Performative listening specifically emphasizes the pedagogical and potentially transformative role of the researcher as...
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