Graduate Seminars in Narrative
The NOVELLA ESRC Research Node, Institute of Education and
The Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
Emotional education through narratives about the Basque conflict:
A critical understanding of political violence.
Irene Gantxegi. University of Deusto, Bilbao
Tuesday March 31st, 5.00-6.30
The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 27-8 Woburn Square, London WC1H OAA
Fiction narratives are closely related to ethics. Literature about social and historical conflict may play a role in fostering the development of moral emotions and of a critical understanding of political violence due to the process of “empathetic imagination”. This imagination allows the reader to connect deeply with the narratives and enables them to imagine other realities and ways of conceiving the world. In this paper I will present the methodological approach of my dissertation. My thesis examines the process of emotional education of citizens that unfolds in a book-club reading literature about the Basque conflict (1960 to present). The project aims to explore empirically the theoretical assumption which holds that the reading of narratives about the experience of victims (of the Basque conflict), can provoke certain emotions in the reader that, adequately developed through pedagogical reflection, can transform into moral sentiments that enable a critical understanding of the political violence. In order to collect data, I facilitated a book club meeting once a week for four months, time during which 12 participants read and discussed four novels about the Basque conflict. A pedagogical tool was thus developed to orient the process of narrative imagination and reflection. I will look at how those narratives spark and develop moral sentiments pertaining to the experiences of the victims of violence, and will then examine how those sentiments interplay with participants’ critical reflection about the Basque conflict. Data will be analysed drawing upon models of discursive psychology and critical inquiry. In this presentation, I aim to present a preliminary synthesis of the results of this experience. The analysis highlights the transformation in participants´ understanding of political violence.
Irene Gantxegi is a doctoral student at the University of Duesto, and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Narrative Research.