Saturday, June 23, 2007

Performance as thesis

How to write a thesis, early days yet since the data isnt collected but the ethics application is left loose enough so I am not tied only to written format.
John Law talked of one submitted in a suitcase (I can see Terry shaking his head at that one)!
But I am still concerned that the audiences for whom it is important may be alienated by thesis prose.
Some people still consider the thesis a selfish act written for the writer, and the markers, I like to think it may have greater interest.
Ann Marie Mol take on ANT, and as reminded by cj, research is a performance in its own right. But so is its reading (you never read the same book twice...or as Latour suggests you never swim the same river twice).
This piece that i got from chasing other peoples clouds
( I <3 web 2.0 )

From an interview (his last) Kurt Vonnegut:
...the novel has always been an elitist art form. It’s an art form for very few people, because only a few can read very well.
I’ve said that to open a novel is to arrive in a music hall and be handed a viola. You have to perform. [Laughs.]
To stare at horizontal lines of phonetic symbols and Arabic numbers and to be able to put a show on in your head, it requires the reader to perform. If you can do it, you can go whaling in the South Pacific with Herman Melville, or you can watch Madame Bovary make a mess of her life in Paris...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Computer mediated communications in counselling

An ANT informed analysis.
I hadn't got much further with my study but had reason to reread some Ann Marie Mol from the Body Multiple as well as an earlier piece of her writing Ontological Politics.
Their are areas that caught my attention (again).
1. Its too simplistic to consider that communications and computer technologies are good or bad in mediating counselling; that we can have txt messaging counselling, email counselling, message board postings... all purporting counselling is not able to be answered in terms of right or wrong. Just as other counselling could be brief or prolonged, take one form or another, Freudian, Rogerian , CBT etc. The issues are simplified to the point of being ridiculous when considered in terms of good or bad. The 'gold standard' by which face to face is used as a comparison to CCT mediated counselling is too complex as what f2f comprised of could be a miriad of things, and so can CCT mediated counselling...
So, back to Mol, who says that thicker questions evolve where practice is forgrounded, rather than is the intervention effective- what effects does this intervention have.

2. What was at stake (considered) when a decision between alternative performances was made?
The notion of choice in deciding between alternate performances presupposes an actor who actively choses, while potential actors may be inextricably linked up with how they are enacted.
Is there choice? Or is there a rut being made that establishes patterns inside of which, what's established, what's current, becomes 'the' way.
In studying the practice, laying open practice, the process is not neutral as opening up practice gives space to arenas where attention is currently less focused, and provides voice on what else is going on.

As Law suggests in After method.Mess in social science research, simple clear descriptions do not work well when the stuff itself is incoherent. The attempt to be clear, increases the mess.

I was hopeful that once I got through the messiness of an ethics application that a clearer path would lie in front of me...rereading Mol and John Law has soothed me somewhat, that it was/is messy maybe should be the norm! Nonetheless I am sure that a messy ethics application wont be appreciated by those who read such things...back to simplifying the complex...and back to - Reassembling the Social, by Latour, something to read while the ethics committee deliberates.