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Performative Listening

Hearing Others in Qualitative Research

Chris McRae

Performative Listening: Hearing Others in Qualitative Research offers an alternative theory of listening – as a performative act, or as a relational stance and performance in which listeners ethically engage in an act of learning from others across difference. This theory emerges from an interdisciplinary approach to performance studies, communication, musicology, and critical pedagogy in order to present a nuanced theory of listening as performance that is always linked to questions of context, individual experiences, and cultural expectations. Working from examples of the music and autobiography of Miles Davis, this book offers a clear and practical guide for applying performative listening in the contexts of qualitative, narrative, and arts-based approaches to research and inquiry. By emphasizing the embodied, relational, and creative functions of the highly contextual and cultural performance of listening, Performative Listening presents a theory and method that can be used to rethink the ways scholars and students engage with others in a wide variety of qualitative research and educational contexts.
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Chapter 6. Listening Geographically: Hearing and Critical Reflexivity

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LISTENING GEOGRAPHICALLY: HEARING AND CRITICAL REFLEXIVITY

Carbondale, Illinois, is approximately one hundred miles away from the places where Miles Davis was born and raised. When I first moved to Carbondale, as a graduate student, the connection between the area and Davis’s life story did not immediately occur to me. There were no obvious monuments, memorials, or other signifiers of Davis’s life in the area. It was not until I came across an article in the Southern Illinois University newspaper, The Daily Egyptian, about an historic building in downtown Carbondale that was set to be demolished that I realized just how close I was to a part of Davis’s story (Lorimor, 2007). The Tuscan Masonic Lodge, or Carbondale Oddfellow’s Lodge, on the corner of Jackson Street and North Washington Street, near the town square, was a place where Davis had once performed in Carbondale. On March 4, 2009, the more than one hundred year old Tuscan Lodge was demolished (Thomas, 2009).

These stories led me back to Davis’s (Davis & Troupe, 1989) autobiography to see if he had mentioned his performance at the Tuscan Lodge. He talks briefly about performing in Carbondale during a competition with his high school band, but there are no clues about his performance at the Tuscan Lodge (p. 33). I visited the building where Davis performed just days before the structure was completely destroyed. From the outside, the abandoned red brick building ← 113 | 114 → provided virtually no clues about...

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