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The Beginning of the End?!

No, there is not an error on here. I really have not written on it for over two months. This is not some silly attempt to try and avoid work, but in fact the main reason for this is that I have been reading, and more importantly, writing my independent study. It’s my birthday today – but as it is Wednesday, I have decided to put it off until weekend. Instead I am spending my birthday writing on here and getting my independent study bound.

I have remembered something which I have forgotton to add to my independent study, but now it is bound. A little bit like when you get on a plane to go on holiday only to remember that you left the central heating on. Massive error! I forgot to mention EAP’s in my conclusion and was too busy bothering with content conclusions and conclusions about autoethnography to remember. What an idiot. Valuable marks lost there me thinks. Also, looking back, I remember that I intended to do alot more work on EAP’s and less on sickness, but what actually happened was the reverse. Not so much of a problem, but again I didn’t get the chance to discuss that in my final thoughts.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Structure

I think I need something to work towards, a milestone, if i can see myself making small steps towards the completion of this work, I am hoping that my writing will start to ‘snowball’. I am told that I will have too much by the end and will need to condense it anyway. A good suggestion that I received was to make a list of each point that needs to be explored and then explore it, triangulating as I go. Maybe the reason structure is a bit all iver the shop is because my study doesn’t lend itself well to the traditional ‘norms’ of research writing, or maybe it is my approach. Not sure. Having lost Monday to three inches of snow I can’t afford to dwell and will continue to write.

February 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nearly the end of Jan

Well, I say Jan like I am familiar with her, I actually mean some stranger I met called Jan, I usually bump into her once a year just after Christmas.

This week has been a bit depressing; cold weather, reworking of tasks, burial of an acquaintance shot dead by ‘friendly fire’ on the front line in Afghanistan (don’t even get me started), feeling a bit demotivated, staying up late and getting up early, and now just when you think that things couldn’t get any worse, there is a Welshman (yes a welshman!) in the library that is talking so loudly, he could probably shout down Brian Blessed. I can feel my temper fraying, but am holding on…for now at least. I keep closing my eyes and dreaming of lying on black sand next to Mount Teide in June – for those of you who are poor at geography – Google it – I am not in the mood to explain.

Conscious of the fact that I haven’t written on here for a while. Also conscious of the fact that there is writing to be done elsewhere.

I hope next week is more fruitful that this one. 

Oh – One last thing – for those of you confused by the first sentence – Jan is still alive – It is only the 30th today.

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Off your Facebook/ Out of My Life

Giddens is nearly out of my life. Not because I want him to be, but because of the 3 books that I have of his 2 are due back today, and I am unable to renew because they are on order. George W Bush is nearly out of my life too. Only 6 more days of ‘Bushisms’ – my my…how I am going to miss them.  2008 is also out of my life. I muse about what 2009 might bring. A degree? Heartache? A general election? More mouth ulcers? The list is endless.

My musings are getting increasingly interrupted. Mainly by the two teenage girls sitting behind me who are laughing histerically at Facebook photos. Their lives must be dull. I can see in the reflection of my screen that they look to be photos of a boozy night out. Strange that me thinks as both girls are muslim. Reminds me of a T-shirt which I saw someone wearing in Topman the other day which read ‘Off your Facebook’.

To my left is a blonde. He is listening to an Ipod and trying to type what looks to be academic work at the same time. I wonder how he concentrates on Harvard Referencing whilst listening to something that sounds as peaceful and soothing as ‘Smack your bitch up’ by The Prodigy. Note to self: Next time you struggle with referencing, dig out the Prodigy album.

I bumped into Neil the other day, only briefly as I was rushing out of uni to an appointment as he was rushing in. I am intending to have done for him what we discussed before xmas, by 21st Jan.

January 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Merry New Year

What a result. The dross and endless queues that xmas and new year bring is over, at least for another 11 months. There were some bits I enjoyed, like working on xmas day for triple time, a day in leiu and a xmas hamper, but there are better things I can think of to do than spend time with people I’d rather not which seems to be what xmas is all about these days. Anyway on a brighter note, I have got mouth ulcers AGAIN. ” The types of oral ulcers are diverse, with a multitude of associated causes including: physical or chemical trauma, infection from microorganisms, medical conditions or medications and cancerous and sometimes nonspecific processes.” (wikipedia.org) The doctor says it could be one of two things. A vitamin deficiency or being stressed/run down. If its a vitamin deficiency then I will never know – The only way to find out is through a blood test, but as an acute Aichmophobiac then I am not about to give blood readily. And if it is stress then well I need to learn to chill out, but I find myself wondering how much time I am going to get to do that in the next 5 months.

Back to work – not much to say really – I am deep in Giddens and nearly done with Chang. I am sure that when the term gets back into full swing I will be on a roll once again…

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My New Arrival

No – before you even think it I have not got a child – the chances of that are very remote, i’m referring of course to a book. I ordered ‘Autoethnography as Method’ by Heewon Chang (as stated in a previous post) and today it has arrived. Without hesitation I launched myself into it. The only thing is that receiving a gift in the post from Amazon has reminded me that it is only a matter of hours until Christmas (or Consumption-mas as I like to call it) and I am yet to buy a gift. Result. That is what Consumption-mas Eve is for anyway isnt it?

Back to the book – I have been taking notes on some good quotes that I think will probably fit quite well in ‘AE as method/ology’ – A piece that I have pledged to deliver asap to be included in my study. The books author, Chang, is concerned in my opinion principally with AE and its relationship(s) with culture. As a result I have been selecting the sections that I want to read that I think will be of most value – They include Chapter 2, ‘Self Narratives’ and Chapter 3, ‘Autoethnography’ and I am now fast approaching Chapter 4 ‘Collecting Autoethnographic Data’.

As a quick reminder of just how complicated and boundary spanning AE can be – on pg47 Chang refers to Ellis and Bochner (2000) saying that they “present a wider array of labels that indicate an autoethnographic orientation. The labels include; autobiographical ethnography, autobiology, auto-observation, autopathography, collaborative autobiography, complete-member research, confessional tales, critical autobiography, emotionalism narratives of the self, ethnobiography, ethnographic autobiography, ethnographic memoir, ethnographic poetics, ethnographic short stories, evocative narratives, experiential texts, first-person accounts, impressionistic accounts, indigenous ethnography, interpretive biography, literary tales, lived experience, narrative ethnography, native ethnography, new or experimental ethnography, opportunistic research, personal essays, personal ethnography, personal experience narrative, personal wriring, postmodern ethnography, radical empiricism, reflexive ethnography, self-ethnography, self-stories, socioautobiography, sociopoetics, writing-stories.”

On a brighter note, I have managed to type up one vignette and handwrite the other which I will get typed asap, and so to coin a phrase or word that seems to be being used by Gordon Brown so often these days, I am making “real” progress in the same way that he is delivering “real help to families and businesses at this difficult time”. More than the tories could ever hope to deliver me thinks.

Anyway, that is Consumption-mas, Chang, vignettes, AE as method/ology, and politics covered in one about 400 words. Not bad hey?

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Right, Write.

Been to see Neil this afternoon. We discussed alot. Proposal. Data. Method/ology. But the main message was clear – Write. Fair point me thinks. It is easy to put it together, reorganise it, reshape and mould it in all kinds of ways when you have got ‘it’.

A really good idea, that we both built on was the idea of a ‘vignette’  or short stories which could intercept sections in my study, or be used to fictionally illustrate ‘real life’ organisational issues. “The word vignette, from the same root as vine, originally referred to a decorative border in a book. Later, the word also came to be used for a photographic portrait which is clear in the center, and fades off at the edges, and also short descriptive literature focusing on a particular moment or person.” (Wikipedia) I think that this is a good idea. I find it somewhat difficult to read extensive fiction, but short stories or fiction that I can pick up and put down easily, I can engage with, hence the idea.

Another piece of writing that I agreed to do was a piece on AE as a method/ology now that I feel that I have got a better grasp on it after reading work such as ‘The Ethnographic I’ and ‘Doing Ethnography’. This piece of writing may not be used in my study, but submitted in an appendix form…

These two pieces of relatively short work should enable me to write the ‘narrative’ or ‘data’ as a whole and as I have two other pieces of work hanging over me like a giant looming skyscraper I really need to get writing.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Data, Data and Yet More Data

There was much discussion today about data. Within the context of my independent study… What is it? How can it be ‘collected’, ‘generated’ or created? What is ‘valid’ data? How do you know if you have not collected ‘valid’ data? What ethical issues need to be taken into account?

Also, more questions about the relationship between the researcher and the data/study. Particularly relevant for me obviously, but complex at the same time.

I have been thinking a bit more about my data as the day progressed. I think that I need to discuss with Neil exactly how to represent it, I was thinking of maybe a short narrative(s) to illustrate different points, but then again maybe it needs to be more integrated and not seperated in such a defined way. I am going to try and arrange a suitable time sometime in the forthcoming week or so. So much to do so little time. Christmas around the corner. Pfft.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eyes Wide Open…

Its now 12.45am on a Tuesday night and I am wide awake. Thought I may as well put my time to good use.

I have just been reading this; http://www.ualberta.ca/~iiqm/backissues/5_2/PDF/wall.pdf which is ironically called ‘An autoethnography about autoethnography’. Thou hast recommended it too.

Not as convinced about the value of this one, but I have read it anyway. A bit messy for me. https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/rlhunter/web/autoethnographyinfyw/why%20ae.htm

I am also going to have a look in a Blackwell’s book store next time I am passing for ‘Autoethnography as Method’ by Heewon V Chang because it one of the most recent resources I think I am going to be able to find as it was only published in May 08. Library hasn’t got it, already checked. Hmm. Will get my thinking cap on about how to get my mits on a copy, either electronically or on paper, preferably without paying the £20+ that Blackwells want for it! Who do the think I am? An oil rich arab? Next i’ll be buying useless football clubs, mentioning no names. Manchester City. Oops.

I like this one too. Inspirational. Parallels with racism me thinks. http://asstudents.unco.edu/students/AE-Extra/2006/3/Callaghan.html

This one is powerful. Argumentative, but quite good nonetheless. ‘Arguements against Autoethnography’ http://www.ethiopia-ed.net/images/2059477569.doc I am a bit jubious about some its content, but I must admit that there were parts of it that did make me smile, namely the section on whether or not authoethnography is ‘publishable’!

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Today

Its cold today. I have braved the weather, all 5cm of snow, I don’t know how I do it sometimes! Anyway, I have read a journal today…

Defrancisco, V.P. Kuderer, J. Chatham-Carpenter, A. (2007) ‘Autoethnography and Women’s Self-Esteem: Learning Through a ‘Living’ Method. Journal of Feminism & Psychology. Vol. 17(2): 237-243.

I think that the opening sentences encapsulate well the essence of the read… “This is a story within a story. It is about lessons learned from autoethnographic research methods and from the collaboration of two social science researchers and a co-author with a literary writing background. It is also about what the three of us learned regarding the study of women and self-esteem, and it is about ourselves.” (p237)

Forget about the self-esteem bit for now. Thats not the reason I read it. The reason I read it was because it details alot about the method of discovery that was used. They claim that autoethnography teaches them not only about the subject matter (women and self-esteem) but a great deal about them as ‘researchers’. they integrate what I consider to be more scientific methods with autobiographic methods, and the result is that “through autoethnography, we became, we learned and we grew as persons and as researchers.”

I wonder if I am going to ‘grow’ as a person or as a researcher through completing my study?

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment