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Reading Hertz (1997) & reflecting on ‘my story’ chapter

Sunday, January 25th, 2009 @ 10:46 pm
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Posted in  Literature, My Writings, Personal Process

It is a few weeks now that i have been trying to write a chapter that i will place before the methodology one in my Thesis, where i present ‘my own story’ in relation to how it links to the PhD topic, given that i am very much ‘data’ of what i am researching and my lived experience of the inquiry is inevitably influencing all the stages of the research process, from chosing the topic itself to my interaction and meaning-making of the data and the writing style. I find this a difficult section to write, i start and stop and find myself facing numerous decisions around who am i writing what for, how far do i go with self-disclosure and what are the motives around that, what is relevant and what is not and so on. Also, i see a difficulty around my ‘moving between the past and the present in my experiencing and then having the immediacy of writing about various deep issues in the here-and-know which is affected by so many other details of my every day life at the moment…I am aware of trying to simultaneously allow myself to go inwards in order to find voice for processes of past and present and having to remain observant to both the ‘what’ and ‘how’ i write, whilst attempting to imagine how it may be received by the reader…the words don’t flow easily…my voice…so many questions around finding my voice and actually ‘speaking’ it in the ‘writing’. And then…the PhD clock ticking above my head…i constantly feel i need more time. I understand the purpose and necessity of deadlines and boundaries…but, when conducting such type of reseach, is that time pressue de-humanising us also to an extent? I need to feel free to process at my own time, if it is to do justice to both the quality of my writing this Thesis and my own well being.

I spent hours reading Hertz, R (1997) (ed.) Reflexivity & Voice. London: Sage today. She writes: “Voice has multiple dimensions: First, there is the voice of the author. Second, there is the presentation of the voices of one’s respondents within the text. A third dimension appears when the self is the subject of the inquiry” (p. xi). Given my personal involvement with the topic, where i could argue that to a great extent, this third dimension exists where  myself is the subject of the inquiry, i thought that it is wise, if not also a need, to express my own (as self and author) first, for my self and the reader to hear first, before being able to go bakc to my interview data analysis and attempt to write the voice of the participants in the findings chapter. And although that originaly felt like it would flow easily, of my chest, i find that my voice is withdrawing or that i do not feel satisfied when i see what i write on the text, as if the experience or emotion of it is not captured. I somehow feel inhibited, maybe due to the vulnerability that self-exposure provokes. And yet, i also feel that i can more or less overcome that because i believe in the power and impact that such writing has had on me when i have read such accounts of similar texts, as a reader myself. So, what it is that needs to take place in me now for the words to flow? How is that related to the heuristic process? …

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