Dr Heather Elliot, Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education
Storying Mothering Online
Tuesday 3rd May 2016, 5 – 6.30pm
The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit
27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA
All welcome, particularly graduate students.
This paper considers how mothering and family life is storied online. It considers what is new (if anything) about the work.
The phenomenon of ‘mummyblogging’ has emerged as a means of documenting and sharing mothering practices and families’ lives, and of developing communities of interest as well as commercial opportunities.
It has been argued that the blogosphere has provided space for collective writing about mothering and support but also a resurgence in repressive and narrow ideas about how women mother. Women who blog about mothering are more likely than other bloggers to disclose personal information: indeed such disclosure is valued as a marker of ‘authenticity’, building credibility among online mothering communities and enhancing marketability. These new ways of making mothering public are in line with recent trends towards confessional writing about motherhood.
Drawing on narrative case studies involving analyses of blog posts and interviews with bloggers I consider the dilemmas bloggers face in telling stories about themselves and their family, particularly their children in public.
Taking a doubled look at ethics of public representation, I discuss my own dilemmas in working ‘beyond anonymization’, turning blogs into research data, illustrating the impossibility of ever knowing what is at stake for the teller, even in apparently innocuous online stories.
Dr Heather Elliott is a researcher at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, at UCL’s Institute of Education. She has interests in the psycho-social, narrative, mothering and work and in children’s imaginaries. Recent publications include:
Elliott, H and Squire, C (2016, forthcoming) ‘Narratives of normativity, transgression and reformulation: How mothers’ blogs frame mothering, family and food in resource constrained times’ Forum for Qualitative Researchas part of Special Issue on ‘Narrative Media and Ways of Knowing’ (Elliott, H and Squire, C (eds)).
Brannen, J.; Elliott, H. and Phoenix, A. (2016) ‘Narratives of success among Irish and African Caribbean migrants’ Ethnic and Racial Studies.
Her novel, Paradise Rocks, has been longlisted for the Times/Chickenhouse prize for children’s fiction.
For further details please contact Corinne Squire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Details are also on the CNR website
Intersections of storytelling, experientiality and cultural memory
December, 14, 2-4pm
Room SD.1.23, Docklands Campus, UEL
Narrative Hermeneutics: Storytelling, Experience and Memory
In this talk, I explore narrative hermeneutics as an approach that emphasizes the interpretative structure of storytelling, experience and memory. In contrast to the tradition that links interpretation to the idea of unveiling deep, hidden meanings, I argue for seeing interpretation as an activity of sense-making that has a performative dimension: it is not just about representing the world but takes part in constructing, shaping, and transforming intersubjective reality. Acknowledging the interpretative structure of narrative and experience allows us to understand their interrelation in such a way that neither posits a hierarchical dichotomy between them nor identifies them with each other. Narrative hermeneutics provides a framework for articulating life as a constant process of narrative reinterpretation rather than as one coherent narrative, and for a non-reductive, dialogical way of conceptualizing the relation between cultural narrative webs and individual subjects. Against the backdrop of narrative hermeneutics, I envision a narrative ethics that acknowledges the ethical complexity of narratives as cultural practices of making sense of the past, present, and future: instead of seeing narrative as inherently “good” or “bad” for us, it is crucial to address both how certain cultural narratives reinforce oppressive social structures and the potential of certain storytelling practices to enlarge the space of possibilities in which we can act, think, and re-imagine the world together with others.
Hanna Meretoja is Professor of Comparative Literature, Director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory at the University of Turku (Finland), and the leader of the research project “Ethics of Storytelling and the Experience of History in Contemporary Arts” (Emil Aaltonen Foundation, 2013-16). Her research interests include narrative studies, cultural memory studies, narrative hermeneutics, and the interrelations between literature, philosophy and history. Her most recent publications include The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory: The Crisis and Return of Storytelling from Robbe-Grillet to Tournier (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), “Narrative and Human Existence: Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics” (New Literary History, 45:1, 2014) and Values of Literature (co-edited, Brill Rodopi, 2015).
Biography, Gender and History: Nordic Perspectives
Historical biography is an old practice with a strong but often debated relation with history as an academic discipline. In the 20th century, in particular during the post-World War II period, academic historians did not generally see biography as a form of writing ‘real’ history or perceive it as an appropriate field of historical research. As a result, biography remained under-theorized, even marginalized until in recent years. This renewed interest in biography is strongly related to and intersects with microhistory, gender history, history of everyday life and the new history from below, all of which question the grand narratives of history and emphasize the individual, in particular “ordinary” people, and their experiences in society.
The Nordic countries are no exception in this “biographical turn”, as this renewed interest has been called. In my presentation, I will illuminate our project concerning the methodology and theory of biographical research that we have been working with together with my Nordic colleagues during the past few years. Its objective is to strengthen the relationship between history and biography by demonstrating the various ways of doing biography as a method of historical analysis from a particular gender perspective. I will also talk about my own research related to this field concerning the use of the concept of relational identity. In a biographical work on a Finnish 19th century woman I will analyse the ways individuals are remembered in their close family relations and ask how we could as biographers make use of the varied and often also contradictory textual and visual material produced on past persons. The aim will be to question the idea of a coherent life-story, “a life as a given entity” and ask how we could approach the past persons in a way that would allow many voices and contradictions.
Maarit Leskelä-Kärki works as a University Lecturer at the Deparment of Cultural History at the University of Turku and is the Vice Director of SELMA. She works on several research and book projects concerning cultural history of women’s writing, autobiographical sources and life-narratives as well as biographical research. Her most recent articles include “Cercanos y distantes. La relacionalidad en la investigación biográfica” in Isabel Burdiel and Roy Foster (Eds.): La historia biográfica en Europa: Nuevas perspectivas (Zaragoza: Institución Fernando el Católico, 2015) and ”Histories of women, histories of nation: Biographical writing as women’s tradition in Finland, 1880s-1920s” in Women telling nations. Eds. by Amelia Santz & Suzan van Dijk & Francesca Scott (Series Women Writers in History, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014).
Greetings from SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory
Hanna Meretoja and Maarit Leskelä-Kärki
We will conclude by providing a short overview of the activities of the new research centre SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory, located at the School of History, Culture and Arts Studies at the University of Turku (Finland). Established in June 2015, SELMA is an interdisciplinary and international research centre that combines historical and theoretical perspectives to the study of the interconnections between storytelling, experientiality and cultural memory. It coordinates research collaboration and organizes research events, including both theoretical-methodological symposia and public engagement events based on the interaction between the arts and the sciences. For further information on SELMA, see https://selmacentre.wordpress.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SELMA-Centre-for-the-Study-of-Storytelling-Experientiality-and-Memory-1120037781346641/.
TCRU-CNR Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminar
Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, and Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
Gathering and analysing the life stories of identical twins
Mvikeli Ncube, University of East London
Tuesday 1st December 2015
5 – 6.30pm
The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27 – 28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA
This paper will describe the background for this study of identical twins’ talk about their lives, by a brief address to psychological and cultural representations of twins. I will suggest that twins are
different in the way they speak about themselves, compared to what is shown in the contexts where twins are most represented, particularly the psychological literature and their representations in
cultural texts. Both representations reinforce conventional stereotypes about twins, thereby serving as ‘misrepresentations’ of twins. The paper will then move on to role of life stories in the process of conducting this study, and the themes, often emerging in narrative forms, that came out of the study, centred on couples, identities, and being misunderstood. The paper will conclude by showing how twins’ representations of themselves and their relationships work continuously to undermine dominant representations of ‘individual subjects’, both directly, by posing twins against ‘individuals’, and less directly, by articulating themes around ‘similarity’ and ‘the couple’. Finally the paper will explore how a narrative analysis could have been applied to the life stories I used in this study.
Mvikeli Ncube is a final year PhD student at the University of East London. He gained a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2011 before going on to do a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University, later transferring to the University of East London. His doctoral thesis explores the accounts of the experiences of identical twins using social constructionist approaches. Mvikeli has published an article titled: ‘Cultural representations and narratives of identical twins’ in UEL Annual Year Book. He is currently working on two other papers for publication, ‘A critical review: The History of Psychological Research on Twins’ and ‘Romantic Couples as a Metaphor in Identical Twins’ Accounts of their Lives’.
For further details contact Corinne Squire (email@example.com)
Details are also on the CNR website http://www.uel.ac.uk/cnr/home.htm
Thinking with Whitehead
November 30th, 2-4pm, Room EB.1.105, Docklands Campus, UEL
Exploring social media with Whitehead
Darren Ellis, Psychosocial Studies, UEL
In this paper, notions of ‘personal information’ and ‘affect’ related expressions related to social media use are considered. Concepts from Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy (1929), namely ‘prehension’, ‘concrescence’ and ‘actual occasions/entities’ are drawn upon to facilitate an analysis of interview data concerned with every-day social media use. Through the use of ‘a process philosophy attitude’, it is argued that personal information is ironically often prehended as impersonal due, in part, to its marketisation, whilst emoticons may be prehended as more personal, they tend to be used to strip away affect related dynamics of everyday social activity. These processes are related to the multiple desires associated with social media, to simplify complexity and qualify actual occasions.
Darren Ellis (BA, PhD) is a senior lecturer and programme leader of Psychosocial Studies at UEL. His research is concerned with theorizing emotion and affect in a number of contexts. These include theorizing reasonable suspicion within police stop and search practices, critiquing models the emotional disclosure paradigm, analyzing trust and the affective atmospheres of surveillance, and more recently exploring social media and affective activity.
Understanding Events: The Seamstresses’ ‘little brochure’
Maria Tamboukou, Centre for Narrative Research, UEL
In this paper I look at how I deployed concepts from Whitehead’s process philosophy in my archival research for the book Sewing, Fighting and Writing: Radical Pracices in Work, Politics and Culture. I particularly consider the notion of the event as a way of understanding ‘ephemeral’ political events, such as the publication of the first autonomous feminist newspaper in France written, edited and published by the revolutionary seamstresses who were involved in the romantic socialist movements of nineteenth century Europe. In doing this I also consider epistemological questions around the trace in the archive and point to the importance of studying the life of documents in narrative research.
Maria Tamboukou (BA, MA, PhD) is Professor of Feminist Studies and co-director of CNR at UEL. Her research activity develops in the areas of critical feminisms, auto/biographical narratives and studies in neo-materialism. Writing feminist genealogies is the central focus of her work.
The event is followed by the launch of two books by CNR members:
Maria’s new book, Sewing, Fighting and Writing: The Book Archive by Rowman and Littlefield https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781783482443/Sewing-Fighting-and-Writing-Radical-Practices-in-Work-Politics-and-Culture
(To celebrate the launch the publishers Rowman and Littlefield are offering a generous 30% discount on Maria’s book citing the code: RLI067)
and Darren Ellis and Ian Tucker: Social psychology of emotion, by Sage
Working with narratives beyond the text:
Sound and process
London Social Sciences, Goldsmiths’ and Queen Mary University London with the Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London.
Friday November 13, 2015
St. James Hatcham 302, Goldsmiths’, University of London
10.00-10.30: Registrations and coffee
10.30-11.00: Corinne Squire, Introduction: Narratives across media
11.00-12.30: Linda Sandino, The voice and the text in narrative research: Presentation and workshop
1.30-3.00: Cigdem Esin, Analysing processual and relational self-narratives: an approach using multiple narrative modalities: presentation and workshop
3.00-3.30: Tea, with general discussion
Abstracts and biographical notes
Dr. Corinne Squire, co-director, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
Introduction: Narratives across and between media
To initiate the day’s discussion of ‘narratives beyond the text’, this Introduction gives an overview of some recent work on narratives across media, and on the possibilities such work opens up for narrative research.
BUTLER, J. (2005). Giving an account of oneself. Bronx, NY: Fordham University Press.
DOMINGO, M., KRESS, G., O’CONNELL, R., ELLIOTT, H., SQUIRE, C., JEWITT, C. AND ADAMI, E. (2014). Development of methodologies for researching online. NCRM eprint: http://eprints.ncrm.ac.uk/3704/
HEAVEY, E. (2015). Narrative bodies, embodied narratives. In A. de Fina & A. Georgakopoulou (eds.)The Handbook of Narrative Analysis.Wiley-Blackwell. HERMAN, D. (2013). Approaches to narrative worldmaking. In M. Andrews, C.Squire and M. Tamboukou (eds) Doing narrative research. London: Sage.
HYDEN, L-C. (2013). Bodies, embodiment and stories. In M. Andrews, C.Squire and M. Tamboukou (eds) Doing narrative research. London: Sage.
RYAN, M-L. (2004) Narratives across media. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press
SEALE, C. (2004). Resurrective practice and narrative. In M.Andrews, S.D.Sclater, C.Squire and A. Treacher (eds) The uses of narrative research.
Dr Linda Sandino, CCW UAL Senior Research Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum.
The Voice and the Text in Narrative Research.
This session will explore the distinctive qualities of the recorded voice and the transcript in narrative research. Despite the increasing accessibility of recorded sound with online academic journals that enable audio content, the transcript is still, nevertheless, the standard representation of an interview and its stories. What, if anything is lost in the translation from orality to the written text? What are the problems in privileging one over the other? Is the voice a more ‘authentic’ conduit to the ‘truth’ of the narrative? In order to examine these questions, I will draw on my current research on life history recordings at the V&A, which will also form the basis for the workshop.
CONNOR, S. (2004) Sound and the Self. IN SMITH, M. M. (Ed.) Hearing 244
History: a Reader. Athens GA and London, University of Georgia Press.
PORTELLI, A. (1994) The Text and the Voice: Writing, Speaking, and Democracy in American Literature, New York, Columbia University Press.
SCOTT, J. W. (1991) The Evidence of Experience. Critical Inquiry 17, 773-797.
STERNE, J. (2003) The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction,
Durham and London, Duke University Press.
Dr Cigdem Esin, Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
Analysing processual and relational self-narratives: an approach using multiple narrative modalities
This session will explore the analytical possibilities that a narrative methodological approach, which focuses on the process bringing together multiple narrative modalities (visual, spoken, interactional), could offer to qualitative researchers. Drawing on the arguments on co-construction of narratives, dialogic-performative narrative space, processual and relational construction of individual narratives and narrative imagination, I will discuss how this approach could be used to gain insights into the ways in which life narratives are constructed and performed within specific contexts. Based on the material from our research with a small group of young women in East London, the workshop will provide a space for the participants to explore multiple narratives so as to construct their mini analysis.
Andrews, Molly (2014). Introduction to Narrative Imagination and Everyday Life Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Davies, Bronwyn & Harré, Rom (1990). Positioning: The discursive construction of selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 20, 43-63.
Esin, Cigdem & Squire, Corinne (2013). Visual Autobiographies in East London: Narratives of Still Images, Interpersonal Exchanges, and Intrapersonal Dialogues [49 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(2), Art. 1, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs130214.
Phoenix, Anne (2013). Analysing narrative contexts. In Andrews, Molly, Squire, Corinne & Tamboukou, Maria (Eds.), Doing narrative research (pp.72-87). London: Sage. Somers, M.R. (1994). ‘The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach’. Theory and Society, 23, pp. 605-64 Tamboukou, Maria (2008) Re-imagining the narratable subject. Qualitative Research, 8(3), 283-292.
CNR-TCRU Postgraduate Narrative Research Seminars, 2015-2016
Organised by the Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
and the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education
Anna Hall, Department of Social Work, University of Gothenberg
The multiplicities of prostitution experience – narratives about power and resistance.
Tuesday October 6, 2015, 5-6.30pm
The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, 27-28 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA,
All welcome, particularly graduate students.
My research is situated within the field of feminist narrative studies and involves twenty women’s personal narratives about their prostitution experience. The structure/agency duality is central in prostitution research. Research is often criticized for either/or analyses, focusing either on the structural forces traversing the field or on the agency of individuals involved in prostitution. My PhD thesis aimed to produce an analysis sensitive to both the structural and the agentic aspects of prostitution experience and to shift the focus from what prostitution is (work or violence, empowerment or exploitation), the topic of most prostitution debate, to how prostitution operates. That is, how power relations, knowledges, discourses and practices interconnect in making particular forms of prostitution and particular ways of making sense of prostitution experience possible. With a genealogical approach to narrative analysis narratives are analyzed both as technologies of power and as technologies of the self. An understanding of narratives as both technologies of the self and technologies of power stipulates that although subjects live and construct stories about themselves, stories also live and construct subjects. The participants are both the object and the subject of discourse. In my presentation I will discuss how the research participants were produced as particular subjects of their experience, how they both drew on and positioned themselves against dominant narratives about prostitution, as well as the different tactics that they employed in order to negotiate, resist and destabilize power within the institution of prostitution. Anna Hall is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Social work, University of Gothenburg. Before pursuing her PhD she worked as a counselor and outreach worker at an agency providing services for people working in the sex industry. Her research interests include gender, sexuality and critical social work, the politics of prostitution, Foucauldian analytics, the sociology of emotions and narratives of the self. She is currently on parental leave. Publications Hulusjö, A. 2013. The multiplicities of prostitution experience: narratives about power and resistance. Malmö University. Hulusjö, A. 2013. A critical perspective on difference: ‘the prostitute’ and women with prostitution experience. Nordic Social Work Research, 3(2), pp 176-184. For further details contact Corinne Squire (firstname.lastname@example.org) Details are also on the CNR website: http://www.uel.ac.uk/cnr/home.htm
Prospective reflection using ‘Letters from the Future’: the Storylab experience
Dr. Anneke Sools, University of Twente
2-5pm, Thursday 30th April, Seminar Room 2 (Ground Floor)
Tavistock Centre, 120 Belsize Lane, London NW3 5BA http://www.tavistockandportman.nhs.uk/about-us/about-website/how-find-us/tavistock-centre
The Family Therapy and Systemic Research Centre at the Tavistock Centre, and the Centre for Narrative Research at the University of East London, are pleased to announce a workshop and presentation on prospective reflection using ‘Letters from the future’, a technology developed by Dr. Anneke Sools and colleagues at the Dutch Life Story Lab at the University of Twente. http://lifestorylab.levensverhalenlab.nl/site/Life%20stories/Life%20stories/
To book attendance, please register on the Eventbrite page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prospective-reflection-using-letters-from-the-future-tickets-16368675148
2-3:30 Letter-writing and sharing workshop 3:30 – 4:00 coffee / tea from the cafe 4:00- 5:00 Lecture
Dr Anneke Sools is Assistant Professor of Narrative Psychology at Twente University. She has published widely, particularly on narrative health psychology. She is one of the founders of the Dutch Life Story Lab. Her main interest is in everyday storytelling. In her PhD research, she studied stories of the Dutch and Moroccan elderly in the Netherlands. http://www.utwente.nl/bms/pgt/en/emp/sools/
THE POLITICS OF SEXUAL NARRATIVES
Friday, 1st May 14:00-17:00
University of East London,
Cigdem Esin, University of East London
Moments of Sexual Storytelling: Negotiating Contradictory Positions
Mark Davis, Monash University
Gay men’s narratives on hook-up apps and the loss of community debate
Suzanna Walters, Northeaster University
The Closet 2.0: coming out in the age of gay marriage, born this way, and other bad ideas”
Reception to follow
Cigdem Esin, University of East London
Moments of Sexual Storytelling: Negotiating Contradictory Positions
Intimate sexual stories always reflect historical, cultural and social processes, interconnecting the micro and the macro in multiple ways. This was particularly evident in research I conducted with educated young women in Turkey. Following a Foucaldian approach to understanding narratives, my analysis explores the multiple interrelations between micro stories of sexuality and macro narratives of Turkish modernity constantly shaping regulations of gender and sexuality. The complexity of macro and local processes of power embedded in women’s everyday lives emerges in the stories of participants. While constructing their individual narratives, participants strategically inhabited multiple narrative positions and moved between these positions, as subjects simultaneously escaping from and trapped within the regulations that constitute their sexuality and personal relations.
My analysis examines moments of sexual narratives and storytelling, which constitute a discursive space for the research participants-storytellers to negotiate precarious and contradictory positions regarding their sexuality. Here I trace the ways in which storytellers craft new forms of political subjectivities through their micro narratives, resisting the dominance of macro narratives while at the same time reiterating them in strategic ways.
Cigdem Esin is a narrative researcher who is interested in narrative processes wherein individual stories emerge through the interconnections between micro and macro narratives. She is co-director of Centre for Narratives Research and lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London.
Gay men’s narratives on hook-up apps and the loss of community debate
Hook-up websites and apps are said to be transforming the sexual lives of gay men and have been linked with debates on the apparent erosion of collective practice as the basis for gay identity politics. In an interview on HIV prevention, a health promotion worker related a story of gay sexual life in a region of Australia where there are no commercial venues for gay men. In combination with mobile phone apps enabled with GPS, a local supermarket had acquired a reputation as a place to meet potential sexual partners. In other research1, an interview participant likened their Grindr (a hook-up app) enabled phone to a “gay bar in my pocket.” How can a supermarket, actually or by reputation, become a sexual hook-up venue? How has the gay bar become a smartphone app? What do these developments portend for gay collectivities?
With reference to the interview and focus group talk of gay men on hook-up apps, this paper explores narratives on the spaces and visibilities of sexual life in the era of digital media. It addresses self- and other-commodification, changed obligations, and the digital mediation of (non) stranger identities in connection with the debates on digital media and the possibilities for gay identity and collective life.
1Blackwell, C., Birnholtz, J. and Abbott, C. (published online 7 February 2014) Seeing and being seen: Co-situation and impression formation using Grindr, a location-aware gay dating app, New Media & Society.
Mark Davis is Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Monash University. His publications include Sex, Technology and Public Health (Palgrave), HIV treatment and prevention technologies in international context (Palgrave), edited with Corinne Squire and Disclosure in Health and Illness (Routledge), edited with Lenore Manderson.
Suzanna Walters The Closet 2.0: coming out in the age of gay marriage, born this way, and other bad ideas”
Drawing on my recent book, The Tolerance Trap: how God, Genes, and Good Intentions are Sabotaging Gay Equality, this talk examines the mythology of a happy-go-lucky, post-gay, rainbow world in which coming out and the closet itself are imagined as relics of a surpassed past. But how has the coming out narrative changed in an era of gay marriage and a modicum of social inclusion? Are older stories recycled or triumphantly tossed aside? And what does it mean to speak the sexual self when the mantra of “born this way” is the party line of liberal allies and gay activists alike?
Suzanna Danuta Walters is Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Northeastern University where she also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the feminist journal Signs. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Tolerance Trap and All the Rage: the story of gay visibility in America.
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Narrative Analysis of Varied Everyday Lives
Novella workshop Monday 30 March 2015
The National Centre for Research Methods research node Novella (Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Approaches) has been centrally concerned to examine the everyday and engage with ways of analysing it. To that end, it has focused on the everyday in the five projects that have constituted its research focus and brought together researchers from the UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden and the USA to share reflections and analytic practices.
In this focus, Novella has drawn on the many theorisations of the everyday that have been developed over the last few decades, including practice theory and family practices. A focus on narratives has been at the heart of Novella attempts to capture the mundane, the routinized and the habitual together with the ways in which the past, present and future are key elements of social relations, practices and social change. The conferences and workshops co-convened between Novella and the UEL Centre for Narrative Research have included ‘living with the cuts’ and meaning making through narratives of everyday objects and photographs. As the site where the psychological and the social intersect, the everyday is a complex topic for inquiry that requires examining and understanding the links between society and human agency. A recent call for papers on the Sociology of the Everyday for the journal Sociology expresses the importance of studying everyday life: ‘it is evident that the micro, ordinary, banal and the familiar constitute, and are constitutive, of the wider complexities, structures and processes of the contemporary social world.’
In this final Novella workshop, some of the Novella researchers will briefly present the ways in which they engage with everyday narratives in their research, including the following: how narrative imagination makes particular futures possible; narrative accounts of fatherhood identities and practices; narratives of migration and transnational childhoods; and blog narratives of motherhood and feeding families.
Presentations will be interspersed with data analysis groups where attenders will discuss their own materials with other researchers.
Time: 11am-4pm; Place: Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, 27 Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AA
Attendance is free, but numbers are limited for this workshop, so please respond as soon as possible by emailing Tracy Modha: email@example.com
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.
University of East London, University Square Stratford, 29th April 2015
The Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London & NOVELLA at the UCL Institute of Education
The Centre for Narrative Research (CNR), in collaboration with NOVELLA (Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Approaches), organise the annual Research Day for postgraduate researchers on 29th April 2015<x-apple-data-detectors://6>, at the University of East London.
This year, we invite papers focusing on narrative analytical models in the process, discussing and reflecting on applications of the analytical models, and decisions at any stage of analysis. The narrative analytical models refer to both broader epistemological approaches to analysing narratives and specific narrative models of analysis.
We are also interested in critical reflections on a challenge which postgraduate researchers tackle while using a particular analytical model, and the researcher’s strategies for getting past the challenge.
This is a call for papers for all postgraduate researchers. Participants can contribute with a paper (15-30 minutes long) or a poster. Please send an abstract (150-200 words) to Cigdem Esin, C.firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:C.email@example.com> by 10th March, 2015<x-apple-data-detectors://8>. Applicants will hear back from us by 16th March, 2015<x-apple-data-detectors://9>.
We look forward to meeting participants from all over the UK and Europe for a friendly and productive day of presentations and discussions, as we did over the past years. To ‘Think is to Experiment’ has been a narrative space for postgraduate researchers from various disciplines for fourteen years. The event has been home to stimulating presentations and intense conversations on the multiplicities in narrative-based research, approaches and experiences. The programme and abstracts from previous years can be viewed on this link https://www.uel.ac.uk/cnr/seminar/experiment/Please note that this is a free event but places are limited.
All best wishes,
CNR teamCentre for Narrative Research
http://www.uel.ac.uk/cnr/Narratives of varied everyday lives and linked approaches (NOVELLA)
Below are listed a range of talks, symposia, conference panels and conferences being organised by the Centre for Narrative Research for the coming few months. All are welcome to attend!
CNR Research Seminar Series
Talks are held at Docklands campus of University of East London
Monday 9 February
Fellowship of Controversy: Narratives of Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park
Laura Mitchison and Rosa Vibr
Speakers’ Corner is a geographical place, a traditional practice and a symbol of free speech. Our project, Sounds from the Park, revealed that it is also an eccentric community of interest, sustained through memory. Of the 100 open-air oratory sites established in London between 1855 and 1939, Hyde Park is the only survivor. It is often depicted as a vanishing relic of authentic communication, whose importance has been superseded by new technologies. We will interrogate the opposition between the real and the recorded, and the narrative of decline.
First, we will explore the different types of memory operating in situ. Orators and hecklers learn their craft from observing veterans in the flesh; regulars conjure up colourful characters from the past through gesture and storytelling. But these “incorporating practices (Connerton, 1989)” have always been refracted through “inscribing practices (Connerton, 1989):” records of hanged men’s last speeches, books, photographs and, more recently, YouTube and Wikipedia.
Second, we will explore Speakers’ Corner’s significance within the variegated life histories of orators, hecklers, discussants and observers. It is “an open air lunatic asylum”, “an intensely political forum,” “a bare knuckle fight”, “an old time variety show” and much more besides. Somehow, these disparate meanings and individuals coexist in what pacifist stalwart Donald Soper called “the fellowship of controversy.” Third, we will reflect on our project’s impact on the living community at Speakers’ Corner. We convened a rambunctious steering group of Hyde Parkers throughout, creating a new dialogical space to debate the past and the future.
On the Record is an oral history and cultural memory cooperative run by Laura Mitchison and Rosa Vilbr. We run participatory projects, often tied into contemporary social justice campaigns, and train people in oral history and digital story telling. We also make exhibitions, radio, publications, websites and sound walks.
Tues March 10
12-1, EB 1.45
Genealogy, counter-history, and liberal/neoliberal social policy.
The presentation will draw from Francesca Ashurst and my study of the relationship between school exclusion and inequality and poverty from the present to the emergence of liberal governmentality in England in early 19th century. The study – Inequality, Poverty, and Education. A Political Economy of School Exclusion (2014) – uses a genealogical approach based on archival research to construct a different narrative of the tensions within liberalism and the discourse of political economy to foreground the political struggles and values at stake in the story of the shifts in educational policy over that period. One pay-off of the research has been a clearer view of what neoliberalism breaks with in abandoning the principles underlying the welfare or providential state, and the calculations which have motivated this break.
Prof Couze Venn is at Goldsmiths University of London, at the Centre for Cultural Studies. His publications include Changing the Subject (co-authored, 1984, 1998), Occidentalism: Modernity and Subjectivity (2000), The Postcolonial Challenge (2006), and numerous journal articles, including in Theory, Culture & Society and Body & Society, for which he in Managing Editor (TCS) and Reviews Editor. His current research is Protocols for a Postcapitalist World.
CNR-NOVELLA postgraduate research seminars, Spring 2015
All seminars take place at the Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, 27-8 Woburn Square, London WC1HOAA, 5-.6.30pm, except where marked.
February 3- Desiree Saddik, University of Essex and UEL, Narratives of expert witnesses.
March 3 – Anna-Lisa Fransson, Orebro University, The power of storytelling. Silence, frame-contraction and happy ending in Swedish Baltic Sea gas pipeline narration.
Marach 31- Irene Madina, Deusto University, Bilbao, Emotional education through narratives about the Basque conflict: a critical understanding of political violence. (rescheduled: tbc)
May 5 – Sue Chowdhry, Robert Gordon University, ‘They know best’: exploring larger women’s embodied experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.
June 2 – Anna Hulusjo, Malmo University, Narrating prostitution experience.
For further details, please email Corinne Squire: firstname.lastname@example.org
CNR-NOVELLA Special Event at the BSA Conference, Glasgow Caledonian University,
Narrative technologies of intimacy in transition
Corinne Squire, CNR, UEL, and Mark Davis, Monash University:
15/04/2015 at 11:00 – 12:30
This panel addresses transition and related questions of progression and regression in connection with narrative technologies of intimacy – interpersonal stories about previously ‘private’ issues, and various forms of online, ‘personal’ narratives – that are now being deployed to negotiate the fields of gender, sexuality, and parenting. We thus focus on how technologies of personal lives, in reinventing themselves, both reproduce and depart from earlier modes of governing subjects. These processes have regressive as well as progressive aspects; they position personal lives and the technologies that perform them as socially transitional, often precarious. In this panel, we turn to narratives, technologies that perform intimacy at a number of levels, to understand better the technologies of intimacy in transition. Papers address stories about the previously privatised field of sexuality among Turkish women, and the stories’ relation to ‘modernity’; Moroccan women’s groups’ use of the internet as a technology of modernity, and how such online presence supports narrative identities; women’s deployment of the ‘anecdote’, both personal and highly worked, within blogs on mothering and feeding families, to explore problematic aspects of family lives; and mothers’ negotiation of parenting through the contested, co-constructed narratives of the Mumsnet web forum. The panel examines how these new narrative intimacy technologies produce, in the contemporary socioeconomic context, ‘transitional’ spaces, less of regression or progress, more of uncertainty and collectivity.
This panel is linked with another, ‘Sexual health technologies in transition’,coordinated by Mark Davis and Corinne Squire, which addresses new diagnostic, pharmaceutical and digital technologies now being deployed to control the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, on 17 April, 15.15-16.45.
Presenters for the first panel are:
Cigdem Esin, CNR, UEL: Looking into the moments of resistance in sexual narratives.
Aura Lounasmaa, CNR, UEL: Whose narrative is it anyway? Online activism and sexual politics in Morocco.
Heather Elliott, NOVELLA, Institute of Education, Rebecca O’Connell, NOVELLA, Institute of Education, and Corinne Squire, CNR/NOVELLA, UEL: Recipes for mothering? intimacy, anecdotes and publics in mothers’ blogs about feeding families.
Joe Winter, NOVELLA, Institute of Education: Negotiating parenting identities through the practice of using a popular online parenting forum.
To think is to Experiment
29 April, details tba
30 April, Joint CNR and Tavistock Centre for Systemic Research event: Anneke Sools, University of Twente: Building resilience by imagining the future.
Symposium: Politicising Sexual Stories
1st May 2015, time: 2-5; venue: Stratford Campus USS 1.01
February 3, 2015: Graduate Seminars in Narrative
The NOVELLA ESRC Research Node, Institute of Education and
The Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London
A narrative study of how expert witnesses arrive at an opinion for court: child psychiatrists who provide expert testimony in the family courts.
Desirée Saddik, University of Essex
Tuesday February 3rd, 5.00-6.30
The Library, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, 27-8 Woburn Square, London WC1H OAA
This paper examines expert witnesses’ narratives about arriving at an opinion for court.Expert witness evidence has been admitted by UK courts since Saxon times (Blom-Cooper, 2003). The activity of experts has been likened to pursuits of stargazing and alchemy (Bull, Kovera and McAuliff 2000) and remains controversial (Ministry of Justice 2011a and b) with a limited trail of inadequate research (Kapardis 2010). The main aim of this presentation is to identify and co-construct narrative themes from talking to expert witnesses about their activity.
Six highly experienced child psychiatry expert witnesses practicing in the UK were interviewed by a consultant child clinical psychologist expert witness. Talk generated was transcribed and written transcriptions were analysed. First and second order narrative analyses were constructed and applied. The narrative thematic analysis identified credibility, dialogical and meta-dialogical narrative themes.
Through their narratives, experts perform the credibility of their opinions. The expert’s opinion emerges out of many dialogical experiences, including one with the evolving dialogical self. Scepticism narratives, including the capacity to doubt and keep an open mind are core ontological narratives – that allow conflicting narratives to co-exist – with meta-dialogical status. Rereading of transcripts, and the case studies and metaphor narrative gestalts embedded, offered the reader-researcher an enriched experience of the text, beyond the scope of the professional narratives identified.
Expert witness activity was found to be a complex dialogical activity, likened to Aristotelian and Socratic reasoning, hermeneutic reading of text and the processes of the intuitive scientific man. The methodology can inform future narrative decision-making research. Reflections on the evolving nature of the expert in the current combative climate will be shared. It is hoped that the findings generate further dialogue by experts and court players alike about the nature of their activity and contribution to the lives of others.
Desirée Saddik works as a lead child adolescent and family clinical psychologist within the NHS and in private practice as an expert witness. She has a background in psychology, philosophy, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy training. In her capacity as an ‘expert witness’ she has worked with families who find themselves in the hands of the family court, and with asylum seekers and others who have experienced trauma. The solitary experience of writing court reports, fuelled a curiosity to dialogue with other experts, in particular ‘elite” child psychiatrists active in the local London courts. A doctoral thesis, ‘A narrative study of how expert witnesses arrive at an opinion for court’, completed in 2014, analyses the narratives arising from these dialogues.