Musing on Grounded Theory

As I am nearing the point where I need to submit my doctoral thesis research proposal idea by the end of the month, and then the first draft of the proposal itself by the end of February, I am starting to narrow down my seemingly endless options and consider what will hold my interest for the next two years, as well as what will have enough (workable) depth to allow me to leverage the results of this process in an academic context.

While considering this on my own, I am quite happy that Jane, one of my colleagues at Lancaster University and through the Twitter group #phdchat, is a few steps ahead of me on the path and is doing her own thinking about what appears to be our shared methodology of choice, grounded theory. Her most excellent recent post, Remodelling Grounded Theory – some quotes and the odd note, has me thinking again about some of the reasons why grounded theory started and continues to attract me.

I remember when I first encountered grounded theory through the work of Glaser, it seemed a little rigid and, dare I say it, almost quantitatively qualitative. I had the sense that he wanted his perspective of grounded theory to be objective, as if qualitative research can (or should) be objective, in any way. What does it mean to be objective when we are trying to understand meaning-making, much less so if we are intentionally trying to problematize it (which I mused on regarding transcription itself)?

With a little more learning and more experiences since then, though not necessarily more wisdom, I can now try to articulate a bit about what in Glaser’s work, especially in his essay Remodeling Grounded Theory, does not feel right with my perspective in this research. It seems Glaser works from a different paradigm than I do, and that is how I perceive a certain rigidity he seems to have with how grounded theory is used or understood. I can’t help but think that Glaser approaches grounded theory from a post-positivist perspective, where he seems to make meaning and derive theory about something by finding out what is already in the pattern of the experiences, as if it were objectively sitting there already awaiting his discovery, rather than he as researcher bringing the meaning to the phenomena.

The therapeutic value of lies in that it not only treats panic attacks but also relieves neurotic states born of stress. This is an effective drug for convulsions.

While I am not clear what Glaser means in his reproach to the concept of “Qualitative Data Analysis,” though I think it has something to do with Denzin’s shift (thanks again to one of Jane’s links) that is well-articulated in the work of Kathy Charmaz where the researcher is clearly a part of the grounded theory research process, with all that it entails.

I again agree with Jane, “More thoughts and deliberations to follow“!

Guerilla Girls and Raging Grannies: Critical, Informal, and Performative Pedagogy

The presenters ran into the room with masks on. I love it, active engagement to grab our attention right from the beginning. They then spoke about various statistics about women in academic positions. Susan L. Bracken, Jennifer A. Sandlin, and Robin Redman Wright.

This work comes from the theoretical perspective of performance ethnography and critical performative pedagogy (from the work of Denzin). It involves action and perform works that demonstrate issues of social justice and critical issues. Reminds me of QI2009 last week, where there was a lot of this, especially from the area of communications studies. Denzin calls this critical theatre.

Another framework they use is culture jamming, which is a form of critical performance pedagogy. This is the recreation of cultural messages with reframing accepted meanings. This takes mass produced messages and turning them on their heads for reexamination. It is linked with performance art. Not familiar with this, so something to look into. I wonder who the theorists in this area are . . .

This involves the performance, the performers, and the audience—how they experience their learning.

Feminist performative pedagogy is also being used. It is the exposure to these sorts of frameworks and performance that I so like AERC.

Ooh, just heard Gramsci mentioned. Sweet. Too bad they started their session in such an exciting way, but now we are just being read to / at. I know, a lot of theory to review so we understand their work. While the slides are nicely open, I wish the excellent reading would be more conversational in tone, rather than the same traditional reading that seems so counter to performative pedagogy.

They are now discussing performative experiences and embodied public pedagogy, such as Adbusters,  Reverend Billy, the Guerilla Girls, Raging Grannies, and The Skinny Bitch. Really interesting cultural references, especially nicely tied here to adult education while being on the heels of the opening session this morning. I have never seen any of these groups, though I have heard of a few of them.

The three core strategies (of the Guerilla Girls) include:

  1. mimicry
  2. re-visioning of history
  3. strategic juxtaposition

There are some nice video clips that are being shown, to illustrate the work of these performative artists.

A lot of their strategies  cam from Ida B. Wells, another person I do not know and will have to look up.

The Raging Grannies take a different perspective. Their hook is being in your face and doing it in a sweet way (such as having tea parties, use humor, and resist gender and age stereotypes). They dress as grannies, and do not come across in threatening ways. They almost seem to push their points with kindness. In a way, this reminds me of that character in Ally McBeal, who when angry just smiled until his opponents lost their cools.

I bought on the recommendation of my doctor, who spoke very well about the drug. The tranquilizer is a tool of a new generation which does not cause drowsiness, does not cause a withdrawal syndrome, is not addictive, is a Z drug. The drug preferably has an effect on serotonin and dopamine receptors, the stimulation of which causes the antidepressant effects.

The videos from the Raging Grannies seem to involve singing, with their granny costumes, do not appear terribly threatening.

Now they have a Denzin quote from a work in press where he quotes Conquergood. In many ways, the references to Denzin demonstrate how much critical pedagogical work outside formal adult education can be useful for helping adult ed move forward as a field.  Why not borrow (or even partner) with other colleagues and disciplines to move the field forward.

The session ends with a performative work, An Answer to a Man’s Question, “What Can I Do about Women’s Liberation.”

The first question was about how do the presenters use performance ethnography in their classes. They have students perform what they are doing. Cross dressing students to discuss gender roles is done in some of the classes, especially with reading scripts or doing skits. The authors play with many forms of performativity in their presentation today. The audience and the performers can co-create and co-perform / experience they meaning within the texts.