CHAWLA, GAURISH (2021) THE STORIES THAT I WROTE/ THE I THAT STORIES WROTE. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
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“It becomes ruthlessly apparent that unless we are able to speak and write in different voices there is no way to convey across borders, to speak to and with diverse communities” (bell hooks, p41, 1999).
This thesis is a compendium of stories of a few NHS workers and their everyday lives, the traumas they face, the feelings they sublimate and suppress and the impact they had on me; a heartfelt autoethnography (Ellis, 1999) of the I who interviewed them and got displaced in the process, and the theoretical constructs that underpin both these stories and the storyteller.
In my indigenous system of knowledge (Jnana Yoga), knowledge is tripartite. The first facet is that of the (hearing of the) subject: The Other from which we seek to learn and understand (in my case the interviewees). The second facet is that of (thinking) formulating theorisations that you hold true- the underpinning assumptions of the knowledge. The third facet is (meditation) the reflections upon the transformation of the I who is creating the knowledge, its beliefs, emotions and identities, and the shifts that occurred in the process of knowledge creation (see Rao and Paranjpe, 2016; Grimes, 1996, pp 98-99). The three occur together and form jnana (knowledge/wisdom). The work I present to you for my Doctoral examination is structured in the tradition of this trinity.
This thesis is organised in six sections.
In Contexts, I introduce this work and the intersections it inhabits: introducing themes such as Queer Writing, Prose Poetry and their place in Critical research.
In Theories and Definitions, I write of the world view I and this work have come to inhabit through the studies and meditations I have been through. This addresses themes of Ideology, Hermeneutics of Suspicion, Psychodynamics and a Marxist critique of it, Language and Trauma.
In Methods, I speak of the various I’s that inhabit me, as well as the processes of interviewing and that of knowledge production. The former is expressed through Heartful Autoethnographic (Ellis 1999) work, and the latter takes form of discussing Free Association Narrative Interviews (Hollway and Jefferson, 2008) and my method of interpretation/meaning creation. I also explain how I started from the latter and continued with the former.
In Seeing Comes Before Words (Berger, 2008), I write of the interview process viewed through psychodynamics- e.g. How the interviewees’ narrative exhibits Free Association, Repression and Defence Mechanisms and so on. I explain the decisions I made in this process of knowledge creation.
In Stories from Empirical Work/Brief Interviews with Non-Hideous Women/Men (Wallace, 2012), I write of the stories told to me by the interviewees. I spoke with seven people at length, and viewed our interactions through a psychodynamic lens. My interpretation of these interactions, a psychopathology of everyday working life, cover themes such as Power, Privilege, Politics, Oppression and Trauma, and the impacts of work on their selves. These are presented in stories of various length.
Once the knowledge is created, comes the question of form: what aesthetics convey this trinity of knowledge best. Rather than reduce the above themes to abstract, distant concepts, I connect with my own traumas, my own otherness to write of these in an evocative manner- my writing perhaps best described as “queer” (see Barker 2020), a hybrid of prose and prose poetry (see Heatherington and Atherton, 2020 or Poetry Foundation, 2021).Through my writing style, I attempt to evoke the same feelings in the reader as I felt during the process.
This work sits within the tradition of Critical Management Studies (Alvesson, Bridgman and Willmott, 2009). Sympathisers of Helen Johnson’s “Ten Incitements to Rebellion” (2021) will resonate with this work.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||Autoethnography, Evocative, Psychodynamics, Art Based Research, Poetic Enquiry, Lyric Enquiry, Authentic Dissertation|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||10 Apr 2022 17:33|