Researching Beneath the Surface: Psycho-social Research Methods in Practice (Explorations in Psycho-Social Studies)

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Researching Beneath the Surface: Psycho-social Research Methods in Practice (Explorations in Psycho-Social Studies)

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RESEARCHING BENEATH THE SURFACE

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Explorations in Psycho-Social Studies Series Published and distributed by Karnac Books Other titles in the Series Object Relations and Social Relations: The Implications of the Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis Edited by Simon Clarke, Herbert Hahn, and Paul Hoggett

Orders Tel: +44 (0)20 7431 1075; Fax: +44 (0)20 7435 9076 E-mail: [email protected] www.karnac books.com

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RESEARCHING BENEATH THE SURFACE Psycho-Social Research Methods in Practice edited by Simon Clarke and Paul Hoggett

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First published in 2009 by Karnac Books Ltd 118 Finchley Road, London NW3 5HT

Copyright © 2009 Simon Clarke and Paul Hoggett for the edited collection, and to the individual authors for their contributions. The right of contributors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted in accordance with §§ 77 and 78 of the Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A C.I.P. for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 85575 618 2 Edited, designed and produced by The Studio Publishing Services Ltd www.publishingservicesuk.co.uk e-mail: [email protected] Printed in Great Britain

www.karnacbooks.com

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CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS CHAPTER ONE Researching beneath the surface: a psycho-social approach to research practice and method Simon Clarke and Paul Hoggett PART I: WAYS OF KNOWING CHAPTER TWO Experiencing knowledge: the vicissitudes of a research journey Haralan Alexandrov

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CHAPTER THREE How to live and learn: learning, duration, and the virtual Lita Crociani-Windland

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CHAPTER FOUR When words are not enough Julian Manley

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CONTENTS

PART II: THE DYNAMICS OF THE RESEARCH ENCOUNTER

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CHAPTER FIVE Charting the clear waters and the murky depths Phoebe Beedell

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CHAPTER SIX Fear––and psycho-social interviewing Rosie Gilmour

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CHAPTER SEVEN The use of self as a research tool Sue Jervis

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PART III: METHODS OF INQUIRY AND ANALYSIS

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CHAPTER EIGHT believing, dreaming thinking: Seeing some methodological mapping of view points Lindsey Nicholls





CHAPTER NINE Autobiography as a psycho-social research method Rumen Petrov CHAPTER TEN Managing self in role: using multiple methodologies to explore self construction and self governance Linda Watts

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CHAPTER ELEVEN Analysing discourse psycho-socially Leslie Boydell

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INDEX

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to acknowledge the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for the funding provided to do the research on which two of the chapters in this book are based. Phoebe Beedell’s chapter contains material from two ESRC funded projects: “Negotiating Ethical Dilemma’s in Contested Communities” (RES000-23-0127) and “Identities, Educational Choice and the White Urban Middle Classes” (RES-148-25-0023). Rosie Gilmour’s chapter is based on work done for the ESRC funded project: “Mobility and Unsettlement: New Identity Construction in Contemporary Britain” (RES-148-25-003). Much of the research in this book has been produced within the vibrant setting of the Centre for PsychoSocial Studies at the University of the West of England and we would like to thank our colleagues for their support; in particular, we would like to thank Glynis Morrish for her hard work and patience in supporting the team.

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ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Haralan Alexandrov works as researcher and consultant in the Bulgarian Institute of Human Relations and as assistant professor in the New Bulgarian University. He holds a Masters in Bulgarian philology and a PhD in social anthropology. His academic interests are in the fields of education, social policy, and organizational theory. He is involved in various community development projects, applying participatory approaches such as action research, reflective practice, co-operative inquiry, etc. Currently, he is working on a PhD dissertation in the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies, University of the West of England, Bristol, titled “Identity, continuity and change: the dynamics of reconstructing the organizational culture of an educational institution”. Phoebe Beedell: Before joining the University of the West of England’s Centre for Psycho-Social Studies, Phoebe Beedell worked extensively in Southern Africa as a development communications specialist focusing on the promotion of reproductive health. Phoebe continues to maintain links with psycho-social research networks and is currently employed by an independent community development practice based in Bristol, UK. ix

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ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Leslie Boydell is Associate Medical Director of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Honorary Lecturer with the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Belfast. Her main research interests are in cross-sectoral partnerships and collaboration, with a particular focus on psychosocial aspects, such as motivation to engage, and measuring impact. She has lead responsibility for public involvement and community development for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Simon Clarke is Director of The Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England. His research interests include the interface between sociological and psychoanalytic theory; method; emotions; racism and other hatreds; and the social application of psychoanalytic theory and practice. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews on racism, hatred, and ethnic conflict. He is author of several books including: Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (2003, Palgrave); From Enlightenment to Risk: Social Theory and Contemporary Society (2005, Palgrave); Emotion, Politics and Society (with Hoggett and Thompson, 2006, Palgrave); Object Relations and Social Relations (with Hahn and Hoggett, 2008, Karnac); and White Identities: A Critical Sociological Approach (with Garner, 2009, Pluto Press). Simon is Consulting Editor of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society (Palgrave Macmillan Journals) Lita Crociani-Windland is a senior lecturer in Sociology and Fellow of the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England. Her professional background includes consultancy within the fields of group relations and special needs education. Rosie Gilmour: Rosie’s background is multi-disciplinary with an initial degree in French with Russian, which took her into teaching languages both in Britain and abroad. She then did a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and worked in market research, both national and international for several years, specializing in qualitative research. She completed an MA in Social Anthropology in SOAS in 2004 with a special interest in the Middle East. Her MA dissertation focused on the unveiling of Muslim schoolgirls in France. She worked as the research associate on the ESRC project

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ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

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entitled “Mobility and Unsettlement: New Identity Construction in Contemporary Britain” and is now Project Manager in the Centre for Intercultural Communication in the University of the West of England. Paul Hoggett is Professor of Politics and Director of the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England, Bristol. His research focuses on identity and conflict dynamics, climate change denial, the political vicissitudes of loss and grief, and the nature of human resilience. His books include Partisans in an Uncertain World (1992, Free Association Books); Emotional Life and the Politics of Welfare (2000, Macmillan); The Dilemmas of Development Work (2008, Policy Press); and Politics, Identity and Emotion (Paradigm Publishers, 2009). He is also a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. Sue Jervis is a former civil servant who changed careers after training to become a psychodynamic counsellor while working in staff welfare and personnel management posts. She subsequently worked as a counselling service manager, supervisor, and as an independent practitioner at various locations within Britain. Sue has presented several papers on the emotional experiences of servicemen’s wives. A related publication is: “Moving experiences: responses to relocation among British military wives” (Coles & Fechter, 2007 [Eds.], Gender and Family Among Transnational Professionals, New York: Routledge). Sue is an affiliate of the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England and an independent researcher. Julian Manley, MA, DipHE, MSc, is Managing Director of Ecowaves, a company providing consultancy and training to organizations in Spain. He shares consultancy work with his research at the University of the West of England, where he is currently registered for a PhD that takes social dreaming as its principal focus of investigation. His main research interests are centred around the development of holistic approaches to psycho-social situations and combining theory with experiential practice. He has recently spent time at Schumacher College, Devon, where he was dedicated to integrating ecological reflection into his current research. He is now based in northern Spain.

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ABOUT THE EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

Lindsey Nicholls is a lecturer in the School for Health Sciences and Social Care at Brunel University, London, UK. She has an MA from the Tavistock/University East London on “Psychoanalytic approaches to organisations” and has worked as a clinical occupational therapist (OT) and academic in Cape Town (South Africa) and London (UK). Her PhD research was a psychoanalytically informed ethnographic study of OTs’ social defences in acute care settings in Cape Town and London. Rumen Petrov is a certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Currently, he lectures in conflict mediation for students of public administration and is also conducting self-experience groups for students of clinical social work and family therapy at the New Bulgarian University, Sofia. Rumen is a PhD student at the Centre for Psycho-social Studies, University of the West of England, Bristol. His research is a case study about the hidden dimensions of his own and of some of his colleagues’ culture and attitudes towards community development and the humanization of communal life in Bulgaria. In the current year (2009), Rumen’s main professional challenges are two PHARE-sponsored projects which are introducing him into the field of business education for both regular students at the New Bulgarian University and for unemployed citizens. As a Bulgarian citizen, Rumen is very interested in (and is trying to study systematically) the origins of his past in a totalitarian environment and intends to continue his engagement with the study and development of civil society in Bulgaria. Linda Watts works in local government in the UK. She holds a Masters in Management Development and Social Responsibility and a PhD that focused on a critical approach to her organizational role in local government. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Bristol Business School, University of the West of England. Her academic interests are in the fields of self governance and organizational behaviour in the macro political context, and research methods as applied to those fields. Currently, she is working on an exploration of “being a researcher–manager”.

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CHAPTER ONE

Researching beneath the surface: a psycho-social approach to research practice and method Simon Clarke and Paul Hoggett

Introduction: psycho-social studies

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ince the 1990s, partly due to the impact of feminism, the social sciences have begun to change. Traditional models of human rationality, which opposed reason to passion, are being challenged. The preoccupation with language and cognition has started to give way to an equal interest in emotion and affect. The familiar split between “individual” and “society”, psychology and sociology, is now recognized as unhelpful to the study of both, and, as ways have been sought to overcome such splits, psychoanalysis has increasingly appeared in the breach. Drawing also on some aspects of discourse psychology, continental philosophy, and anthropological and neuro-scientific understandings of the emotions, “psycho-social studies” has emerged as an embryonic new paradigm in the human sciences in the UK. Psycho-social studies uses psychoanalytic concepts and principles to illuminate core issues within the social sciences. These have recently included the role of loss and mourning in the constitution of community; the nature of identities such as “girl”, “white”, or “mother”; the experiences of rapid social change, particularly the 1

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experiences of the powerless; the negotiation of ethical dilemmas by public service professionals. Moreover, it has applied these concepts and principles in empirical research as well as theory building. Psycho-social studies is an emergent perspective, the exact contours of which necessarily remain indeterminate at present (Clarke, 2006; Hollway, 2004). Frosh’s recent review of the field concludes, the idea of the psycho-social subject as a meeting point of inner and outer forces, something constructed and yet constructing, a powerusing subject which is also subject to power, is a difficult subject to theorize, and no one has yet worked it out. [Frosh, 2003, p. 1564, original emphases]

Psycho-social studies is also informing the development of new methodologies in the social sciences, including the use of free association and biographical interview methods, the application of infant observation methodologies to social observation, the development of psychoanalytic ethnography/fieldwork and attention to transference–countertransference dynamics in the research process. This book examines some of these methodological developments and draws upon the experiences of a group of researchers and doctoral students based around the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies at the University of the West of England. In this first introductory chapter, we explore the emergence of psycho-social research in the human sciences, its origins, aims, and, in particular, the innovations that have been made in methods of data generation and data analysis and the implications these have for the ethics of qualitative research. As we have agued in the previous volume in this series (Clarke, Hahn, & Hoggett, 2008) there is something quite distinct about a psycho-social approach towards social research; it is more an attitude, or position towards the subject(s) of study rather than just another methodology, something that contributors to this book, such as Haralan Alexandrov and Lita CrocianiWindland, will demonstrate. We argue, therefore, that psychosocial research can be seen as a cluster of methodologies which point towards a distinct position, that of researching beneath the surface and beyond the purely discursive. In other words, to consider the unconscious communications, dynamics, and defences

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that exist in the research environment. This may entail the analysis of group dynamics, observation, and the co-construction of the research environment, by researcher and researched: we are all participants in the process. From this we derive the idea of the reflexive researcher, where we are engaged in sustained self-reflection on our methods and practice, on our emotional involvement in the research, and on the affective relationship between ourselves and the researched.

The origins and aims of psycho-social research Psycho-social research methods have emerged over the last ten years or so. Previously, with just a few notable exceptions, there had been little fieldwork that used psychoanalysis as a tool for understanding societal phenomena. Hunt (1989) argues that fieldworkers shared an assumption that “there was one reality that existed independently of the researcher’s conscious mental activity” (p. 17). In other words there existed an objective separation between observer and observed. Researcher subjectivity, emotional and participatory involvement in the world of the researched, was seen as a hindrance to scientific study. Hunt refers to the Chicago school as a particularly good example of this type of ethnography, as Hammersley (1992) notes: “Chicago sociologists came to see the city as a kind of natural laboratory in which the diversity and processes of change characteristic of human behaviour could be studied” (Hammersley, 1992, p. 3). Fieldwork was somewhat paradoxical in that researchers were encouraged to immerse themselves in the “natural” setting of the research subject, but not to the extent where they would lose their objective focus, succumbing to affect. In contrast, Hunt (1989) suggests that subjectivity and selfunderstanding are critical to well executed fieldwork, suggesting a synthesis of ethnographic methods which incorporate psychoanalytic tools of interpretation. Psychoanalytic practice in fieldwork is important in that it contributes to our understanding of how sociological data is both structured and constructed. There are two main areas in which psychoanalytic ethnography differs from conventional fieldwork (see also Crociani-Windland, in this volume). First, there is the notion that the unconscious plays a role in the

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construction of our reality and the way in which we perceive others. This is the theoretical framework on which we base the analysis of our research findings. Second, the unconscious plays a significant part in both the generation of research data and the construction of the research environment, thus recognizing and using ethnography as a social activity. Hunt (ibid.) explains: The psychoanalytic examination of fieldwork is important because it contributes to our understanding of the structuring of social science data. For example the unconscious communications which are negotiated in the research encounter affect empathy and rapport. They therefore play a role in the materials that subjects reveal and researchers grasp. [p. 27]

Hunt identifies a number of areas where unconscious forces may affect research. In the first instance, the choice of research subject and setting may reflect an “inner dynamic”. For example, a deep interest in racism may arise from certain incidents or events in a researcher’s past, the impact of which become disguised as curiosity and professional interest. Once the research is under way, unconscious forces mediate encounters between researcher and researched: “the subject’s behaviour and unconscious transferences toward the researcher may generate the development of reciprocal reactions and transferences” (ibid., p. 33). An important point that Hunt highlights, which is rarely discussed in methodological literature, is the discomfort and guilt that may accompany the collection of data, the feeling of being a “spy” or “voyeur”. Hunt discusses at length the concepts of transference and countertransference within the fieldwork environment. This is where most of the unconscious interplay between researcher and respondent takes place: The term transference will be used to refer to researchers’ unconscious reactions to subjects and some aspects of their world. Transference will also be used to describe the unconscious archaic images that the subject imposes onto the person of the researcher. Counter-transference, in contrast, will be used to refer to the researcher’s unconscious reaction to the subject’s transference. [ibid., p. 58]

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In his contribution to this volume, Haralan Alexandrov examines the way that the psychoanalytic method accepts the hermeneutic interpretive approach while recognizing in addition that unconscious and conscious forces mediate the researcher’s interpretation of the subject’s world. While both psychoanalysis and hermeneutics assume an “internal” world, hermeneutics assumes that much of this world is accessible to the “confessor” of it. In psychoanalytic ethnography this world is often hidden, and the transference and countertransference between respondent and researcher thus becomes a way in which the hidden inner world reveals itself. The nature of ethnographic fieldwork is described not in terms of one or many pictures, rather, in terms of a voyage, in which researcher and researched are engaged. Sherwood (1980), in The Psychodynamics of Race, uses a series of unstructured life history interviews to explore the “inner” and “outer” worlds of multi-racial areas: Since the aim of this study is a complex one and is about inner and outer worlds and social contexts in relation to race, to pursue the aim it is necessary to disclose the inner reality which each person experiences. It is basic to our approach therefore that the focus be on the whole individual . . . [ibid., p. 12]

The subjects, all from different ethnic backgrounds, are researched in a cultural, social, and historical context, yielding information on a conscious surface level to provide insights into unconscious “motivations and defences” (ibid., p. 13). This methodology considers psychological, sociological, and cultural aspects of our lives as interdependent, and, as such, each has an influence on the other in the way in which we construct social life through relationships, feelings, and action. It is interesting to note that an early critique of Sherwood’s work counterposed this approach to a “scientific” stance; Manyoni (1982) wrote, A basic cannon of scientific inquiry demands that the analytical validity of theoretical or explanatory conclusions reached on the basis of an inductive study of this sort should rest squarely on the soundness of the methodology adopted for the execution of the project. . . . The pitfalls posed by the individual life history method of psycho-sociological analysis are numerous. The reliability of the

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raw data from which particular conclusions are drawn has a direct bearing on the scientific validity and soundness of the analysis made. [ibid., p. 236]

Manyoni goes on to talk about the reliance of the research on the reports and life histories of the subjects as if the individual respondents were not to be trusted with their own feelings, a sure sign that emotion does not fit into the scientific paradigm of research designs. Innis (1998) also reflects on the usefulness of psychoanalytic concepts as a social worker involved in a mental health after-care hostel: These accounts enable me to think of racist and other responses to the experience of difference as originating not only in historical, political and social reality but also in the unconscious internal conflicts of the individual. [Innes, 1998, p. 187]

Similarly, Joffe (1996) proposes a psychodynamic extension to social representational theory, using empirically derived research data to demonstrate the explanatory power of psychoanalytic concepts such as splitting and projection. The emphasis is therefore on hermeneutic interpretive methods, which recognize both conscious and unconscious cultural meanings. The interpretive is mediated by the minds of both researcher and researched, adding another explanatory dimension in the field of ethnography. Thus, we have a threefold argument for the synthesis of methodologies. First, structural explanation is able to explain how, but not why, certain social phenomena occur. Psychoanalysis addresses this deficiency by recognizing the role of the unconscious mind in the construction of social realities, with its suggestion that feelings and emotions shape our perception and motivation, constructing the way in which we perceive others. Second, the psychoanalytic method recognizes the role of the researcher in the interpretation of realities and the way in which unconscious forces shape the research environment. Finally, there is an integration of social, cultural, and historical factors at a conscious level, which yields information about unconscious motivations and defences. This basic outline of the importance or recognition of the interplay between internal and external worlds has been developed

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substantially over the past ten years into the discipline we call psycho-social studies, whose contribution we will examine in greater detail in the following sections of this chapter. This can be seen by example in Hollway and Jefferson’s (2000) work on fear of crime, in the work of Stephen Frosh and his colleagues (2002, 2003) on young masculinities and the work of Walkerdine and her colleagues on young femininities (Walkerdine, Lucey, and Melody, 2001; Lucey, Melody, & Walkerdine, 2003). Chamberlayne, Bornat, and Wengraf (2000) have focused on biographical narrative methods and the application of these to social policies and professional practice (Chamberlayne, Rustin, & Wengraf, 2002), while Hinshelwood and Skogstad (2000) use psychoanalytically informed observation to study anxiety within institutions (see also Clarke, 2002, 2006). More recently, Hoggett, Beedell, Jimenez, Mayo, and Miller (2006) have used a psycho-social narrative method to understand the nature of personal identifications, for example, class and gender, that underpin the commitment of welfare workers to their jobs. Those involved in psycho-social research come from varying academic disciplines which include psychology, critical psychology, sociology, social policy, and political studies. Together, these contributions represent both the application of psychoanalytic methods and concepts to social research, and deepening of existing approaches to qualitative research. If we look at the aims of psycho-social research, then at the heart of the project is the reflexive practitioner. As we mentioned in the introduction to this chapter, the idea of the reflexive practitioner involves sustained and critical self-reflection on our methods and practice, to recognize our emotional involvement in the project, whether conscious or unconscious. So, for example, we could ask ourselves at set of questions, as Linda Watts and Rumen Petrov do in their contributions to this book. Why are we interested in our research project; why choose this area and not some other? What is our investment in it and how will this affect the way we go about the research? Importantly, how will the above affect us and our relationship to the subject(s) of our study. To answer such questions requires an exploration of the intersections between personal biography and discourse, in other words, to examine the unique ways individuals “live” in social formations. This enables the researcher to do two things: first, to deepen our understanding

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of social formations, and second, to restore the focus on human agency (both conscious and unconscious) that is often lost in discourse. To do this, we have to develop methods of researching the affective, and here we can note in passing what some people have referred to as the “emotional turn” in the human sciences: given that there is increased interest in the role of the emotions, what methods are required to research them? This we address in the next two sections of this chapter. Psycho-social methods aim to address a growing dissatisfaction with interview based and other methods of qualitative research which appeared to be happy to stay at the discursive level, as if respondents were fully knowledgeable actors with no unconscious or defences which make it difficult for them to think/talk about things. Finally, psycho-social methodology aims to complement the increasing interest in reflexivity in the social sciences, including the reflexivity of the researcher (something strongly held to by feminist researchers): what better discipline to deepen our understanding of reflexivity than psychoanalysis? In the next section of this chapter, we look at some new and innovative methods of data generation and, in particular, at the free association narrative interview and the biographical narrative interview method while exploring issues around projective identification and countertransference in both the “defended” subject and interviewer.

Innovations in psycho-social methodology New approaches to biographical narrative interviewing A psycho-social approach to research has brought about some ground-breaking innovations in the way that we generate data. The starting point here are the psycho-social approaches to biographical narrative interviews developed by Hollway and Jefferson (2000), and Wengraf (2001), and Chamberlayne (Wengraf & Chamberlayne, 2006). Hollway and Jefferson argue that using a psycho-social perspective in research practice necessarily involves conceptualizing both researcher and respondent as co-producers of meanings. There is an emphasis in their work on the unconscious dynamics

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between researcher and researched and the use of free association through narrative interviews. Hollway and Jefferson (2000) use the “free association narrative interview” (FANI), which can be summarized in terms of four principles, each designed to facilitate the production of the interviewee’s “meaning frame” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 34). The first is to use open ended questions. So, for example, in a recent research project on notions of home, identity, and the construction of “whiteness” in contemporary Britain (see Clarke & Garner, 2005), we would simply ask the respondent what the notion of “home” meant to them rather than use a fairly closed or leading question which may have evoked either a yes/no answer or made the respondent feel that they had to think of a particular incident. This question was designed to get the respondent to talk about the meaning and quality of experience of notions of home, identity, and community; in other words, how it related to their life. The second principle of the free association narrative method is that of eliciting a story. Again, a question such as “Tell me something about your background” is more likely to elicit a story, a narrative, than, for example, “Where were you born?” As Hollway and Jefferson note, story-telling shares many things in common with the psychoanalytic method of free association. The particular story told, the manner and detail of its telling, the points emphasised, the morals drawn, all represent choices made by the story-teller. Such choices are revealing, often more so than the teller suspects. [Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 35]

This principle also allows the researcher to look at various forms of unconscious communication, of transference, countertransference, and projective identifications that are present in the interview relationship. Why do people tell certain parts of certain stories? Why are they telling them? What form of response are they trying to elicit from the interviewer? It is often the case that the respondent will say at the end of an interview “Did I give you the ‘right’ answers?” The third principle is to try to avoid using “why” questions. Hollway and Jefferson note that this may seem counter-intuitive, as people’s own explanations of their actions are useful in understanding them. The problem with a “why” question, however, is

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that you often get a sociological or clichéd answer. This is a more difficult area in fieldwork because the “why” question tempts an explanation, something we are all looking for. If we ask why someone moved to a particular community, then a respondent will often couch answers in terms of school availability, transport links, or proximity to shops and services. These are all very important, but do not necessarily help us to understand what community means to the respondent. If, instead, we couch the question in terms such as “How do you feel about living in this particular area?”, then the response is more likely to be in form of a story or narrative, where the respondent attaches meaning to experience. The final principle is that of using respondents’ ordering and phrasing. This involves careful listening in order to be able to ask followup questions using the respondent’s own words and phrases without offering our own interpretations. As Hollway and Jefferson note, although appearing to be a relatively simple task, “it required discipline and practice to transform ourselves from a highly visible asker of questions, to the almost invisible, facilitating catalyst to their stories” (Hollway and Jefferson, 2000, p. 36). This does not imply the stance of an objective observer; rather, it means trying not to impose a structure on the narrative. The importance of the psychoanalytic technique of free association cannot be overstressed in this method. By allowing the respondent to structure the interview and talk of what they “feel” like talking about, we are able to gain some indication of unconscious feelings and motivation, something which is not possible with traditional research methods. As Hollway and Jefferson argue: “By eliciting a narrative structured according to the principles of free association, therefore, we secure access to a person’s concerns which would probably not be visible using a more traditional method” (ibid., p. 37). This method uses biography and life history interviews (Chamberlayne, Bornat, & Wengraf, 2000; Hollway & Jefferson, 2000) to situate processes of identification within the subject’s life history. In the case of our own recent research, these identifications include affective attachments to notions of community, nation, and belonging. Tracing such identifications will uncover the more subtle psychological dynamics behind identity formation within the context of the in-depth interview. This method is both biographical and systematic, and crucially addresses the construction of the

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research environment and data by both researcher and respondent. In the previous volume in this series, we discussed at length these co-constructions and the implications they have for data analysis (see Clarke, 2008). The other major contribution to biographical interviewing has been made by Tom Wengraf and Prue Chamberlayne. Like FANI, the biographic narrative–interpretive method (BNIM) gives priority to eliciting narratives concerning people’s biographies in an uninterrupted way, but it offers a particular approach to both interviewing and analysis. It has also advocated the use of the research panel to “force” a greater degree of objectivity into the process of data analysis. Wengraf and Chamberlayne make a useful distinction between what they call the “told story” and the “lived life”. They suggest that a “Real Author” exists beyond that which is presented in the interview, an author who can be approached through analysis of the told story. They also make an interesting distinction between psychodynamics and socio-dynamics, and in some of their later research on organizations they combine narrative interview with observational methods to explore the way in which the “unsaid” of the organization may find expression both in the narratives of organizational actors and in the dialogues of the research team (Chamberlayne, 2005).

Exploring the dynamics of the research encounter Social research has always been aware of the dynamic nature of the relationship between the researcher and the researched, but these dynamics have been construed in sociological terms, such as Goffman’s dramaturgical perspective on the presentation of self (Goffman, 1959) or, later, in terms of power and identity, Warren (1988). Psycho-social approaches seek to extend and deepen such approaches by examining the “psycho-logic” of this unique relationship. There are several aspects to this. First, there is the recognition that the research encounter is one full of different kinds of affect: anxiety, fear, boredom, excitement, melancholy, and so on. These affects may be a product of the relationship, that is, co-produced, or brought to the relationship by one of the players. The novice researcher might be anxious about his or her status, for example, or the research might focus on the

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experiences of a group, such as those who have recently experienced loss, in which particular kinds of affective experience are likely to be prominent. In the present volume, Rosie Gilmour provides an extensive exploration of the dynamics of fear in the context of interviews which touch on questions of race, whereas towards the end of her contribution, Phoebe Beedell examines the opposite kind of feelings, where an affectionate identification develops between researcher and research subject. How such feelings are dealt with during the research is crucial to its success. Contemporary sociology talks of this in terms of the “emotion work” involved in research, a concept that originates in the pioneering work of Hochschild (1983). Traditionally, psychoanalysis examined this issue via the concept of the defence mechanism, that is, that there might be certain thoughts and feelings that were so threatening to the subject that they responded with defences such as repression or denial. As Hollway and Jefferson (2000) noted, the research interview may stir up such uncomfortable material for both those being interviewed and those doing the interview, producing both the “defended subject” and the “defended researcher”. More recently, psychoanalysis has adopted Bion’s concept of “containment” (Bion, 1962) as a way of exploring how affect is managed in human relations. For Bion, containment refers to our capacity to hold on to a feeling without getting rid of it, using the energy of the feeling in order to think about what the feeling communicates. It can refer to the capacity to contain one’s own feelings as well as the feelings of others. Lindsey Nicholls explores the concept in her contribution to this volume. While, typically, we think of containment in terms of a person’s capacity to be emotionally receptive to the other, how this receptivity is demonstrated will vary according to the feeling that has been unleashed (for example, it may require strength and courage to “receive” someone’s anger, to survive it without crumpling or slinging it back). The affective dynamics of the research encounter are also influenced by what each person brings to it, some of which will not be accessible to conscious thought. Irrespective of whether this is simply tacit and preconscious, or part of the dynamic unconscious to the extent that it cannot be thought, it will be communicated affectively. Such affective and non-discursive communications have been conceptualized by psychoanalysis in terms of the transference

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and countertransference. As psychoanalysis has become increasingly relational, so it has tended to consider the transference– coutertransference relationally as a co-produced dynamic process (i.e., no transference without countertransference). These concepts have been adopted by psycho-social researchers to examine some of the “affective ways of knowing” that may be available to the researcher (Lucey, Melody, & Walkerdine, 2003; Walkerdine, 1997, pp. 66–75). In this volume, Sue Jervis provides a detailed examination of these forms of communication in relation to her own research on loss. There are also many areas of confluence between sociological and psychoanalytic analyses of interactional dynamics. One important overlap occurs between the concept of “subject positions” in discourse theory and “projective identification” in psychoanalysis (Wetherell, 2003). The former refers to the positions a subject can adopt in relation to a discourse such as class; they can, for example, be subject(ed) to it by identifying with it, they can dis-identify with it, resist it, pervert it, “pass” it, and so on (Skeggs, 1997). In a parallel way, psychoanalysis has become preoccupied with the positions that analyst and patient take up in the micro discourse of an analytic session, with who is speaking to whom in what voice and from what position (Bollas, 1987). In particular, the concept of “projective identification” has illuminated the subtle but powerful ways in which a subject can be nudged, seduced, or coerced into occupying a particular position in relation to the other. The idea of “positioning” therefore opens up the space for a range of possible research dynamics beyond that of the defended subject or researcher and Phoebe Beedell, in this volume, explores some of these psycho-social dynamics as they occurred in the course of two ESRC funded research projects.

Psychoanalytic observation The concept of the clinician’s or the researcher’s countertransference has been essential to the development of psychoanalytically informed observation studies. These have taken two directions: infant observation and organizational observation. Infant observation is a core component of psychoanalytic clinical training (Miller, Shuttleworth, Rustin, & Rustin, 1989). Through regular, one-hour

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visits over a period extending for up to two years, the observer becomes practised in picking up on the communication between the infant and its family, even though the infant is, for almost half of this time, “without words”. In a pioneering recent study, Hollway and her colleagues have adopted the method of infant observation to generate data about maternal identities (Urwin, 2007). The Tavistock Group Relations tradition has sought to apply psychoanalytic concepts and methods to the study of organizations and, in doing so, has extended the range of psychoanalysis from the individual body to the body of the group and organization. Concepts such as the “social defence” (Menzies Lyth, 1960) are genuinely psycho-social terms, occupying the space between the intrapsychic and the social. Understanding organizations in this way enables us to grasp that affective communications might not just be from individual to individual, but also from the group to the individual, and thus from the organization to the consultant or researcher. Psychoanalytically informed methods of organizational observation (Hinshelwood & Skogstad, 2000) have recently evolved, and in this volume Lindsey Nicholls discusses her application of some of these principles in her research on occupational therapy teams.

The use of imagery What cannot be said may often be embodied in actions, images, and dreams. The use of imagery, particularly in work with children, has been a central aspect of psychoanalytic work with young children since Melanie Klein’s pioneering endeavours before the Second World War (Klein, 1998). Also, and almost since the inception of the discipline, ethnographic fieldwork in anthropology has acknowledged the central value of imagery embodied in ritual, artefacts, and customs as a source of data. But, as Hunt (1989, p. 29) notes, “Psychoanalytic anthropologists accept the hermeneutic paradigm but recognise that the ethnographic encounter involves unconscious as well as cultural dimensions”, which she suggests, “constitute the essential transformative dynamic”. In this volume, Lita Crociani-Windland develops this methodology into a psychoanalytic ethnography in her study of festivals in Italy.

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Organizational research has also been influenced by visual ethnography, and a number of studies have recently made deliberate use of visualization techniques such as artwork and photography as methodologies of inquiry into the affective and nondiscursive dimensions of organizational life (Broussine, 2008; Harrison, 2002; Riley & Manias, 2003; Seivers, 2008). Such visual methodologies have increasingly become an accepted aspect of social research (Banks, 2001; Harper, 1998), an approach facilitated by technological developments which have led to the disposable camera, and the integration of still and video cameras with mobile phones. Poetry, psychodrama, and theatre are also methodologies increasingly deployed by social researchers seeking to get beyond the discursive surface. These methodologies have the power to evoke, to summon forth (Louise in Broussine, forum theatre). Dreams can also be an important source of data (Beradt, 1968; Miller, 2001) and, as Lindsey Nicholls’ contribution demonstrates, this can include both the dreams of the researcher and of those being researched. The fascinating possibility that dreams can be the work of groups has been glimpsed in the recent work of Lawrence (1998) and the evolution of the methodology that has become known as “social dreaming”. Dreams are, of course, a form of reverie, a mode of experiencing that includes metaphor, mental imagery, and other products of the mind which have been traditionally accessed by psychoanalysis through the method of free association. Several contributions to this volume, in the spirit of the work of the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, highlight the role of reverie in the production and analysis of data. In his contribution, Julian Manley demonstrates the importance of this material, that is, forms of knowing which precede discourse, and links it to the work of continental philosophers such as Henri Bergson and Giles Deleuze. Leslie Boydell offers an extensive examination of metaphor, in this case the metaphors in use by members of a partnership for public health in Northern Ireland, and examines how a psycho-social approach can deepen the use of metaphor provided by discourse analysis. Linda Watts provides further examples in her study of the use of metaphor by policy-makers and managers in local government.

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Free association As we have seen, free association has perhaps been the most central methodology in the psychoanalytic toolbox. For Freud, it was through this method that the trains of mental connections were generated that facilitated access to unconscious material (Bollas, 2002). Free association was not just a requirement of the analysand, but also of the analyst, a way of “attending” to the patient’s material “free of memory and desire”, in Bion’s famous phrase. As several contributions to this volume suggest, the use of reverie and “negative capability” (French & Simpson, 2001), that is, the capacity, as John Keats puts it, for “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason” (Keats, 1899, p. 217) are essential attributes, not just of the clinician, but of the psycho-social researcher. Such a stance provides one of the conditions for the formation of a particular kind of intersubjective space, one we might call, after Winnicott, “potential space”, that is, a space for emergence. The use of free association has also become a distinctive feature of psychoanalytically informed approaches to working with groups. Both the group analysis and group relations traditions make use of free association in the median group, in application groups and consultation sets, and, more recently, the Listening Post, a methodology for tuning in to the affective undercurrents of society, has been developed which is effectively a method of social research that, like social dreaming, originates outside academia (Dartington, 2001; Hoggett, 2006).

Autobiography Feminist researchers were among the first to challenge the idea that the researcher was some neutral and dispassionate seeker of truth, and to insist on greater transparency in terms of the motives, identities, and preconceptions that researchers brought to their work (Stanley & Wise, 1983). This soon led to an interest in the use of the researcher’s autobiography as an integral part of the process of inquiry (Stanley, 1992). For the psycho-social researcher, awareness of what the researcher brings to the research process—her or his values, prejudices, identifications and object relations—is a crucial

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aspect to understanding their countertransference. Without this it is impossible for the researcher to know, for example, whether the feeling that a research subject has evoked in them is the subject’s, is co-produced, or more properly belongs to the researcher. In his contribution to this volume, Rumen Petrov grapples with this very question, and also explores other facets of the researcher’s identity, such as class and, in his case, provincialism. Autobiographical research is as much about the researcher’s capacity for self-awareness in the here-and-now as it is about their awareness of their personal history (their there-and-then). Such here-and-now awareness constitutes the psychoanalytic equivalent of what in social theory and research has become known as “reflexivity”: the capacity to be suspicious of one’s own presuppositions. Psychoanalysis and its group variants is, at its core, a methodology for enhancing psychic reflexivity, but psychoanalysis itself is not a psycho-social methodology and, despite its increasingly relational turn, it remains relatively impervious to “social” dimensions of psychic experiences such as gender and class (Layton, Hollander, & Gutwill, 2006). For the psycho-social researcher, it is therefore important to try and integrate psychical and social awareness, something in this volume that Sue Jervis explores in her attempt to understand her imperviousness to the suffering of Kayleigh, one of her interviewees. For the researcher, this kind of reflexivity is enhanced by the use of others (peers, colleagues, supervisors) as a sounding board, offering what, in psychoanalysis, is known as the perspective of the “third”. As the chapter by Linda Watts demonstrates, it is also facilitated when the researcher keeps a reflexive diary during the process of doing the research, a diary that includes fieldnotes and immediate post-interview reflections. However, perhaps large scale psycho-social research projects require more than this. In her reflections on her involvement in two ESRC funded research projects, Phoebe Beedell asks what other forms of support should be provided if researcher reflexivity is to be maximized.

Psycho-social approaches to data analysis As we have seen, psycho-social methods place considerable emphasis upon creating the conditions for the emergence of the subject— for example, by initially imposing as little structure as possible

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upon biographical interviews, or by the use of reverie and free association—but where is the place of interpretation and analysis in this? Initially, Hollway and Jefferson (2000, p. 77) argued that analysis comes later, and is separated from contact with the research subjects, but this view was questioned by other research teams, who argued that the researcher cannot help but make judgements and interpretations during the research encounter, no matter how non-intrusive they attempt to be (Miller, Hoggett, & Mayo, 2008). So, not all psycho-social researchers follow the relatively unstructured approach implicit in models such as FANI and BNIM, and perhaps this is not surprising, for these methodologies have evolved specifically in relation to life history research, and yet most social research does not directly relate to people’s life histories, but is concerned with substantive issues ranging from recycling behaviour to gang conflict. In fact, there is a paradox at the heart of psycho-social methodologies, because while, on the one hand, they stress the importance of minimal structure, on the other hand, they emphasize what many conventional social researchers would regard as a gross intrusion of the researcher’s subjectivity through techniques such as the use of the researcher’s countertransference. The same issues are faced during the phase of data analysis: if we do not take at face value what our respondents tell us, how do we know that our “findings” are not just an imposition of our own preconceptions (i.e., what Wetherell (2005) calls “top-down” data analysis)? Psycho-social research therefore needs to beware of “wild analysis”. For some, this means that psycho-social approaches must also be participative and dialogic. Annie Stopford, a researcher who is also a relational psychotherapist, argued thus, in the research context, where we have extremely brief contact with research participants compared to the frequency and longevity of the psychoanalytical clinical process, it is arguably even more imperative that psychoanalytically inclined researchers try to devise methods which facilitate our participants’ involvement in construction of interpretation. [Stopford, 2004, p. 18]

Such a dialogic approach can occur both “in” the here-and-now of research encounter, outside the immediate encounter through procedures such as engaging participants in dialogue around

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emerging findings, sharing written drafts which feature respondents’ case material, or running inquiry groups and conferences for research participants during the later stages of the research (Miller, Hoggett, & Mayo, 2008). While only a minority of psycho-social researchers would advocate such a strongly dialogic approach, there is, nevertheless, a consensus that wild analysis must be guarded against by the generation of a plurality of different perspectives regarding the data. BNIM advocates the use of research panels, and the development of the panel method of data analysis, in which researchers present data extracts to a group of colleagues, invited experts, etc., has now become a common approach. For postgraduate researchers, the role of supervisors is essential to this process, and for research teams engaged in major projects, it is important that a diversity of perspectives can be contained so that data can be perceived from different vantage points, but all this requires time. Psycho-social approaches to data analysis, if they are to stand the test of validity, are very labour intensive. The labour intensiveness of psycho-social data analysis is heightened by the fact that there are always multiple sources of data: the researcher’s reflexive diary and fieldnotes, the live recording of the interview, the transcript of the interview, and so on. Because psycho-social research seeks to go beyond discourse, the interview transcript is just one of several sources of data, and often the live recording and the researcher’s account of their own hereand-now experience of the interview provide important insights into the circulation of affect, positioning dynamics, etc. There are many other issues relating to data analysis which could be examined here, but perhaps the last one to highlight is the difference between single case analysis and cross-case analysis. Most psycho-social researchers would agree that priority should first be given to a holistic analysis of individual cases, as Hollway and Jefferson (2000) put it, on allowing an individual gestalt to emerge which can trace the many different facets of an individual’s subjectivity: their trajectories, dilemmas, conflicts, turning points, loose ends, repetitions and fixations, resolutions, and so on. This involves staying close to the data rather than searching the data for already conceived categories. Inevitably, as more and more individual cases are explored, certain themes will begin to emerge, and

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these emerging themes provide the building blocks of cross-case analysis, but the closure that a more thematic analysis brings to the data needs to be resisted as much as possible, for such closure reduces the element of surprise that new individual cases might otherwise provide. As data analysis proceeds, particularly with large projects, a more thematic approach will almost inevitably be required eventually in order to make the task of further analysis manageable. Here, the use of computer-aided techniques for analysing qualitative data through software packages such as NVivo may prove valuable, but there are different views on this, some regarding such packages as cumbersome devices which can quickly become the master of the data analysis process rather than its servant.

Ethics in psycho-social research There are very strong ethical implications in the practice of psychosocial research, indeed, ethical issues are present throughout the whole research process from the commencement of the research design through to the analysis and presentation of the data. As Hollway (2006) argues, what frames the primary ethical challenge in psycho-social research is care for the subject. It is useful at this point to refer to the previous volume (Clarke, 2008) in this series, where we presented a vignette, two readings of the same transcript. This vignette was about the relationship between the researcher and someone we called “Billy”. Billy is one of the respondents that we interviewed several times for a research project and the vignette illustrated some very real concerns around ethical issues. These centre around concern and care for the subject of our research, on not taking transcripts at face value, and around the role of projections, collusions, and fear. These concerns are about the need to avoid mis-re-presentation of the respondent, and about the need to ensure that the research does present what is really important to the respondent; these concerns are also about guilt, a duty of care, and the fact that our respondents have trusted us with their thoughts on some very contentious issues. It would be easy to portray Billy as not a very nice person, but there are many sides to Billy, and many reasons that he holds the views he does. Our concern here is about

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the selective use of interview transcripts, about falling into the trap of not listening to our respondents and making our data fit our preconceived ideas and research questions. Ethically, then, a psychosocial approach must guard against these mistakes, and really this needs to be reinforced with team work, something we discussed in the previous section of this chapter. Ethics are a central concern in psycho-social research, as it differs from more traditional forms of social science in that it uses a different ontology of the self; whether you call this psychoanalytic, Kleinian, or relational, it is about depth, in contrast to the rational, constructed, conscious self. As we have seen in the earlier sections of this chapter, we encounter the “defended subject”, and often the defended researcher. We are all anxious, and we defend ourselves against our anxieties. Things, statements, ideas, are not always transparent; indeed, more often than not, we do not know what makes us act the way we do in the research encounter, which is why it is so important to reiterate that ethical issues are present throughout the whole research process. We need to consider our own emotional responses to the encounter. So, for example, should we make interpretations while we are conducting interviews? Is this ethical, can we actually stop ourselves doing it as interpreting human subjects? After all, interpretation is central to understanding and communication. This, as we have seen, has implications for research practice: for example, the use of reflexive fieldnotes to record our own emotional responses, the use of peer groups in data analysis, and the processes through which we make our analysis available to participants. So, to summarize, there are some key ethical points and practices in psycho-social research. We have to recognize that ethical issues are present throughout the whole research process. This means that informed consent, for example, really does mean informed consent; in other words, making sure that people know what they are participating in. It entails being aware of the ethical demands of the actual research encounter, recognizing countertransference, identifications, and projective identifications. It involves an ethical approach to data analysis, one which is able to recognize what gets left in and what gets left out in talk, transcription, and presentation. It also means that we need to think very carefully about how we present our data, as we have an ethical

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obligation of care for the subject and avoidance of any harm. Ethically, this is about relationality: we have to recognize that we bring our own unconscious feelings around class, or ethnicity, for example, that we identify with people, indeed, we have to in order to understand their affective states, meanings, and experiences. However, on the other hand, we have to be careful that we do not merge parts of our “selves” with the Other.

Conclusion Psycho-social research is a rapidly expanding field, and we have tried to offer something of an overview here, one which focuses on breadth rather than depth. Needless to say, the area is full of controversies, from whether the use of the countertransference in research should be avoided as researchers are not normally also trained counsellors or therapists, to whether psycho-social studies should contain a hyphen or not! For those interested in some of these controversies, a special issue of the journal Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society was devoted to them in the winter of 2008. The present volume contributes to the development of the new research methodologies in a number of ways. It is written largely from the point of view of practitioners who are also researchers. Although contributors draw largely upon object-relations traditions in psychoanalysis, other influences are also present, particularly from continental philosophy and the sociology of the emotions. It develops an approach to epistemology, how we know what we know, which is strongly informed by a living approach to psychoanalysis, not just as a theory, but as a way of being in the world, that is, as a stance. It examines, in great depth and from a number of perspectives, the complex psycho-social dynamics that characterize the research encounter. Finally, it demonstrates a number of specific methodologies at work and the authors’ learning from this experience.

References Banks, M. (2001). Visual Methods in Social Research. Sage. Beradt, C. (1968). The Third Reich of Dreams. Chicago, IL: Quadrangle.

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Bion, W. (1962). Learning from Experience. London: Tavistock. Bollas, C. (1987). The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known. London: Free Association. Bollas, C. (2002). Free Association. Cambridge: Icon. Broussine, M. (2008). Drawings and art. In: M. Broussine (Ed.), Creative Methods in Organizational Research. London: Sage. Chamberlayne, P. (2005). Inter-subjectivity in biographical methods: mirroring and enactment in an organisational study. Paper given to Biograhpieforschung im Sozialwissenschaftlichen Diskurs, GeorgAugust Universitaet Goettingen, 1–3 July. Chamberlayne, P., Bornat, J., & Wengraf, T. (Eds.) (2000). The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science. London: Routledge. Chamberlayne, P., Rustin, M., & Wengraf, M. (2002). Biography and Social Exclusion in Europe: Experiences and Life Journeys. Bristol: Policy Press. Clarke, S. (2002). Learning from experience: psycho-social research methods in the social sciences. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 173–194. Clarke, S. (2006). Theory and practice: psychoanalytic sociology as psycho-social studies. Sociology, 40(6): 1153–1169. Clarke, S. (2008). Psycho-social research: relating self, identity and otherness. In: S. Clarke, H. Hahn & P. Hoggett (Eds.), Object Relations and Social Relations: The Implications of the Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac. Clarke, S., & Garner, S. (2005). Psychoanalysis, identity and asylum. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 10(2): 197–206. Clarke, S., Hahn, H., & Hoggett, P. (2008). Object Relations and Social Relations: The Implications of the Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis. London: Karnac. Dartington, T. (2001). The preoccupations of the citizen – reflections from the Opus Listening Posts. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 1(1): 94–112. French, R., & Simpson, P. (2001). Learning at the edges between knowing and not-knowing: “translating” Bion. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 1(1): 54–77. Frosh, S. (2003). Psychosocial studies and psychology: is a critical approach emerging? Human Relations, 56(12): 1545–1567. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., & Pattman, R. (2002). Young Masculinities: Understanding Boys in Contemporary Society. London: Palgrave. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A., & Pattman, R. (2003). Taking a stand: using psychoanalysis to explore the positioning of subjects in discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 42: 39–53.

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Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday & Co. Hammersley, M. (1992). What’s Wrong With Ethnography. London: Routledge. Harper, D. (1998). On the authority of the image. In: N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Harrison, B. (2002). Seeing health and illness worlds – using visual methodologies. Sociology of Health and Illness, 24(6): 856–872. Hinshelwood, R., & Skogstad, W. (2000). Observing Organisations: Anxiety, Defence and Culture in Health Care. London: Routledge. Hochschild, A. (1983). The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hoggett, P. (2006). Connecting, arguing, fighting. Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 11(1): 1–16. Hoggett, P., Beedell, P., Jimenez, L., Mayo, M., & Miller, C. (2006). Identity, life history and commitment to welfare. Journal of Social Policy, 35(4): 689–704. Hollway, W. (2004). Editorial. Critical Psychology, 10: 5–12. Hollway, W. (2006). Gender and Ethical Subjectivity. London: Routledge.. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. Hunt, J. (1989). Psychoanalytic Aspects of Fieldwork. London: Sage. Innes, B. (1998). Experiences in difference: an exploration of the usefulness and relevance of psychoanalytic theory to transcultural mental health work. Psychodynamic Counselling, 4(2): 171–189. Joffe, H. (1996). The shock of the new: a psycho-dynamic extension of social representational theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 26(2): 197–219. Keats, J. (1899). The Complete Poetical Works of John Keats. H. E. Scudder (Eds.). Boston, MA: Riverside Press. Klein, M. (1998). Narrative of a Child Analysis. London: Vintage. Lawrence, G. (Ed.) (1998). Social Dreaming @ Work. London: Karnac. Layton, L., Hollander, N., & Gutwill, S. (2006). Psychoanalysis, Class and Politics. London: Routledge. Lucey, H., Melody, J., & Walkerdine, V. (2003). Transitions to womanhood: developing a psychosocial perspective in one longitudinal study. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 6(3): 279–284.

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Manyoni, J. (1982). Psychoanalysis, life-histories and race relations. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 5(2): 232–238. Menzies Lyth, I. (1960). A case study in the functioning of social systems as a defence against anxiety. Human Relations, 13: 95–121. Miller, C., Hoggett, P., & Mayo, M. (2008). Psycho-social perspectives in policy and professional practice research. In: P. Cox, T. Gersen & R. Green (Eds.), Qualitative Research & Social Change: UK and Other European Contexts. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Miller, L., Shuttleworth, J., Rustin, M., & Rustin, M. (1989). Closely Observed Infants. London: Duckworth. Miller, T. (2001). In the blitz of dreams: mass-observation and the historical uses of dream reports. New Formations, 44: 34–51. Riley, R., & Manias, E. (2003). Snapshots of live theatre: the use of photography to research governance in operating room nursing. Nursing Inquiry, 10(2): 81–90. Sherwood, R. (1980). The Psychodynamics of Race: Vicious and Benign Spirals. Brighton: Harvester. Seivers, B. (2008). Perhaps it is the role of pictures to get in contact with the uncanny: the social photo matrix as a method to promote the understanding of the unconscious in organizations. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 8(2): 234–254. Skeggs, B. (1997). Formations of Class and Gender: Becoming Respectable. London: Sage. Stanley, L. (1992). The Auto/Biographical I: The Theory & Practice of Feminist Auto/Biography. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Stanley, L., & Wise, S. (1983). Breaking Out: Feminist Consciousness and Feminist Research. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Stopford, A. (2004). Researching postcolonial subjectivities: the application of relational (postclassical) psychoanalysis to research methodology. Critical Psychology, 10: 13–35. Urwin, C. (2007). Doing infant observation differently? Researching the formation of mothering identities in an inner London borough. Infant Observation, 10(3): 239–251. Walkerdine, V. (1997). Daddy’s Girl: Young Girls and Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Macmillan. Walkerdine, V., Lucey, H., & Melody, J. (2001). Growing Up Girl: Psychosocial Explorations of Gender and Class. London: Palgrave. Warren, C. (1988). Gender Issues in Field Research. London: Sage. Wengraf, T. (2001). Qualitative Researach Interviewing: Biographical Narrative and Semi-Structured Method. London: Sage. Wengraf, T., & Chamberlayne, P. (2006). Interviewing for life histories,

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lived situations and personal experience: the biographical–narrative–interpretive method (BNIM). Short Guide to BNIM Interviewing and Interpretation. Available at [email protected] Wetherell, M. (2003). Paranoia, ambivalence and discursive practices: concepts of position and positioning in psychoanalysis and discursive psychology. In: R. Harre & F. Moghaddam (Eds.), The Self and Others: Positioning Individuals and Groups in Personal, Political and Cultural Contexts (pp. 99–120). New York: Praeger/Greenwood. Wetherell, M. (2005). Unconscious conflict or everyday accountability? British Journal of Social Psychology, 44: 169–173.

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PART I WAYS OF KNOWING

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CHAPTER TWO

Experiencing knowledge: the vicissitudes of a research journey Haralan Alexandrov

“An explorer can never know what he is exploring until it has been explored” (Bateson, 1972)

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his chapter dwells on the epistemological, methodological, and ethical issues raised by the psycho-social approach to the study of organizational cultures. The theoretical reflections are inspired by the experience of the author as a participant in, and explorer of, the process of organizational change unfolding in the broader context of social, political, and cultural transformation in a transitional society. The methodology of psycho-social research is highlighted vis-à-vis the tradition of other hermeneutic disciplines such as reflexive sociology, interpretative ethnography, psychoanalytic studies, etc. The author arrives at the conclusion that, compared to other research traditions, psycho-social studies have unique investigative and explanatory as well as transformative potential.

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Reality and interpretation By doing social research, one is involved in a process of knowledge production and is therefore confronted with the questions concerning the nature of knowledge and its relation to reality as it is experienced by the researcher (in the case of action research, also by the other participants in the process). Explicitly or implicitly, the researcher espouses a theory of knowledge which is not necessarily shared by the other participants. Explicating the epistemological foundations of one’s knowledgeable engagement with certain field of study is, therefore, an important part of the research process, not only in terms of defending the validity claims of the findings, but also in terms of the strategic choices one makes in the research process and the mode of involvement with the object of study. Each theory of knowledge strives to answer a few fundamental questions: “how we come to know what we know”, “how we know that what we know is true”, and “what are the limits of our knowledge”. The anxious awareness of the fallibility of our knowledge, which marks the late modern times (Clarke, 2006), makes it increasingly difficult for the student of society to take for granted a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and use them as a point of departure for his research journey. Critically questioning the foundations of one’s knowledge has become an integral part of scientific research, and increasingly of the practice of living itself under the uncertain circumstances of reflexive modernization (Beck, Giddens, & Lash, 1994). Departing from the realist assumption that “the world exists independently of our knowledge of it”, Sayer (1992) argues that our perception of the world is mediated by preconceptions and hence our observations are “conceptually saturated” (pp. 5–6). Gathering data, therefore, is not a neutral and “objective” process, but a “theory-laden” enterprise as long as scientists have learned to discriminate certain patterns when observing their object of study. The central epistemological implication of taking a realist approach to the social world is the need for distinguishing between facts and interpretations, an operation which is not required from the perspective of radical constructionism, assuming that the only attainable social reality is that of discourses, since the world is given to our knowledge only in terms of linguistic constructions

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(Burr, 2004). Such a distinction is not self evident, however, since human interpretations tend to get reified and present themselves as solid reality to our commonsense knowledge, thus becoming secondary social facts, which are hardly distinguished from the “primary” facts. Indeed, this tendency to objectify and ultimately reify human phenomena into non-human givens is constitutional for our perception of the social world, as famously argued by Berger and Luckmann: Reification is the apprehension of human phenomena as if they were things, that is, in non-human or possibly supra-human terms. Another way of saying this is that reification is the apprehension of the products of human activity as if they were something other than human products—such as facts of nature, results of cosmic laws, or manifestations of divine will. Reification implies that man is capable of forgetting his own authorship of the human world, and, further, that the dialectic between man, the producer, and his products is lost to consciousness. The reified world is by definition, a dehumanized world. It is experienced by man as a strange facticity, an opus alienum over which he has no control rather than as the opus proprium of his own productive activity. [Berger & Luckmann, 1991, p. 106]

The distinction between “primary” and “secondary” facts, which are rendered to interpretations both in making sense of daily experience and in systematic scientific inquiry, presupposes a hierarchy of interpretations. Unlike commonsense thinking, which naïvely mistakes reifications for natural facts, research activity is bound to address objectified interpretations critically, which entails second-order interpretations, or interpretations of the interpretations. This hierarchical relation is captured in the notion of “double hermeneutics” introduced in the methodological discourse by Giddens (1976). Sayer defines double hermeneutics as “the need for the interpretation of the frames of reference of observer and observed, for mediation of their respective understandings” (Sayer, 1992, p. 49). The interpretation of frames of reference, including one’s own, presupposes capacity for intellectual self-scrutiny and meticulous differentiation between the discrete levels of interpretation. It also requires awareness of the power dimensions of the interplay of interpretations, as well as critical reflectivity on the part

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of the researcher. Indeed, double hermeneutics can be seen as an intrinsic quality of scientific reflection in the domain of qualitative research, as Alvesson and Skoldberg argue: “Reflection can, in the context of empirical research, be defined as the interpretation of interpretation and the launching of critical self-exploration of one’s own interpretations of empirical material (including its construction)” (2005, p. 6). The hierarchy of interpretations can easily be mistaken for a privileged position of the researcher vis-à-vis the social phenomena under scrutiny. The claim for a privileged viewpoint, based on the mastery of specialized method and knowledge, is inherent in the epistemology of positivism and has become a central pillar of the empowered status of science and its institutions in modern societies. The adherents of action research, as we shall see, challenge this claim on both epistemological and ethical grounds and develop the alternative practice of democratic participatory engagement of the researcher with the studied field. Whatever the power implications of scientific inquiry are, and how they are justified, the requirement for some kind of validity of its findings remains indispensable. This requirement is a corollary of the realist assumption that social phenomena, man-made as they are, still have existence of their own, largely independent from the perception of the researcher: “Although social phenomena cannot exist independently of actors and subjects, they usually do exist independently of the particular individual who is studying them” (Sayer, 1992, p. 49). It is precisely the established boundary between subject and object of study which is being challenged in reflexive psycho-social research and which entails the need for providing alternative grounds for the validity claims of the findings.

Validity and truth The recognition of the transformative potential of social knowledge brings forward the issue of its validity and reliability. While the question is a broad epistemological one, the answers are usually methodological and procedural: it is assumed that the guarantee for the validity of scientific findings is the accurate application of the respective research techniques and procedures. The validity claims,

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however, are meaningful only in the chosen theoretical framework: a set of interrelated explanatory ideas, arrived at by other tinkers and researchers, which serve as a point of departure (and often as an ending point as well) for the research journey. These theories are situated in a still broader explanatory entities, known as paradigms: sets of assumptions about the nature of the studied phenomena and their relations, which are taken for granted by the researcher and the school of thought he belongs to (Kuhn, 1970). Modern positivist science is founded on an objectivist version of realism, which takes for granted not only the existence of reality independent of the observer, but the possibility for objective representation of this reality in the knowing mind (Rorty, 1979). The requirements for validity, reliability, measurability, and generalizability of scientific knowledge, with their methodological implications, are meaningful in the framework of the correspondence theory of truth espoused by positivism. From such a perspective, the notion of validity pertains to whether a given method investigates what it is meant to investigate, and to what extent it ensures that the gathered data reflects the phenomenon under scrutiny. The correspondence theory of truth and the ensuing validity criteria is questioned on different grounds by the hermeneutic tradition, the postmodern world view, and the epistemology of action research and psycho-social research. The postmodern perspective poses a radical challenge to the very idea of scientific knowledge as a true representation of reality, attained via systematic research procedures. Instead, knowledge is seen as a human construction, an open domain of incoherent, contradictory, and contestable discourses, tensely coexisting and occasionally exchanging with one another: In a postmodern conception, the understanding of knowledge as a map of an objective reality, and validity as the correspondence of the map with the reality mapped, is replaced by the social and linguistic construction of a perspectival reality where knowledge is validated through practice. [Kvale, 2002, p. 300]

In his insightful paper on the social construction of validity, Kvale refers to the classical criteria of truth and explores how they are evoked by the different philosophies of knowledge:

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The correspondence criterion of truth concerns whether a knowledge statement corresponds to the objective world. The coherence criterion of truth refers to the consistency and internal logic of a statement. And the pragmatic criterion relates the truth of a knowledge statement to its pragmatic consequences. [ibid., p. 304]

Within the positivist tradition, the validity of knowledge is judged by the degree of its correspondence with a presumably objective reality. The coherence criterion has strong positions within the hermeneutic tradition, “arguing for a dialogue conception of truth, where true knowledge is sought through a rational argument by participants in a discourse” (ibid., p. 305]. The pragmatic criterion, according to Kvale, has prevailed in pragmatism and in Marxist philosophy. It could be argued that the pragmatic criterion of validity is embraced and promoted by the action research tradition more than in any other school of thought. Kvale suggests that the three criteria of validity should not be regarded as mutually exclusive, but as complementary, so that a comprehensive verification of research findings could be attained. The application of different criteria for validity is clearly related to the evolving perception of knowledge, its nature, generation, and application. The grounding of the validity claims on exhaustive descriptions and verifiable explanations is replaced by testing those claims in an ongoing debate in the research community: A move from knowledge as correspondence with an objective reality to knowledge as a communal construction of reality involves a change in emphasis from observation to conversation and interaction. Truth is constituted through a dialogue; valid knowledge claims emerge as conflicting interpretations and action possibilities are discussed and negotiated among the members of a community. [ibid., p. 306]

The quest for ever-closer approximation of the obtained knowledge to the observed phenomena is given up for an intensive search for consensual validity via competing argumentation of the participants in a discourse. This discursive or communicative validity is conceived in terms of continuum, where a certain degree of reliability is pursued, rather than in the dichotomist terms of confirmation and refutation. The results of a study are considered valid

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when other researchers feel they are sufficiently trustworthy to rely on them in their own work. The action research tradition takes a step further by testing the validity of knowledge in the praxis of life and inviting the broader community into the debate. The participants in the collaborative action inquiry (Torbert, 2001), conditionally defined as researchers and subjects, together produce practical knowledge about certain social situations that informs their further actions in this same situation. Thus, they create opportunities for examining the applicability, or pragmatic validity, of the knowledge in the very process of transforming the situation. The notion of pragmatic validity implies that valid knowledge is that which empowers the actors to attain the desired results. This brings forward the ethical issues inherent in knowledge production: if knowledge is to be validated by the efficiency of the action it enables, how can validity judgements be separated from the ethical justification of the effects of the action undertaken? The coupling of knowledge generation with social action introduces yet another, political dimension in the debate on validity. As long as knowledge production is a social process with ethical and political implications (Foucault, 1979; Gaventa & Cornwall, 2001), the discourse on validity plays a key role in this process, providing legitimacy to the new knowledge. This is especially the case with action research, which pursues an explicitly political agenda of empowerment and emancipation by enabling broader participation in knowledge production.

The epistemological turn The growing awareness of the complex involvement of the researcher with the explored social system brings forward the need for rethinking the concept of “knowledge”, bequeathed by early modern positive science, as a linear relationship between the subject and object: knowing subject contemplating the studied object from a privileged and detached perspective. In a comprehensive attempt to produce a typology of knowledge, relevant to the epistemological intuitions of reflexive modernity, Park distinguishes three forms of knowledge: representational, relational, and reflective (Park, 2001).

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Representational knowledge is further differentiated into functional and interpretive sub-types. The functional sub-type is rooted in the tradition of natural sciences, operates with logical propositions, and aims to establish correlative and causal relationships between the studied phenomena or their components. Functional representational knowledge wields considerable instrumental power to categorize, order, and predict facts and events, and thus fits the aims of both fundamental and applied research on non-human entities. It is, however, intrinsically non-participatory, since its methodological procedures presuppose a split between the researcher and the object of study. Hence its limited applicability to social contexts, where the subject–object relationship is rendered obsolete by the circular nature of human communication and interaction. The positivist notion of the researcher as a non-engaged observer is transcended in the interpretive type of representational knowledge, rooted in the hermeneutic tradition. Applying the hermeneutic cycle to human contexts presupposes interaction, which brings to life new understanding, shared and co-created by the involved parties (Gadamer, 1975). Interpretive knowledge bridges the split between the knower and the known, the subject and the object: “The knower and the known thus participate in the process of knowing, in which what they bring to the encounter merges together... Interpretive knowledge is synthetic and integrative, rather than analytic and reductive” (Park, 2001, p. 83). Furthermore, interpretive knowledge has transformative capacity, since, in the act of understanding, the knower attributes new meaning to the known (be it a text, a person, or a relationship) and thus changes it. Elaborating on humanistic philosophy (Buber, 1970) and critical social theory (Habermas, 2006), Park explores the ontological, epistemological, and ethical dimensions of relational knowledge, inherent to human communication. As Habermas’s theory of communicative action suggests, linguistic exchange implicitly presumes a reciprocal ethical commitment on the part of the involved actors, a tacit “illocutionary claim” for sincerity, embedded in the speech act (Habermas, 2006). One obvious implication of this “discursive consensus” is that any reliable and meaningful information acquired in the process of communication (including the research process) presupposes a relationship of trust and further reinforces this relationship, thus building a specific communicative space.

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Relational knowledge is contingent on the establishing and sustaining of such space. “Relational knowledge comes from connecting and leads to further connecting. It is reciprocal, not only in that the parties involved know each other, but also in that it grows from interaction” (Park, 2001, p. 86). Relational knowledge is, therefore, inherently communal: it emerges and flourishes in human environments, saturated with trust, authenticity, and mutuality. Interpretive and relational knowledge, as defined by Park, challenge the positivist idea of the value-neutral observer by acknowledging the inevitable imprinting of the values espoused by the researcher on the process and the outcome of the research. The ethical core of participatory research is explicated in the notion of reflective knowledge, inherent to the critical engagement with social reality on the part of the researcher. Building on Paulo Friere’s pedagogy of liberation (Friere, 1970) and on John Dewey’s philosophy of pragmatism (Dewey, 1916), Park argues for the emancipatory and transformational potential of reflective involvement with social change and its human agents (experiential learning, in Dewey’s terms, and conscientization in Friere’s): “Reflective knowledge upholds the dignity of human beings as free and autonomous agents who can act effectively and responsibly on their own behalf in the context of their interdependent relationships” (Park, 2001, p. 86). Park’s theory of knowledge is indicative of the epistemological turn, which results in changing the status of knowledge from a cognitive representation of a presumably independent, though perceivable, reality “out there” with varying degrees of permeability for the knowing mind, towards a reflective process of co-creating social reality in relatedness with other agents. Thus defined, knowledge is a process, rather than a substance, reflexive as well as reflective, since it consists of recurrent communicative and performative acts—or reiterative loops in systemic terms—reinforcing the unfolding spiral of coevolving via understanding. One implication of this conceptual turn is the shift in the legitimating strategy of social science: from the primacy of validity and reliability as criteria for scientific knowledge towards the primacy of authenticity and transformative capacity as criteria for knowledge-in-action. According to Kvale, the postmodern epistemological turn transforms the perception of science itself, shifting the emphasis from justification of knowledge to its applicability: “Knowledge is action

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rather than observation; the effectiveness of our knowledge beliefs is demonstrated by the effectiveness of our actions” (Kvale, 2002, p. 316). This shift of focus entails enhanced ethical concern about the imminent effects of knowledge production. No longer confined to the domain of speculation, knowledge permeates daily activity and emerges as powerful social agency, which increasingly requires ethical as well as epistemological reflection and regulation: Criteria of efficiency and their desirability become pivotal, involving ethical issues of right action. Values do not belong to a realm separated from scientific knowledge, but are intrinsically tied to the creation and application of knowledge. [ibid., p. 308]

Psycho-social research enhances the ethical dimension of knowledge production by revealing the projective dynamics of the researcher–researched relationship and utilizing it for the purpose of deeper understanding. The pragmatic perspective of the research process puts forward the requirement for validating the knowledge gained about the explored system in terms of its utilization for the purpose of transforming this very system. In my research, however, I learnt that the relation between knowing and changing is not at all that straight and unproblematic, but is mediated by complex group and organizational processes that often remain unconscious and beyond the control of the participants. Despite the methodological requirements and the ethos of collaborative inquiry, the understanding of the researcher about these processes and the underlying dynamics can be only partly communicated to the other actors. In the light of this experience, the Habermasian ideal communicative situation appears to be indeed an ideal, a sophisticated theoretical construction, far from the messy reality of human interaction which is governed by primitive anxieties and social defences rater than ethical considerations.

The rational subject and its discontents One of the most appealing aspects of the relational concepts of knowledge, elaborated by the action research school, is the strong

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ethical core. Paradoxically, this is also its central liability; the ethical actor is construed as a rational being who wields considerable control on his actions and choices. By constituting the human subject as a self-actualizing learner (as a possibility, at least), involved in the reconstruction of his world in community with other responsible actors, this anthropology of participation echoes the optimism of the Enlightenment, with its firm belief in reason as a reliable engine of progress. The notions of sincerity, trust, and reciprocity, central for the Habermasian theory of communicative action, imply such a rational actor, governed by intentions and values rather than passions. Human beings, however, are not necessarily rational, especially when involved in exploratory and potentially transformative interactions. There is a class of communicative situations, which encounter the actors with insights, or levels of learning in Bateson’s terms, that are experienced as threatening for their identity and possibly destructive for their integrity. In such contexts, the commonsense understanding of communication, construed in dichotomous terms (telling the truth vs. lying, knowing vs. not knowing, etc.), appears inadequate and misleading. Established notions such as authenticity and integrity need to be revisited, and a different, more nuanced conceptual apparatus is necessary to describe and explain the communicative acts of the interlocutors. The ambiguity of truthfulness is demonstrated by the striking epistemological insights of Bion, extracted from the hermeneutic experience of psychoanalytic sessions and exploration of group dynamics: If we suppose now that the emotional upheaval against which the lie is mobilized is identical with catastrophic change it becomes easier to understand why investigation uncovers an ambiguous position which is capable of arousing strong feelings. These feelings relate to an outraged moral system; their strength derives from risk of changing the psyche. [Bion, 1993, p. 99]

Bion’s “liar”, be it individual or group, is not engaged in deliberate deception, but is engulfed in primitive defensive states of mind, where the boundary between truth and lie is blurred (as well as the boundary between the self and the object) and ethical judgements are hardly relevant.

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Bion goes further in transcending the givens of the classical philosophy of knowledge, that is, the Cartesian causal relationship between cognition and the thinking individual, cognizant of the fact of his cognition. Bion’s epistemology decouples the “thoughts” from the “thinker” and constitutes them as separate entities, related to one another in uncertain and often bizarre manner. Bion’s thinker encounters thoughts, and particularly true thoughts, as independently existing phenomena. Lies, on the other hand, are construed as idiosyncrasies, ontologically related to the specific thinker; lies are inherent to the process of lying. Nobody needs think the true thought: it awaits the advent of the thinker who achieves significance through the true thought. The lie and the thinker are inseparable. The thinker is of no consequence to the truth, but the truth is logically necessary to the thinker. His significance depends on whether or not he will entertain the thought, but the thought remains unaltered. In contrast, the lie gains significance by virtue of the epistemologically prior existence of the liar. The only thoughts to which a thinker is absolutely essential are lies. Descartes’s tacit assumption that thoughts presuppose a thinker is valid only for the lie. [Bion, 1993, p. 103]

Bion’s revision of classical epistemology has direct methodological implications for psycho-social research in at least two aspects. First, it introduces another dimension to the validity debate by claiming that thinking is far from being a purely rational process of meaning production, but is deeply rooted in unconscious processes and is underlain by a hierarchy of unsophisticated and undifferentiated body–mind states (a typology of these is elaborated in his “Grid”). Thinking is not a simple given, a universal capacity that humans are unconditionally endowed with, but a developmental achievement, uncertain and reversible, and is, therefore, inherently fallible and apt to regression. The exploration of what lies beneath our mature thinking capacity warns that our perception of reality is mediated by much more than unreflected preconceptions embedded in culture and language. Second, Bion’s meta-cognition brings forward the need for reconsidering the idea that knowledge is generated and possessed by the individual knower: if the thinker is encountering the thoughts rather than producing them, can we say that he “has”

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them? And if the thoughts—the fundamental building components of knowledge—are not individually owned, then who owns the knowledge constructed from these thoughts? The suggestion that knowledge has collective, rather than individual, genesis and ownership by virtue of the supra-personal nature of its constituent parts—the thoughts—is in harmony with the philosophy of relational and communal knowledge espoused by the practitioners of action research. However, it also refutes the naïve confidence in the emancipatory power of education and awareness-raising that is inherent to the activist pathos of the movement and is based on a reductionist perception of man as essentially a rational being.

The psycho-social subject and the ethics of intersubjectivity In the light of psychoanalytic knowledge, the optimistic perception of the human subject as an autonomous, rational, monadic entity has to be left behind for a more sophisticated and humble idea of man as an embodied, emotionally driven, and culturally contingent being, entangled in complex web of meanings and relations. This concept of the human subject, based on psychoanalytic theory and clinical evidence, is the point of departure for the evolving epistemology of the psycho-social studies: It is obvious that our research is deeply indebted to psychoanalysis, both theoretically and methodologically: our subject is one that is not only positioned within the surrounding social discourses, but motivated by unconscious investments and defenses against anxiety; our data production is based on the principle of free association; and our data analysis depends on interpretation. [Hollway & Jefferson, 2001, p. 77]

The notion of the “defended subject” elaborated by Hollway and Jefferson bridges the psychic and the social domain by acknowledging that the personal identity emerges on their interface, in constant interplay between the environment and the inner world of the subject. The material for the continuous construction and reconstruction of identity are social discourses, which are invested with personal meaning and unfold into biographic narratives. Interacting with the subject, the researcher evokes and interprets these

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narratives and their emotional (and often unconscious) undertow: “The idea of the defended subject shows how subjects invest in discourses when these offer positions which provide protection against anxiety and therefore supports to identity” (ibid., p. 23). The methodology of psycho-social research elaborated by Hollway and Jefferson is inspired and informed by the hermeneutics of psychoanalysis. However, it differs substantially from clinical therapy in terms of purpose, technique, and the larger frame of reference of its interpretations: the social context as well as the interactions with the research subject. Most important, the interpretations are not fed back in the interaction itself, but are withheld and processed as data. Furthermore, the dynamics of interaction, including the researcher’s contributions, is regarded as data: The primary difference between the two practices is that clinicians interpret into the encounter, whereas researchers will save their interpretations for outside it. Put another way, researchers, not being therapists, will be careful not to interpret at the time the information is being provided by interviewees. Their interpretive work comes later, is separate from the participant and has a different audience. Research interpretation is therefore an activity associated with data analysis as opposed to data production. [Hollway & Jefferson, 2001, pp. 77–78]

The psycho-social approach does not encourage immediate interpretations and, unlike mainstream action research, admits the inevitable detachment of the researcher from the subjects and tolerates selective feedback of the findings. From the perspective of participatory action research, the extrapolation of the knowledge from the research process can be challenged on ethical grounds. Assuming that knowledge belongs to the subjects as much as to the researcher and his academic audience, to keep the findings might be seen as exploitative. However, this separation is ethically justifiable precisely because of the concern for the well being of the research subjects. The psycho-social subject is construed as an emotional being, who avoids painful learning by mobilizing various defences, and therefore the pursuit for truth encounters ethical concerns: “This issue of ‘truth’, or otherwise, of interpretations leads us on to the vexed issue of ‘harm’ to participants. Defences protect us from potentially distressing

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‘truths’ about ourselves” (ibid., p. 97). The recognition of the vulnerability of the defended subject in the psycho-social approach binds ethical and epistemological issues even closer than in the action research tradition. The reflexivity inherent to this approach requires the unreliability of common sense to be acknowledged and respected. Self-deceit is part of human imperfection, and the researchers are not immune to it: Of course, self-deception is not confined to research participants; researchers too can deceive themselves. This can happen by not attending to transference/countertransference issues in the research relationship; in other words, by mistaking our own concerns for those of the participants we analyse. [ibid.]

The central ethical question in this kind of inquiry appears to be to what extent the research findings have to be communicated to the participants and how. If the researcher has good reason to believe that his insights would be painful and distressing for the subject, is he obliged to spare those and keep them for himself? Can he take the risk of sharing his interpretations without the certainty, provided by the therapeutic framework, that they will be properly processed and integrated? There are no easy answers to these questions. The experience of Hollway and Jefferson suggests that painful learning is not necessarily harmful: “A ‘truthful’ analysis may not be able to avoid distress to the participant, but it does not automatically follow that distress is harmful, as we argued earlier in Fran’s case” (ibid.). A reliable point of departure in the evolving ethics of psychosocial research is provided by the concept of recognition, borrowed from Benjamin’s ethics of intersubjectivity (1990) and echoing Hegelian classical dialectics of power relations: The experience of recognition has a bearing, then, on our understanding of the risk of harm in the course of this kind of research. Recognition is not about reassurance, if that is based on avoiding the distress and therefore unreliable in telling the truth. It depends on the feeling that the other can be relied upon to be independent, to reflect back a reality which is not compromised by dependence or avoidance. To strive after this as the basis for an ethical relationship in research is to pursue the values of honesty, sympathy and respect. [Hollway & Jefferson, 2001, p. 99]

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What is recognized is both the right of the subject to defend against painful truths by avoiding learning, and the dignity to survive and live with the burden of knowing. By recognizing dependency as intrinsic to human condition and tracing the possibility for transforming it into mature interdependency, the philosophy of intersubjectivity regains the optimistic perception of man as a potentially autonomous and self-actualizing being.

Constructing interpretations: psycho-social research as triple hermeneutics In his interpretative theory of culture, Geertz (2000) argues that hermeneutic involvement with culture should be conceived not in terms of discovery, but in terms of inference of meaningful interpretations to observed occurrences. The only available procedure for validating knowledge, acquired through second and third order interpretation, is “accessing the guesses”. Such a procedure entails a hierarchy of interpretations, starting from guessing and selectively building on these guesses, until a plausible explanation emerges. To be meaningful, however, such interpretations need to be situated in some kind of broader and intelligible frame of significance. Unless such general conceptual framework is provided (what Rorty [1989] calls “vocabulary”), any interpretative account would slide into solipsistic, self-referential construction, the validity claims of which are unsustainable. According to Geertz, interpretative disciplines attain scientific status by cogent conceptualizing and theorizing on the “thick description”: the researcher’s narrative, saturated with significant details as well as with interpretations. Bringing together interpretations and explanations is, however, an intrinsically tense undertaking, since the two operations pertain to different domains of abstraction and are arrived at through different pathways: interpretation draws on associations, images, dreams, etc., while explanation relies on linking experience with cognitive categories. Therefore, in interpretative ethnography, the theoretical constructions are closely linked to the specific case and have contextually limited explanatory power: “Theoretical formulations hover so low over the interpretations they govern that they don’t make much sense or hold much interest apart from them” (Geertz, 2000,

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p. 25). In Geertz’s hermeneutic epistemology, theory finds itself context bound, unburdened from the positivist ambition to discover and explain the general principles of social functioning: “. . . because the essential task of theory here is not to codify abstract regularities but to make thick description possible, not to generalize across cases but to generalize within them” (ibid., p. 26). Exemplary of the postmodern turn, this inversion of perspective uncouples theorizing from the enterprise of meta-explanation and couples it to the enterprise of understanding human condition in context, and thus opens a broad avenue for theoretical creativity. Theory is called to conceptually reinforce the interpretations of the researcher, to ensure that they are logically and methodologically consistent, and to organize them into a comprehensible, if not entirely coherent, frame: “In ethnography, the office of theory is to provide a vocabulary in which what symbolic action has to say about itself—that is, about the role of culture in human life—can be expressed” (ibid., p. 27). To what extent Geertz’s interpretative method is relevant to the study of organizational cultures is arguable. Judging from my experience, this approach enables the researcher to explore the idiosyncrasies of the organizational field by acknowledging its uniqueness and grants him the freedom (and responsibility) to immerse himself in the experience with an open mind, leaving behind his preconceptions. The risk inherent to such an enterprise, however, is to depart from one’s own constructions only to embrace those of the other participants, especially in the action research approach, where the researcher is also an agent in the field of study and is, therefore, prone to misconceive his biased perception of a given situation for valid interpretation. To withstand this temptation, the researcher needs to sustain reflexive distance towards his cognitive and emotional involvement with the organizational field by critically questioning the explanations suggested, apparently, by the field itself. Usually these explanations are the obvious ones, the first to come to mind. Such quick “insights” usually tell us what we already know: the questions beg the answers. One has to learn to ward off these kinds of easy answers and the comfort they bring, to bracket the available knowledge for the time being, and to remain with the uncertainty of unanswered questions and fragile hypotheses long enough to give the new knowledge a chance to emerge out of the anxiety of not knowing.

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In an attempt to get beyond surface explanations, critical social research develops a pattern of multi-level interpretation, which is inspired by critical theory as well as psychoanalytic theory. The students of this approach point out that, to make good interpretations, the researcher needs a well-developed theoretical frame of reference, encompassing the social, cultural, and psychological dimensions of human condition (Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2005). To address such a formidable task of understanding human reality in its totality, critical research needs to draw on at least four theoretical domains: a hermeneutic understanding of language and meaning, a theory of society as a whole, an anthropological theory pointing out the relativity of cultural meanings, and a theory of the unconscious (Deetz & Kersten, 1983; Morrow, 1994) It is precisely the theory of the unconscious that psycho-social studies build in the tradition of interpretative ethnography and critical theory. The awareness of the unconscious dimension of people’s activity itself, as well as of the process of ascribing meaning to this activity, introduces another layer of interpretation and analysis. Thus, the “double hermeneutics” of interpretive social science is enriched and transformed in the triple hermeneutics of psychoanalytically informed critical theory. Simple hermeneutics—in social contexts—concerns individuals’ interpretations of themselves and their own subjective or intersubjective (cultural) reality, and the meaning they assign to this. Double hermeneutics is what interpretive social scientists are engaged in, when they attempt to understand and develop knowledge about this reality . . . The triple hermeneutics of critical theory includes the aforementioned double hermeneutics, and a third element as well. This encompasses the critical interpretation of unconscious processes, ideologies, power relations, and other expressions of dominance that entail the privileging of certain interests over others, within the forms of understanding which appear to be spontaneously generated. [Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2005, p. 144]

This description appears quite pertinent to the emerging field of reflexive psycho-social studies, which, unlike most hermeneutic approaches, acknowledges the emotional, as well as social and cultural, determinants of human activity, including the activity of interpreting the social world. Psycho-social research can be defined

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as triple hermeneutics, since it attempts to interpret the interpretative activity of both the actors in the studied field and the researcher in the context of their interaction. Going back to Berger and Luckmann’s notion of reification, it can be argued that critical psycho-social research is emancipatory in a unique way as long as it provides means for acknowledging and resisting our innate tendency for reification of the relational aspects of human reality. As Clarke demonstrates in his exploration of the psychodynamics of racism and identity, this tendency makes it possible for one person’s irrationality to become another person’s rationality, one group’s phantasy to become another group’s reality, and vice versa (Clarke, 2006). This unreflected redistribution of qualities across individual, group, and institutional boundaries, mediated by primitive processes such as splitting and projective identification, is an especially malignant form of reification, which reinforces prejudice and injustice (Young, 1994). The theoretical underpinnings and methodological rigorousness of the psychosocial approach safeguard the researcher against unconscious partaking in the vicious circle of mutual reifications, which renders our human world alien and obscure. Supplied with the demanding, yet liberating, method of triple hermeneutics, the researcher is free to engage in a variety of unpredictable and anxiety-provoking situations and interactions and still sustain a reflective and ultimately ethical stance by retaining the capacity “to think under fire”, as Bion famously suggested. Thus, psycho-social research embarks on the bold undertaking of interpreting the world of interpretive beings, governed by unconscious forces: the infinite, volatile, and constancy reconstructed world of meaning.

References Alvesson, M., & Skoldberg, K. (2005). Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an Ecology of Mind. New York: Ballantine. Beck, U., Giddens, A., & Lash, S. (1994). Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in Modern Social Order. London: Polity. Benjamin, J. (1990). The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism and the Problem of Domination. London: Virago.

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Bion, W. (1993). Attention and Interpretation. London: Karnac. Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou. New York: Simon and Schuster. Burr, V. (2004). Social Constructionism. London: Routledge. Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1991). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. London: Penguin. Clarke, S. (2006). From Enlightenment to Risk: Social Theory and Contemporary Society. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Deetz, S., & Kersten, S. (1983). Critical models of interpretive research. In: L. Putnam & M. Pacanowski (Eds.), Communication in Organizations (pp. 147–172). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage. Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Macmillan. Foucault, M. (1979). History of Sexuality. London: Allen Lane. Friere, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Plenum. Gadamer, H. G. (1975). Truth and Method. New York: Continuum. Gaventa, J., & Cornwall, A. (2001). Power and knowledge. In: P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry & Practice (pp. 70–80). London: Sage. Geertz, C. (2000). Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books. Giddens, A. (1976). New Rules of Sociological Method: A Positive Critique of Interpretative Sociologies. London: Hutchinson. Habermas, J. (2006). The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume 1: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. Cambridge: Polity. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2001). Doing Qualitative Research Differently. London: Sage. Kuhn, T. (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Kvale, S. (2002). The social construction of validity. In: N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), The Qualitative Inquiry Reader (pp. 299–326). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Morrow, R. (1994). Critical Theory and Methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Park, P. (2001). Knowledge and participatory research. In: P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry & Practice (pp. 81–90). London: Sage. Rorty, R. (1979). Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, Irony and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Sayer, A. (1992). Method in Social Science: A Realist Approach. London: Routledge. Torbert, W. (2001). The practice of action inquiry. In: P. Reason & H. Bradbury (Eds.), Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry & Practice (pp. 250–260). London: Sage. Young, R. (1994). Mental Space. London: Process Press.

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CHAPTER THREE

How to live and learn: learning, duration, and the virtual Lita Crociani-Windland

“. . . problematic Ideas are precisely the ultimate elements of nature and the subliminal objects of little perceptions. As a result, ‘learning’ always takes place in and through the unconscious, thereby establishing the bond of a profound complicity between nature and mind” (Deleuze, 1994, p. 205)

Introduction

T

his chapter aims to account for the need of a particular methodology, founded on the ontological perspective of the continental philosophy of Bergson and Deleuze, while aiming to outline some fundamental areas of convergence between their ideas and Bion’s work from a psychoanalytic perspective. Both perspectives acknowledge issues of fluid connectivity as present and constitutive of reality as an ontological starting point for research and attempt to establish the method by which they can be accessed and what this says about learning as a process. In order to balance the highly abstract nature of the concepts to be outlined, 51

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examples of how these issues were reflected in my research practice are given. The complexity of material and its dynamic unbounded quality challenges representation and calls for a pre-emptive attempt to balance the inevitable reduction implied by the representational medium of words. The image of an unusual sculpture project is offered at the outset as an alternative metaphor for this research approach. The chapter frames some of the differences between the psychoanalytic approach and continental philosophy, while pointing to areas of convergence in relation to how to access unconscious processes, before moving to an outline of Bion’s theory of learning and the beginning of a comparison of with some of Bergson’s related, though more positively formulated, ideas. One of the central concepts that the chapter attempts to flesh out in relation to these frameworks is the complexity and the relevance of lived experience and intuition within research processes. Having outlined the ontological and epistemological bases that underlie the importance of these aspects, it concludes by briefly referring to well established research paradigms within the social sciences, such as ethnography and grounded theory, as highly relevant and concordant with such a perspective, where psycho-social research might find a broad foundation for method.

Reflections on the writing of this chapter The use of art in anthropology as a means of expressing the most elusive and yet more poignant aspects of reality is attracting interest. Visual ethnography, used in anthropological and sociological research, has been a developing field of study in its own right. The use of visual data in sociological and anthropological research is well documented and theorised (Banks & Morphy, 1997; Chaplin, 1994; Pink, 2001; among many). My rationale for opening this chapter with images of an unusual artistic longitudinal project is manifold: images add, and are suggestive of, the different sensory dimensions of both inquiry and its representation within this chapter, letting images and words contextualize each other, while accepting the incompleteness of representation (Pink, 2001, pp. 96, 115). It is hard to capture affective dimensions in any form of representation. My aim has been to give them as much of a chance as

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Figure 1.

possible to seep through and around the edges of different kinds of accounts. Before attempting to outline the theories and methods central to this chapter content, I feel impelled to offer a narrative of the process of writing this chapter, which triggered an association I found extremely helpful. The abstract, boundless, and fluid nature of what I attempt to outline led to what seemed like endless editing (for a previous version see Crociani-Windland, 2003a), each new version offering what seemed just a different snapshot, a different face, of the ontology I was attempting to portray as a foundation of method. My writing seemed to alter depending on the material and stages of discovery I attempted to re-present. The first stage had a “loosely held” quality in my experience. There was something in the experiencing that was akin to looking into the middle distance, or something of the quality necessary to seeing a three-dimensional picture, where one’s gaze has to relax in order to be able to take in different levels of focus at the same time. As I began to analyse my experience, the process and writing became sharper. Sharp and dry are the words that come to mind to describe the quality of what is required in order to analyse experience. As I

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Figure 2.

Figure 3.

went further into the theoretical material writing became problematic. I began to experience writer’s block: there was too much material and it was all inter-related. I noticed this when discussing Bion’s notions of “O” and “faith in O”, but reached a peak when I

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Figure 4.

Figure 5.

approached Bergson’s and Deleuze’s work. Every sentence and paragraph triggered prolonged periods of internal activity and more reading, as countless ideas, possible patterns in which they might arrange themselves, as well as myriad applications crowded

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my mind. I kept on telling myself: think about the central theme, think clearly about where you want to lead. In the process, I found myself constantly questioning my use of words, as well as my understanding of words others used. I began to wonder if the structure of the paper needed fundamental editing. I tried a few major cuts, by using the real cut and paste, scissors and Sellotape method, to see if I could gain a better overview. I persisted, like a dog worrying a bone, I could not leave it alone, but I was finding it hard. I was suddenly reminded of one of David Nash’s projects. David, a sculptor and good friend, carved a wooden boulder from the heart of an oak in 1978. He set it in a stream in the Ffestiniog valley in North Wales, where he lives, and has since “chronicled its long stubborn voyage to the sea” (Nash, 1996, p. 16), its changes and movements through time. In 1994, the boulder got stuck under a low bridge and had to be helped out in order for its journey to continue. He sent me some pictures of it being freed from under the bridge at the time. The images spoke to me, I was reminded of the initial conversations that had helped to change my orientation in a research project in central Italy, as well as the potential role of willing readers, helpers who might ease me out from under the theoretical

Figure 6.

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Figure 7.

Figure 8.

bridge I was attempting to construct, bringing relational others to bear on my questions. What had been so problematic, I realized, had to do with approaching the wider aspects of the “ineffable” inherent in Bion’s, Bergson’s, and Deleuze’s conceptual frameworks. The boulder is on its way to the sea, I realized. This is pure

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fluidity. I was trying to make present, to re-present, what is beyond representation. The boulder became a metaphor for what I have attempted to express through words: holding a point of consciousness within the stream of life, without stopping fluidity. I wondered how far it had got. In my anxiety to know whether I could manage this, I had identified with the wooden boulder’s journey. I phoned David, to discover he had lost sight of the boulder until a couple of hours before, when someone who had originally been involved with the project, had phoned him to tell him the boulder was now resting on a sand bank on the river’s tidal estuary. This felt wonderfully appropriate: within smell of the sea, at the place where river and tide meet. Although the boulder has since reached the open sea, this is where I also stopped my analysis, somewhere near the sea of Bergson’s pure duration and Bion’s “O”.

Rediscovering the importance of living and intuition The ideas that we have in research are only in part a logical product growing out of a careful weighing of evidence . . . Often we have the experience of being immersed in a mass of confusing data . . . We come up with an idea or two. But still the data do not fall in any coherent pattern. Then we go on living with the data—and with the people—until perhaps some chance occurrence casts a

Figure 9.

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totally different light upon the data, and we begin to see a pattern that we have not seen before. This pattern is not purely an artistic creation. Once we think we see it, we must reexamine our notes and perhaps set out to gather new data in order to determine whether the pattern adequately represents the life we are observing or is simply a product of our imagination. Logic, then, plays an important part. But I am convinced that the actual evolution of research ideas does not take place in accord with the formal statements we read on research methods. The ideas grow up in part out of our immersion in the data and out of the whole process of living. Since so much of this process of analysis proceeds on the unconscious level, I am sure that we can never present a full account of it. [Whyte 1955, pp. 279–280]

Getting beyond familiarity is a problem most researchers will have to engage with at some point in their career. This is a problem that students in particular might find difficult to tackle. Most of the time little questioned notions of objectivity cloud the issues and researching within a known work environment or culture might bring these issues to the fore. My starting point for the issues dealt with in this chapter was, in fact, a research project that took me back to places in central Italy that have shaped me by birth and family association and that awakened me to the importance of these matters. Discovering the new is sometimes best achieved by going back to one’s origins, personally or in terms of disciplinary approaches. The journey has to go from knowing faded into unconsciousness from familiarity, to renewed wakefulness and knowing how we know. In other words, reflexivity is a fundamental aspect, both in individual and disciplinary terms. While there is now plenty of literature on methods, the relative lack of such in the early days of sociology and anthropology did not stop seminal research being produced. Action often precedes our ability to understand its complexity of processes and motivations. Living is a necessary prerequisite for study, which most often only reveals its complexity in hindsight and as a result of intense interest in the world, which includes oneself as well as external reality. How did early researchers manage without a rule book? As Whyte (ibid.) states “the ideas grow up in part out of our immersion in the data and out of the whole process of living”; much of the process of analysis proceeds at an unconscious level, yet logic and

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triangulation between internal responses and external observation plays an important part in these issues. How we can expand our understanding to include the most elusive aspects, how we can understand those elements that have often been thought of as too simplistic and unsophisticated, or, more specifically, unscientific, such as living and intuition, are some of the questions that may find elaboration through the following sections. Often, we pay little attention to the simple and obvious, and do not appreciate the complexity that underlies it. Furthermore, simple and obvious, as ideas, are not equivalent to easy or unproblematic.

Bergson’s “Intuition as a method” “. . . on the path which leads to that which is to be thought everything begins with sensibility” (Deleuze, 1994, p. 182). Reverie and processes of free association are well known to play a part in sensing and uncovering unconscious processes within psychoanalytic practice. If we accept the above proposition that much of the process of analysis in social science research occurs at an unconscious level, it follows that paying attention to, and making use of, such processes could add an important dimension to research. In other words, we could begin to “wake up” to internal and external processes and responses, which might be happening below the surface of consciousness, often shrugged off as too familiar, “commonsensical”, or trivial to be given much attention or consideration. An example of this might be a small, but crucial experience at the start of the research project mentioned earlier. A simple realization came to me as I looked at the landscape from the house where I was born; having known it all my life, I realized I could hardly appreciate it as many visitors to the house have done over the years. This discrepancy came unbidden into mind as I looked at the landscape and produced a response: I saw my not seeing. It was then not just the landscape that was altered by the realization; it was also my perception of myself as a seer. This altered perception of myself had created a loop, which in turn sharpened my attention. A double action had taken place; my mind had caught itself and I was awake. I realized how much I had taken for granted, because

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I was familiar with it. I had had a plan of research before the start of fieldwork, related to questions and themes such as people’s relation to land, body, and memory; these had been discussed and approved by other academics. Yet, this small moment of insight created a renewed openness to my environment in the then initial stages of research. It made me realize that the epistemological assumptions of my initial research proposal were being put into question in moments of leisurely discussion with friends and family, and I began to notice and consider far broader, yet maybe more fundamental, questions and issues. To refer back to Whyte’s (1955) earlier quote, it was living with the people and the data and a small “chance” occurrence that allowed me to see new patterns in familiar places, changing the course of my research. The process of bringing attention to bear on the conditions of our perception of the world is part of what Bergson meant by “intuition as a method”, which also informed Deleuze’s work. The first movement of such a method is attention to our perceptions and sensibilities: “. . . that which can only be sensed . . . moves the soul, ‘perplexes’ it” (Deleuze, 1994, p. 174). This is not a simple matter of recognition, but the sensing of problematic intensities (see later section), which lead to thought (ibid., p. 176). It is the attention to the perplexity, itself made up of multiple affective responses, which is potentially generative of thoughts new to the thinker. By raising intuition into a methodology, Bergson embedded reflexivity firmly in the research process as an integral part of it, something that Husserl (1991) later developed into fully fledged “phenomenology”. There is circularity: “My enquiring is present to me only when I am enquiring” (Barden, 1999, p. 33). Thus, research creates the opportunity for reflexivity and reflexivity in turn offers rewards to research by making our assumptions and processes visible: “The mind does not know itself truly and does not grasp itself except in its effort to discover a precise solution to a particular problem” (Lacroix, 1943, p. 197, cited in Barden, 1999, p. 33). It is not a coincidence that I had caught my inattention while looking at the Tuscan landscape, as the land and people’s attachment to it were central to my research questions: they were part of the problem I had posed. This implies a profound relationality between internal and external milieus. It is out of living through and withstanding this relational tension that insight emerges.

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In addition to this fundamental principle, Bergson’s intuitive method has three basic rules (Deleuze, 1991, Chapter One). The first rule centres on attention to the positing of a problem (ibid., p. 15) and is related to the second rule, which has to do with rediscovering the true differences in kind, or articulations of the real (ibid., p. 21): that is, the qualitative differences between and within aspects of reality. The third rule of “intuition as a method” has to do with stating and solving problems in terms of time rather than space (ibid., p. 31). As might become clearer in following sections, differences in kind and the tensions and interrelations between them are indeed fundamental, not only to this philosophical framework, but can be noted in the work of Bion, as evidenced below. Psychoanalytic emphasis on life histories as part of its case study method can be seen as an approach based on time and process. The way past experience can be intensely activated for new elaboration during therapeutic sessions implies a particular quality of time and experience, which can be seen to chime with the perspectives founded on the concepts of “duration” and the “virtual” that I am about to outline in more detail. Just as individuals’ biographies have a profound influence on the problematic nature of their lives, the ontological approaches I present broaden this logic beyond the individual domain. Societies are shaped by their environment and history; therefore, it follows that if we are to understand their dynamics we need to include inquiry into these aspects as fundamental to research.

Psychoanalytic methods and continental philosophy Let us consider the first part of the process: the attention of the mind to itself, in more depth. This serves as a link to the notions of “duration” and the “virtual”, which constitute essential aspects of Bergson’s and Deleuze’s ontology. I do this by introducing Wilfred Bion’s ideas on learning, before returning to those of Bergson, and linking these to Deleuzian extensions of his philosophy. While much psychoanalytic theory appears inimical to the vitalist stance of continental philosophy, I aim to demonstrate that, in spite of the differences, there is convergence between Bion’s theory of learning as a process and Bergsonian method. Both approaches postulate the

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existence of unconscious processes, which require the formulation of methods other than conceptual theory (though it could be argued that they offer differing accounts of the nature of such processes). Free association, reverie, reflection, and case histories are the stock in trade of psychoanalysis. These are relevant, though differently framed, to the method of intuition, as they are able to become tools for the perception of qualitative differences and processes. As I argued more fully elsewhere (Crociani-Windland, 2003a), focusing on process, that is “how” rather than “what” questions, allows the two frameworks to find a measure of agreement, although Bergson’s formulation is far more positive, as well as more complex.

Bion’s ideas on learning Wilfred Bion’s concept of “Faith in O” and approaching inquiry “without memory or desire” (Bion, 1970) came strongly to mind alongside Bergson’s ideas as I tried to understand the potency of what seemed a simple and obvious realization recounted earlier. At first, these thoughts also just came through in the form of “reverie” (Bion, 1962), echoes of similarities, dreamy recognitions. Bion distinguishes between knowledge and learning. He uses the symbol “K” to denote “knowing”, and “O” to denote “notknowing”. “O” stands for the reality of the moment, its truth, which is imminent (French & Simpson, 2000, p. 55) and ultimately ungraspable in an absolute sense. “O does not fall in the domain of knowledge or learning save incidentally; it can be ‘become’, but it cannot be ‘known’” (Bion, 1970, p. 26, also in French & Simpson, 2000, p. 55). Positing a tension between “K” and “O”, Bion located learning as the process of withstanding that tension and its discomfort: “Learning arises from working at the edges between knowing and not-knowing” (French & Simpson, 2000, p. 54). Noticing the puzzling and staying with it would be a Deleuzian way of framing this approach. The notion of tension is also of crucial importance in Deleuze’s formulation to which I will return. Readings of Bion’s ideas give particular prominence to the valuing of “O” over “K”, but “O” needs to be understood in its relational opposition to “K”. “K” is knowledge that, while forming a necessary and mostly sufficient foundation for existence by way of

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notions and assumptions, also hampers us by its limited and inherently partial nature. “O” is the “ineffable” reality of “truth-in-themoment” (French & Simpson, 2000, p. 55). Learning occurs if we maintain an attitude of active waiting in the tension between them. If we think back to Bergson’s attention of the mind to the object of inquiry and to itself, we see a similar process being outlined in Bion. Attending to the truth in the moment is an attitude of attention to the processes that arise in the tension between what is unknown and what we know. The value placed on not-knowing and one’s own realization of it is not a denial of the possibility of learning or of the value of knowledge; rather, it is the acknowledgement of its infinite nature and of the inadequacy inherent in representation, also acknowledged by Whyte (1955). The key to the difference between “K” and “O” is what Bergson defined as a difference in kind. My suggestion here is that Bion and others in the psychoanalytic world, as well as the mystic traditions from which inspiration might have been derived, have been expressing in their own, often poetic, metaphors and paradoxical statements what Bergson would have described in terms of “quality” and “quantity”. (Deleuze [1991] points out that Bergson, for convenience, used the terms quality and quantity as shorthand for far more complexity. I am following the same practice here for the sake of simplicity.) Perhaps we should consider “O” as a qualitative, dynamic, “virtual” and unconscious aspect of reality, which can be experienced in the moment, but cannot be fully grasped and represented due to its infinite potentiality, with “K” as its quantitative, static, representational, and conscious counterpart. Existence partakes of both, therefore learning and method must take both into account. In spite of the similarity between the concepts outlined so far, Bergson appears far more positive than Bion about the possibility of learning, though both value process over result and prize attentiveness as the ultimate tool of inquiry. Bion’s insistence on the value of not-knowing, as opposed to knowing, has a disturbing edge. “Discard your memory; discard the future tense of your desire: forget them both, both what you knew and what you want, to leave space for a new idea” (Bion, 1980, p. 11) are negative injunctions, which could be interpreted in dramatic terms. “Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate”, “All hope

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abandon, ye who enter here”, as Dante saw written on the doors of hell in his Divine Comedy (1889, Inferno, III, p. 9), comes to mind. Bergson’s concept of duration and its dual nature offers no less difficult ways to understand a little more of the un-nameable, but they are stated in more positive terms. Bion spoke of “O” as that which can be “become”, rather than known, save incidentally; Bergson pointed to the body as the site of both consciousness and “becoming”, or transformation (Watson, 1998). Bergson’s dualities never imply a separation between mind and body, rather different modalities of action and perception.

Duration The starting point for this analysis was the mind’s attention to its object and to itself, which applies both to the initial research experience briefly summarized earlier as well as to Bion’s theories. By delving further into Bergson’s and Deleuze’s elaborations of Bergsonian ontology, the relevance of the issues already outlined is extended to issues of identity. What is known as Bergson’s concept of “duration” is complex and multi-faceted, having wide-ranging implications for different aspects of reality such as our concepts of time and space, perception and consciousness. I isolate those aspects of his work that have direct relevance to the issue of “intuition” in research. In reality “things . . . are always mixtures” and “only tendencies are simple and pure” (Deleuze, 1999, p. 45, original italics). The tendencies referred to are intensive and extensive. Intensity is experienced in the form of affects, which ground and guide our experience. A self-referential process is necessary to discover this in the first place, taking note of it, in other words. This is “intuition” in a Bergsonian sense, which finds its foundation in a concept of “duration” as comprehensive of a dual nature: a homogeneous, quantitative aspect, which is identified with extension, that is, space and spatialized time (i.e., clock time), and a heterogeneous, qualitative one, identified with intension or intensity, that is lived time, flux, change, the way in which time can have different qualities depending on our engagement. The latter is what he refers to as the basis of pure duration, i.e., the virtual (Bergson, 2001; Deleuze, 1991). (Time

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is a good example of these two tendencies: clock time is spatialized and homogenous, but what Bergson primarily highlights is a different time dynamic, belonging to the virtual or pure duration. This is marked by intensity and continuity, as in the example of music.) Bergson (2001) gave many examples of this duality as embedded in our modes of perceiving reality. One of the examples of a qualitative aspect that recurs in his writing is music. A tune is an audible pattern, rather than just a sequence of individual notes. We experience it qualitatively/intensively; it moves us. The fact that it can also be divided into its components, i.e., its quantitative aspects, or that we can take each note in succession is not music or what we value music for. Edmund Husserl (1991) tackled similar issues at the hand of “melody”. How do we retain a consciousness of different notes in such a way that we perceive a melody, rather than single notes in each present moment? His answer was to coin the notions of “retention” and “protention”, the first being the mode of consciousness by which the past is in the present, rather than represented within it; the second is an orientation towards the future that also allows it presence in the moment. This involves a “continuum” of consciousness. The flowing unbounded nature of this “continuum” is what is at issue in all the theories explored here. This continuum is not only a continuum of consciousness, but also of nature. I believe this to be a different, but relevant, account for the possibility of reliving the past, on which psycho-dynamic practice is founded. What I am suggesting here is twofold: first, an ontological basis is given, which accounts for what have been common practices in psycho-analysis; second, this basis does not relate simply to the nature of individuals, but extends to all of reality, including the social sphere. This validates the use of a number of practices and techniques developed within psychoanalytic practice, though not all currents of psychoanalysis are as easy to reconcile with these perspectives. I offer the following section on identity as an illustration of a fluid and dynamic perspective on the self.

A duration based notion of dynamic identity Identity, in Bergson’s formulation, is a dynamic concept, which, though hard to grasp, does not entail the concept of a separate

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entity that moves (Bergson, 1974). What Bergson is pointing us towards, Deleuze notes, is Not things nor states of things which differ in nature, it is not characters, but tendencies. This is why the conception of specific difference is not satisfactory: it is not to the presence of characters that we must pay attention, but to their tendencies to develop themselves. [Deleuze, 1999, p. 44]

Bergson’s concept of pure duration rests on the idea of movement, tendencies, and consciousness as indivisible, qualitative events. This, in his view, is the fundamental self (2001, p. 128): Pure duration is the form which the succession of our conscious states assumes when our ego lets itself live, when it refrains from separating its present state from its former states. For this purpose it need not be entirely absorbed in the passing sensation or idea; for then, on the contrary, it would no longer endure. Nor need it forget its former states: it is enough that, in recalling these states, it does not set them alongside its actual state as one point alongside another, but forms both the past and the present states into an organic whole, as happens when we recall the notes of a tune, melting, so to speak, into one another. [Bergson, 2001, p. 100]

One of the operative statements in this passage is “lets itself live”, without needing to abandon memory. Superficially, this could be seen as contradicting Bion’s ideas. The principal distinction Bergson makes had to do with allowing all the elements, such as memory and the present, also mentioned by Bion, to blend in a continuous indivisible whole, without needing to deny the past, or fix it, and without attempting to predetermine the content of the future. This way, the past and the present can form a new unity, which can only be apprehended as a movement of quality/intensity. Bergson’s statement is different from Bion’s only superficially. Faimberg (2000, p. 84) recalls a conference where Bion approved of an analyst’s interpretation, which had relied on memory “because the memory had arisen spontaneously while the analyst was listening without memory or desire” (original italics). This points us towards a different stance, something subtle and hard to express. Bergson (2001, p. 100) describes a minimum requirement, which is simple, yet goes

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against the trend of quantitative analysis: do not set sensations or ideas as one point alongside another. What he describes, therefore, is a particular quality of loose attention encompassing past and present in a non-spatialized, non-representational manner (2001, Chapter II). It is our habit, as rational beings, to arrange thoughts in static spatial sequences, such as categories and classifications, ordered by number, hierarchically structured and bounded. The creation of boundaries facilitates focus, but might also preclude sight of potentially important aspects and links. What is imperative is that those boundaries are not determined primarily according to prior classifications, but from direct experiences and observations, to include all manner of responses, related not to abstract categories of events, but to specific instances. This is what the theories outlined have at their heart. They require attention to fluid processes, affective responses, implicating both body and mind. Bergson spoke of dreaming as a state of pure duration that escapes the gradual incursion of space into the domain of pure consciousness (2001, p. 126). Bion spoke of “alpha elements” as dreamlike, pictorial images coming unbidden into the mind and constituting the first articulations on which thinking may find a basis (Bion, cited in Bion Talamo, 1997). It was in my dreamy, open questioning of the landscape of Tuscany that a first insight came about. It is not as if I had no knowledge of Bion or Bergson. The freshness of insight was given by my living it, experiencing it directly, which brought some of the theories alive and allowed me to engage more fully with them, letting them under my skin. The reverie was strong enough to wake me up. The importance of dreams to psychoanalytic practice is, of course, well established. What Bion introduced is the importance of dreamlike states of consciousness during waking time as a foundation for thinking, within an original framework of a theory of learning. Bergson’s work might provide further clarification as to their nature. Bergson does not demand that we abandon memory and desire. This is an impossibility, both in terms of his concept of duration and, in Bion’s case particularly, in terms of an acknowledgement of the unconscious. What is needed is a different way of holding them. By setting out the minimum conditions in terms of allowing the past and the present to blend into an organic whole, as a qualitative heterogeneous “multiplicity” (2001, p. 128), Bergson

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offered more positive guidance to achieving something similar to what Bion characterized as holding the tension between the opposite terms of knowing and not knowing. Bergson, as did Deleuze later, avoided a relational dynamic of opposition and negation, while specifying the difference in kind between two different modes by which consciousness unfolds. He did this by approaching consciousness with a “how” question. Rather than asking what it is, he asked what is its nature or tendency, how does it express itself. It is this important differentiation that allowed him to go further and define basic method, a method that concerns the “how” of “intuition”. Pure duration is, in Bergson’s view, the fundamental self, which is discovered through a “vigorous effort of analysis, which will isolate the fluid inner states from their image, first refracted, then solidified in homogeneous space” (2001, p. 129). As the self thus refracted, and thereby broken to pieces, is much better adapted to the requirements of social life in general and language in particular, consciousness prefers it, and gradually loses sight of the fundamental self. [ibid., p. 128]

What we must remember, though, is that, in line with earlier statements, what he meant by “fundamental self” is also not a “what”, but a “how”, related to the fluid connectivity of intensive tendencies, rather than a static representational and represented self. Recovering our access to pure duration is a double move: it reflexively reveals our “multiplicitous” fluid inner states as well as a little more of the Absolute. (The concept of multiplicity is fundamental to both Bergson and Deleuze and one of the most challenging and abstract notions to define. Taken from Riemann’s mathematical concept, two types of multiplicity are distinguished, characterized in terms already used: (1) extensive, numerical, and homogeneous, which Bergson linked to space and quantity and which can be divided without changing its nature; (2) intensive, continuous, and heterogeneous, which Bergson links to time and quality and which changes in nature by being divided. It denotes a patchwork of different elements being brought into intense conjunction. Its changing of nature by division is what justified Bergson’s use of the terms quality or qualitative as sufficient to denote these issues and

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their relation to time, duration, and the “virtual” [Bergson, 1988, 2001; Deleuze, 1991, Chapter II; Roffe, 2005, pp. 176–177].) This could be seen as a precursor to postmodern conceptions of identity. What I experienced in my research at various times, which links back to the issues of familiarity and reflexivity, was a recovery of a little more of myself as well as a renewed relationship to what I thought I knew. This was related to a rediscovery of the external present chiming with my internal past, by way of reminiscences and stirrings of tonalities, gestures, flicks of the head; just what Deleuze (1994, p. 107) more precisely designated as “a passive synthesis, an involuntary memory which differs in kind from any active synthesis associated with voluntary memory”, and which arises within forgetting. My experience was related to a particular form of fluid identity, founded on movement and sound in particular, and which became available to thought by paying attention to moments of unbidden memory, by allowing reverie to play a part. Deleuze’s work in Difference and Repetition (1994) has indeed many points of contact with the theories outlined thus far.

The productivity of the problem: reaching for roots in the virtual The outline sketched in earlier sections has already been concerned with that which defies representation, presented in terms of “duration” and “O”. The concept of the “virtual”, already developed by Bergson (1988) and related to “pure duration”, is fundamental to Deleuzian theory. “Exactly what Proust said of states of resonance must be said of the virtual: ‘Real, without being actual, ideal without being abstract’” (Deleuze, 1994, p. 260). This is a realm of potentiality, of genetic conditions, of forces, and of structure, belonging to everyday life and what he terms the “object”. Deleuze goes as far as to define it as “strictly a part of the real object—as though the object had one part of itself in the virtual into which it plunged as though into an objective dimension” (ibid.) The attention to the object, which is plunged into the virtual, a realm beyond thought, is capable of arousing sensation, puzzlement, and thought (ibid., p. 176). The object in this context could be a flag or other artefact, or a practice or a puzzling set of events or responses within a

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research project. An example of this could be my noticing and questioning the relation of flags to identity. We are so used to flags being used and understood as symbols of identity, yet I found myself puzzling over why they are so ubiquitous in their particular form. It seemed to me, on reflection, that just as the flags’ colourful cloth moves in the wind but the flags themselves remain anchored to their staff, so does identity appear to be constituted around fluidity and structure in a similar, though not as static, relation as their representation in the form of a flag may lead us to think. Questioning, or, to use a Deleuzian term, problematizing that which is so common and familiar as to be taken for granted, is a foundation for learning. In this simple example it took me behind the object to thinking about of what it might be an expression, or sign. Deleuze (1994, p. 204) also makes a distinction between knowledge and learning. Knowledge, in his view, “designates only generality of concepts or the calm possession of a rule enabling solution” (ibid.). Learning has to do with specificities and is directly related to the problematic nature of objects. In his own words: Problematic structure is part of objects themselves, allowing them to be grasped as signs, just as the questioning or problematising instance is a part of knowledge allowing its positivity and its specificity to be grasped in the act of learning. More profoundly still, Being (what Plato calls the Idea) “corresponds” to the essence of the problem or the question as such. [ibid., p. 76, original italics]

There is an obvious correlation here to what Bion referred to as the truth-in-the-moment, but also, as in Bergson, a positive framing of knowledge generated by questioning and arrived at through activity. Deleuze (1994, p. 204) speaks of an “ideal” (of the Idea, which, as he says, corresponds to the essence of the “problem” as such) apprenticeship and of mobilizing all the faculties by holding the continuity of questioning in the midst of the discontinuities of the answers. Deleuze gives the example of the Idea of the sea as a system of liaisons, or differential relations, the totality of which is incarnated in the real movement of the waves. “To learn to swim is to conjugate the distinctive points of our bodies with the singular points of the objective Idea” (ibid., p. 205). What is implied is an experiential style of learning and a holistic approach. Deleuze

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speaks of something in the world forcing us to think. “This something is an object not of recognition, but of a fundamental encounter” (ibid., p. 176, original italics), something that can only be sensed and does not reside in thought itself. Ideas/problems are virtual objects which give form to intensive processes, which are themselves actualized as extensive and qualitative form (i.e., actual phenomena). Learning thus involves encounters with the virtual and intensive conditions of existence. This cannot take place exclusively through the concept (representational knowledge), since the concept is itself an effect of these virtual processes. This is why an alternative method (alternative to conceptual analysis) is required; thus, we need intuition, and modes of learning which force a more direct encounter with the intensive conditions of existence.

Time, problems and genealogy According to Deleuzian ontology, the world is an open system, where a myriad of variable influences combine to give rise to differences, which may or may not resemble each other to varying degrees. The very idea of truth is destabilized by such a conception, just as much as the idea of identity. In such a fluid world, importance and relevance, rather than truth, are the key concepts (Delanda, 2002, p. 5) by which to select what might constitute evidence of a reality, founded on both what can be directly observed and its virtual components, the generative conditions that create the problem to which what we can observe is an adaptive response, which is always in the making (Deleuze, 1994). Access to this realm has been at the centre of discussion up to now; the relevance of this now becomes determined more concretely. It is important to do this not only to reflexively avoid assumptions due to familiarity or ingrained patterns of thought and to access the truthin-the moment; doing this gives access to potential observations of what might have shaped the reality under scrutiny. The virtual connects, as Bergson clearly points out, to time in a broad and open sense, and to the object in an intrinsic way. Noticing the remarkable, the interesting, and the puzzling in Deleuze’s view is the route to asking the right questions (as it was

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for Plato). My renewed encounter with the familiar landscape was a starting point for further inquiry into the environmental conditions affecting and shaping the reality of this area through time and historical processes. Puzzling encounters with what Deleuze would term signs, not only the land, but other objects of attachment, such as the flags, but also the dedications of Siena to Mary and child, or other recurrent images, such as the animal or natural symbols that denote each Siennese ward (see Crociani-Windland 2003b, 2005), referred me back to historical themes in many and varied genealogical linkages. Puzzling practices needed to be questioned in depth. Some of these practices and traditions included the Madonna, as virgin and mother, being the queen of the city, having been given its keys in 1260; that the wild, little regulated, competitive Palio race (a horse race) is dedicated to her; that the winning contrada becomes the child of the city and by rights its members can display their new-found youthfulness by sucking dummies during their victory parades. Although I cannot expand on this in this context, aspects of fluid becoming presented by Deleuze and Guattari (1999) in terms of becoming woman/child and becoming animal became more understandable and beautifully illustrated by the above, while giving evidence of the power of their framework to make sense of what could otherwise be seen as superstitious, quasi-pagan traditions, but are, in fact, signs of deep processes of connectivity, affective and intense dynamics. What I found myself trying to present throughout my work was a network of associations full of redundancies and exuberant nonlinear relations. In such a wealth of material, I selected what affected me by presenting me with questions, and what answers emerged are, by the very process of selection and representation involved in writing, interpretive and partial. In terms of both a Bergsonian and Deleuzian ontology, it may be possible to think of learning in terms of interpretation, based on physiological and reflexive processes, which allow a new interpretation of reality, which is itself in a continuous process of transformation. This can now be seen as discovering the tendency or “intention”, to use a Husserlian term, that is the relational quality belonging to the object of inquiry, given to it by its genetic conditions and its developmental history, which can only be sensed as “signs”, which puzzle and present a problem.

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It is through the interaction of these forces, from nature, ecological or environmental morphogenetic factors, developmental factors, in which history is profoundly implicated, that culture arises. The ontologies and epistemologies presented imply a naturalization of culture as well as a broader notion of unconscious processes, as the quote given at the start of this chapter intimates. I will return to this later.

Methods By examining the above theories, I have attempted to go back to very basic issues. If research is the pursuit of learning, the process by which we acquire it has to be defined. The process of research is the bringing into consciousness of what is around us and within us, often at least partially dulled by familiarity. We rely on a myriad of assumptions all the time in order both to make sense of our surroundings and to be capable of action within them. In my research, through engaging with empirical data and reflexive practice, I have been stretched into areas of inquiry that have led in unexpected directions, but which have proved to be rich ground for study. The inclusion of reflexive data and processes proved central to my inquiry. The use of my research diary, personal reflections and reminiscences, dream contents, and so on, formed the foundations of this reflexive method. The implications for research methodology implied by this analysis are manifold. Accepting the frameworks outlined acknowledges a qualitative ontological aspect of reality, which makes the use of qualitative methodology a research imperative, rather than an option. Working within these ontological assumptions also implies a revaluation of the processes of synthesis as well as those of analysis. A natural capacity for synthesis is implied in Bergson’s image of the “organic whole” formed by past and present “melting so to speak into one another” (2001, p. 100). Synthesis underlies qualitative processes, both in their production and in our perception of them. This arises out of a process of letting ourselves live and forget, allowing memories and associations to emerge, rather than being actively sought, while holding fast to questions, which, none the less, also need to remain open to re-elaboration. Reflexivity, in

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this light, is the attention of the mind to its own qualitative capacity of synthesis on which the analytical capacity is brought to bear. This is also the area where triangulation (Denzin, 1978; Janesick, 2000) between some of the methods, concepts, and theories of psychoanalysis, social theory as well as other fields of research, can open areas of understanding of the interaction between individuals in groups and society: By a system of cross-checking, following simultaneously several methods, each of which will lead only to possibilities or probabilities: by their mutual interplay the results will neutralize or reinforce one another, leading to reciprocal verification and correction. [Bergson, 1977, p. 274]

It is the interdependency of these areas that may form a complex, yet vital field of research able to bring new understanding to a range of social processes. A complex “assemblage” is created between researcher, researched reality, theory, methods, and the reader. What follows from this perspective is also more specifically related to some very well established axioms of method: fieldwork, as a living involvement in research as established in ethnographic practice (see Burgess, 1984; Coffey, 1999; Hammersley, 1972; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983; among others) can be viewed as essential; the adoption of an emergent paradigm such as Glaser and Strauss’s (1967) “grounded theory” can be viewed as honouring the principles of “without memory or desire”; the use of unstructured or long interviews (Burgess, 1982; Clarke, 2002; Hollway and Jefferson, 2000) becomes an important part of allowing those who live the reality to be researched not only to give it expression, but to provide us with the puzzles that might take us further and maybe help to identify and evidence the tensions and issues that might be shaping their reality. Taking note of our own responses is, as I have argued, a fundamental part of the process, for which ideas and practices from psychoanalysis become extremely relevant, if not an indispensable addition. What Bergson and Deleuze’s frameworks offer, in addition, is a way of thinking about groups and society in terms of a duality of process, i.e., static and dynamic processes, rather than of body and mind. Affect and the virtual are

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foundational concepts for the dynamic aspects, which are nonlinear and pre-representational, unconscious, yet powerfully affecting of the realities they are implicated in creating. While, by definition, they are hard to represent and work with, the effort is, in my experience, well worth it.

References Alighieri, D. (1889). La Divina Commedia. Florence: G. Barbera Editore. Banks, M., & Morphy, H. (1997). Rethinking Visual Anthropology. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Barden, G. (1999). Method in philosophy. In: J. Mullarkey (Ed.), The New Bergson (pp. 32–40). Manchester: Manchester University Press, Angelaki Humanities. Bergson, H. (1974). The Creative Mind. New York: Citadel Press. Bergson, H. (1977 [1st English translation, 1935]). The Two Sources of Morality and Religion. Paris: Notre Dame University Press. Bergson, H. (1988) [1st English translation, 1919]. Matter and Memory. New York: Zone Books. Bergson, H. (2001) [1st English translation, 1919]. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. New York: Dover. Bion, W. R. (1962). Learning from Experience. London: Heinemann. Bion, W. R. (1970). Attention and Interpretation. London: Tavistock. Bion, W. R. (1980). Bion in New York and Sao Paulo. Strath Tay, Perthshire: Clunie Press. Bion Talamo, P. (1997). Bion: a Freudian innovator. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 14: 47–59. Burgess, R. G. (1982). The unstructured interview as conversation. In: R. D. Burgess (Ed.), Field Research: A Source Book and Field Manual (pp. 164–169). London: Allen & Unwin. Burgess, R. (1984). In the Field: An Introduction to Field Research. London: George, Allen & Unwin. Chaplin, E. (1994). Sociology and Visual Representation. London: Routledge. Clarke, S. (2002). Learning from experience: psycho-social research methods in the social sciences. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 173–174. Coffey, A. (1999). The Ethnographic Self: Fieldwork and the Representation of Identity. London: Sage.

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Crociani-Windland, L. (2003a). Learning as a lived and living process— reflexivity in the light of Bion and Bergson. Journal for Psycho-Social Studies, 2(1), available online at: http://www.btinternet.com/~ psycho_social/Vol2/JPSS2-LCW1.html. Crociani-Windland, L. (2003b). What can’t be cured . . . may be enjoyed. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 3(1): 101–120. Crociani-Windland, L. (2005). Trusting aggression: the Siennese war machine as social capital. In: A. Moran & S. Watson (Eds.), Trust, Risk and Uncertainty (pp. 203–233). London: Palgrave Macmillan. Delanda, M. (2002). Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. London: Continuum. Deleuze, G. (1991). Bergsonism. New York: Zone Books. Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and Repetition. London: Athlone Press. Deleuze, G. (1999). Bergson’s conception of difference. In: J. Mullarkey (Ed.), The New Bergson (pp. 42–65). Manchester: Manchester University Press, Angelaki Humanities. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1999). A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Athlone Press. Denzin, N. (1978). The Research Act: A Theoretical Introduction to Sociological Methods (2nd edn). New York: McGraw Hill. Faimberg, H. (2000). Whom was Bion addressing? “Negative capability” and “listening to listening”. In: P. Bion Talamo, F. Borgogno, & S. A. Merciai (Eds.), W.R. Bion Between Past and Future. London: Karnac. French, R., & Simpson, P. (2000). Learning at the edges between knowing and not-knowing: “translating” Bion. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 1: 54–77. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago, IL: Aldine. Hammersley, M. (1972). What’s Wrong with Ethnography? London: Routledge. Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1983). Ethnography: Principles in Practice. London: Routledge. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. Husserl, E. (1991). On the Phenomenology of the Consciousness of Internal Time. J. Barnett Brough (Trans.). Dordrecht: Kluwer. Janesick, V. J. (2000). The choreography of qualitative research design: minuets, improvisations, and crystallization. In: N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of Qualitative Research: Participative Inquiry & Practice (2nd edn) (pp. 379–400). London: Sage.

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Nash, D. (1996). Forms into Time. London: Academy Editions. Pink, S. (2001). Visual Ethnography. London: Sage. Roffe, J. (2005). Multiplicity. In: A. Parr (Ed.), The Deleuze Dictionary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Watson, S. (1998). The new Bergsonism-discipline, subjectivity and freedom. Radical Philosophy, 92: 6–16. Whyte, W. F. (1955). Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum (2nd edn). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

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CHAPTER FOUR

When words are not enough Julian Manley

Introduction

T

his chapter postulates the importance of developing a methodology that allows visual imagery to emerge as a research tool in the field of psycho-social research. I begin by discussing the philosophical background that encouraged relegating the use of the image in research. I link our emphasis on linguistics to Descartes and trace the growth of an alternative philosophy—that would give greater space and breadth to other forms of thinking—to Spinoza. Spinozian thinking, I suggest, is revived and re-embodied in Deleuze, particularly his concept of “affect”, borrowed and developed from Spinoza. I then discuss how “affect” is related to image-making by considering some of the concepts of memory, time, and duration of another of Deleuze’s philosophical mentors, Henri Bergson. In talking about image, I will be pondering the extent of its usefulness in the kind of qualitative research that is typical of psycho-social work, that is to say, work that demands an attitude of reflexivity and an understanding of subjectivity and intersubjectivity in the researcher. This is work that takes emotions, their projections, transferences, and 79

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countertransferences seriously. My theoretical discussion then leads me to consider the practice of working with images in group work. Finally, I discuss the usefulness of applying techniques of image analysis to group work and suggest that this could be developed into a way of working that can be defined as “psycho-social” and subsequently used in a research context.

Philosophical background For Descartes, in the seventeenth century, the thinking process itself was reduced to the action of the brain as a disembodied organ. Rational thought expressed through the “thinking” logic of writing or numbers was part of what it meant to be human. This led to the sweeping aside of the importance and value of a wider, more embracing attitude to existence, which might have included, for example, emotion and feeling as part of an “embodied mind” and as legitimate ways of “thinking”. Cartesian thought leads us to conclude that it is the content of things that matters, what can be seen, identified, and classified, rather than the processes. The idea that we might think using processes that were not founded in the thinking brain was not, and has not been, generally acceptable as science. Perhaps such “processes” could only be admitted in the expression of the creative arts, that is to say, in the “unscientific” world. Concepts of duality and linearity became accepted as necessary truths in our understanding of the world. We now know that a Cartesian attitude to understanding how people think is a little limited. Approaches in psycho-social thinking help us to break out of this Cartesian mould and the key to this new openness is in the “psycho” part of our compound word. For Foucault, and I believe this to be a very telling declaration, the arrival of psychology changed all Durkheimian style social thinking forever: . . . one can say that, starting with Freud, all the human sciences became, in one way or another, sciences of the psyche. And the old realism à la Emile Durkheim—conceiving of society as a substance in opposition to the individual who is also a kind of substance incorporated into society—appears to me to be unthinkable now . . . all there is now, basically, is psychology. [Foucault, 1998, p. 252]

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The alternative to Cartesian thought was incarnated in the figure of his contemporary rival, Baruch Spinoza. The essential difference that interests me here is Spinoza’s awareness that thinking could not be reduced to the bare logics of a rational brain. He recognized that there was more to human behaviour than could be summarized by Cartesian approaches. Key to Spinoza’s ideas was his concept of “affectus”, or “affect”, which has been given a special relevance today in the work of Gilles Deleuze. If we accept the idea of “affect” in its Spinozian and Deleuzian sense, then we are some way forward in our understanding of how psycho-social research functions. So what is “affect”? “Affect” is a term that has acquired a sense of complexity largely due to a conceptual difficulty in translation. Deleuze uses the term “affect” from the Spinozian use of the Latin word “affectus”. Spinoza, who wrote The Ethics in Latin, uses a word that has no direct translation into English, although it is usually translated as “emotion”. This is how Samuel Shirley, the translator of one of the more recent editions of The Ethics, puts it: Emotion (affectus). This is the usual translation of “affectus”, and the translator had best retain it in default of a more accurate term. It certainly seems odd to speak of “the emotion of desire”, and this is sufficient indication that “affectus” is not quite the equivalent of our “emotion”. [Spinoza, 1992, p. 28]

The best definition of “affectus” is, naturally, Spinoza’s own: By emotion (affectus) I understand the affections of the body by which the body’s power of activity is increased or diminished, assisted or checked, together with the ideas of these affections. Thus if we can be the adequate cause of one of these affections, then by emotion I understand activity, otherwise passivity. (III, def. 3) [ibid., p. 103]

The essential nature of “affectus” in Spinoza’s definition is first, that it combines body and mind, rather than separating them in Cartesian fashion, and second, it is always in activity. This is the way Deleuze understands and therefore adopts the term “affect”. In Deleuze, the idea of “affect” always being active, never passive, is connected to the concept of “becoming”. Affect is always in a state

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of becoming, always in transition between other states that may be passive; that is to say, our images are always “becoming” affects, in transformation and conjunction with the mind. Affect does not “belong” to either the subject or the exterior world; it is a thing in itself. In Deleuze’s words: Affects are no longer feelings or affections; they go beyond the strength of those who undergo them. Sensations, percepts, and affects are beings whose validity lies in themselves and exceeds any lived. [Deleuze & Guattari, 1994, p. 164, original italics]

Later, Deleuze defines affects as “nonhuman becomings of man” (ibid., p. 169, orignal italics) and gives an example from Moby Dick: Ahab really does have perceptions of the sea, but only because he has entered into a relationship with Moby Dick that makes him a becoming-whale and forms a compound of sensations that no longer needs anyone: ocean. [ibid.]

Affect, then, has a space and a duration: It is a zone of indetermination, of indiscernability, as if things, beasts, and persons (Ahab and Moby Dick . . .) endlessly reach that point that immediately precedes their natural differentiation. This is what is called an affect. [ibid., p. 173, original italics]

The reason this is so essential to contemporary thought is that the idea of affect requires an understanding of a holistic space and time that indissolubly connects what otherwise would be Cartesian dualities. This connection is a “process”, thus, the emphasis on activity, action, and transition, rather than “content”, with its corresponding inactivity, passivity, and stasis. What, then, does this mean for the researcher in the area of the psycho-social? In the first place, understanding any social data, in whatever form that data takes, can be better understood as data of process rather than content. If affect is truly a definition of an essential function of how the individual think-feels in relation to her environment, and if this can only be perceived in movement, as suggested above, then we can never properly analyse the content of data without taking into account the constantly changing and multi-layered, moving aspect of that data. This is why Clarke, for example, suggests a methodology for data collection using open

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interviews that reduces the importance of classification of data into content by taking away intervention and interpretation and encouraging free association. The word often used to describe this process is “story telling” or “narrative”. In Clarke’s words, a psycho-social approach to this kind of data collection might consist of: First, the use of unstructured interviews; second, a minimum of intervention from the researcher; the ethos behind this is to encourage free association which allows unconscious ideas to come to the fore; third—and most important—as we are not psychoanalysts, psychoanalytical interpretation does not take place in the interview, but in the analysis of the data collected. Finally, the interviews are transcribed in great detail which allows researchers to “immerse” themselves in the interview material. [Clarke, 2002, p. 174]

It seems to me that the real problem that psycho-social research has to face is in the moment after Clarke’s final sentence above, the “now what?” moment. The “immersion” into the material leads to a welter of images, as Clarke notes in quoting Hollway and Jefferson: After a whole day working on the transcripts of a particular participant we would feel inhabited by that person in the sense that our imagination was full of him or her. The impact such work had is best demonstrated by the fact that the interviewees would appear in our dreams and waking fantasies . . . [quoted in Clarke, 2002, p. 179]

Clarke then goes on to discuss how projective identification can be used to interpret data. My concern here, however, is what happens to the images that Hollway and Jefferson identify as being so powerfully present during the process of data analysis? Where are these images? What value do they have? Can they be relevant to our research? These are all difficult questions. As for the location of the images (that Hollway and Jefferson suggest are in the unconscious: “The process of dreaming about them suggests that our developing insights into a person were not occurring just at a conscious level” [quoted in Clarke, 2002, p.179]), it seems to me that we need to understand that images exist in a holistic sense, i.e., not just in some “unconscious” part of our brain. Their value as data and evidence rather than their mere intrinsic value depends on

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agreed criteria related to values of subjectivity. This agreement in criteria is an attitudinal consensus among all concerned: subject(s) of enquiry, researcher(s), and reader(s). In this case, the necessary consensus is openly acknowledged, whereas in the case of “objective” data the consensus is hidden by the illusion of objectivity. The question of relevance must be understood in a human and organic sense; that is to say, if our object of enquiry is “social” and if “social” is about human systems, then whatever emerges in the course of any interchange, including, for example, the open interview, must be considered relevant. By “understanding the image in a holistic sense”, I mean, following the concept of “affect” already discussed above, that the creation of an image is a process of constant interchange with our human and physical environment. It does not just pop out of our brains. In Deleuze’s example above, a connection with the environment is expressed in “nonhuman becomings of man”. In the case of Moby Dick, Deleuze shows how Ahab’s obsession with Moby Dick becomes an image that fuses Ahab with the whale (“becomingwhale”) and the sensation of loneliness that results from this becomes the image of the ocean. In turn, the whale had “become” Ahab by previously having bitten off and eaten his leg. Thus, the rationale for the whaling expedition, to hunt and kill whales for sale and profit, becomes, through the imagery, a study of obsession, revenge, sadness, and loneliness. In approaching the images in this way, we can also see how an image is an affect and vice versa. It is through the image–affect in Moby Dick that we can understand the all-important overriding emotions that drive human motivation and desire. It is my contention that the tapping of this resource can lead us to a greater understanding of information garnered from different methodological strands of psycho-social research. In the first place, we need to understand the relationship between language and image. Image, for Deleuze, had to be more than the “pure” perception that he identified with what he understood as the limits of phenomenology. Although the latter accepted intersubjectivity, it was limited to perception in space and took insufficient notice of the image in time, which for Bergson, Deleuze, and Foucault was essential as a means of understanding true subjectivity, since the subject is forever moving in time. In other words, an image cannot be “pure”. Even a still image moves

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through time in our thinking minds. So, subjective knowledge has a constant role to play in the interchanges between perceiver and perceived. This accounts for Deleuze’s praise for Foucault’s work on Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, the picture of a pipe combined with the words denying the very existence of the image we “see”: This is Foucault’s major achievement: the conversion of phenomenology into epistemology. For seeing and speaking means knowing (savoir), but we do not see what we speak about, nor do we speak about what we see; and when we see a pipe we shall always say (in one way or another): “this is not a pipe”, as though intentionality denied itself, and collapsed into itself. Everything is knowledge . . . [Deleuze, 1999, p. 90]

The image–affect, therefore, is only available to us in movement in time and it only becomes embodied through knowledge. In Deleuze’s words, the three conditions of embodiment are: First, there is affectivity, which assumes that the body is something other than a mathematical point and which gives it volume in space. Next, it is the recollections of memory that link the instants to each other and interpolate the past to the present. Finally, it is memory again in another form, in the form of a contraction of matter that makes the quality appear. (It is therefore memory that makes the body something other than instantaneous and gives it a duration in time.) We are consequently in the presence of a new line, that of subjectivity, on which affectivity, recollection-memory, and contraction-memory are ranged: these terms may be said to differ in kind from those of the preceding line (perception–object– matter). [Deleuze, 1991, pp. 25–26]

These Bergsonian concepts of memory can only exist as affects in association with images. Memory, like the image, can never be “pure”. When it is brought to bear upon the present, it must be created in a sensorial image: Memory actualised in an image differs, then, profoundly from pure memory. The image is a present state, and its sole share in the past is the memory from which it arose. Memory, on the contrary, powerless as long as it remains without utility, is pure from all

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admixture of sensation, is without attachment to the present, and is, consequently, unextended. [Bergson, 2002, p. 129]

That is to say, first, memory has no meaning without image and second, speech can only be the expression of subjective knowledge engendered through a “memory image”. In Foucault “memory” is inextricably linked to knowledge, which he described as “archaeology”, stratum of knowledge through time in memory. The importance of all this to the researcher is the value it gives and the depth of reflexivity it implies as necessary for a full and proper understanding of what happens to us, our feelings, senses, thoughts, and perceptions, as we work with image–affects that emerge in the course of our research. Working with image–affects requires a deeply honed “intuition” on the part of the researcher because the image–affects are by definition illogical, “difference” as opposed to “repetition”, in Deleuzian terms. For example, the affect of “awe” produced by the “sublime” is caused by what Deleuze calls “discordant harmony”: . . . the harmony between the faculties can appear only in the form of a discordant harmony, since each communicates to the other only the violence which confronts it with its own difference and its divergence from others. [Deleuze, 2004, p. 183]

I would say that the affect of “discordant harmony” produced by an unexpected combination of images is often a sign of truth in our work. This leads me to a case study that demonstrates the use of “discordant” image–affects in group dynamics. By tracking this process in context of a group relations conference, I mean to show how such an understanding might be applied to the gathering and interpretation of data in psycho-social research.

Case study The context for this illustration of theory into practice is a weeklong residential group relations conference in Spain, 2004, where my role was that of a consultant member of staff. In these conferences it is normal to offer the participants an opportunity to experience

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their interactions in different group settings, one of which is the “small” group or “system”, consisting of 8–12 members. I have selected developments in a Small Study System. All names have been changed, and any details and references that are not essential to my analysis have been omitted. In this discussion, I will be analysing how a conference participant, James, was enabled, through the experience of working in a small group, to communicate what had been unknown to him consciously. What was known in his unconscious, but unspeakable, was reconstructed in the images arising from the interactions of the group. All the communication, until the final statement, was subliminal, below the surface and unspoken. I will be showing how the accumulation of images in inter-group exchanges made it possible for feelings to crystallize into images that could not be expressed in words. I examine the process of emergence until the final verbal communication at the end of the session. The understanding of these processes shows how the attitude of the consultant–researcher can be adapted to allow for the emergence of visual imagery as a form of communication from the unconscious which would otherwise not have emerged and been lost.

James’ use of unconscious imagery James was a particularly taciturn member of the group. He never smiled. He would spend most of the time in absolute silence and barely moving, hardly looking up. He made his first comments in the Small Group event on the Wednesday, having remained completely silent on Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of the conference week. These comments emerged in the light of the discussions revolving around the question of cultural identities: he said he wanted to make what was for him a “personal and profound” statement. He went on to explain that he felt he was just beginning to give importance to his Catalan origins, which he had never done before. This intervention happened just after another member of the group had opened a window, complaining that the room was stuffy. It was as if the opening of the window had somehow opened out an opportunity for James to speak. In Deleuzian terms, James was “becoming window”, opening up a possibility of affect in James, but in conjunction with the group as a whole personified by the member who had opened the window. The action of opening the window became an image. The group connection in this respect was

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made clear immediately following his comment, when another member of the group pointed out how the Incas had been destroyed by the invasion of another country’s “civilization” (just as, in this context, James’ Catalan origins had been “destroyed” by Spain). These three events, the opening of the window, James’ intervention, and the final historical observation were left at that, undeveloped and, in a sense, apparently relatively meaningless in terms of dialogue and conversational interchange. It felt memorable, partly because it was an unusual moment of participation from James, partly because the physical action of opening the window seemed to be a break from the norm, but it was difficult to make much of it at the time. Nothing much was actually being said, as it were. James then lapsed back into silence again, but the next day he came into the room wearing a T-shirt bearing the words “Charlie don’t surf” and, below that, “Heart of Darkness”. In the course of the group interactions, I suggested that James was carrying something on behalf of the group that the group did not want to acknowledge, and therefore James was in danger of being excluded. I drew attention to the words “Heart of Darkness” which is the title of Joseph Conrad’s book about the simultaneously physical and psychological European invasion of African culture in the late nineteenth century. A conversation ensued, directed towards James, about the meaning of these words and their association with the film Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s famous film about the Vietnam war released in 1979, inspired by Conrad’s novel. Talking about the images from the film facilitated James’ participation. He was now able to talk about the unbearable nature of Apocalypse Now, but without any sense of detail or analysis. Despite being unable to speak in any depth about the film, James revealed that he had seen it about fifteen times. The film, of course, is about one country’s invasion of another culture, a conference theme, but this fact was not openly discussed. The link between the destruction of the Incas and the film must have been in people’s minds, however. Despite this, James was unable to express much more than the fact that this was his favourite film and how profoundly disturbing it was to him. The reasons for having repeatedly viewed the film and for calling it “disturbing” remained unspoken. This fact, combined with James’ lack of developed conversation and the additional rarity that he had actually participated at all, left the group slightly dazed and disturbed, and none the wiser in terms of verbal communication. Once again, we were left with images and a feeling, and a sensation that nothing was actually being said. What had emerged, however, were powerful film images in people’s minds of invasion, death, and

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destruction, all linked to images of black hearts and the connections that must have been made between images of the heart and feelings of love and hate, most of this, however, unsaid. There had been a powerful communication in the group, but this had been subliminal. The following day I arrived punctually, as usual, and the door was shut. This was unusual, since the custom until then had been to leave the door open for the consultant to shut. I entered, to find that all but three of the members had moved the chairs around the room and were sitting on the floor or standing up. Someone was standing next to the window, directly opposite to where I sat down. James was sitting politely in a chair. The invasion, death, and destruction of the day before was being played out in a stage setting fashion in the room at that moment. The conference had been “invaded”, the norms “destroyed”, and I, in my consultant role, had been “killed”. We could see and feel this wordlessly. After a certain amount of excitement at this “rebellion”, one of the members, an Englishman, came and sat down next to James. Both were sitting with their legs wide apart. It looked as if they were about to give birth. The “womb” of the circle of chairs and its containment had dissolved, but a new “birth” was to take place. As all this action was being played out, like a kind of human tableau, in silence and with the previous day’s images well in mind, I was reminded of Gordon Lawrence’s description of the social dreaming matrix as being a place “from which something might be born” (Tatham, 2002, p. 77). There was nobody in front of James, but another member of the group was sitting on the floor between the English member’s legs. This member had previously had a dream about fighting and replacing the conference Director. It was as if my “rival”, the other Englishman, was giving birth to a new and better Director, while he himself was a new and better consultant. The group debated verbally and at length about their rebellion in a rational and logical fashion in a debate that seemed to be killing time (the pros and cons of sitting on the floor and other trivia in a basic assumption fight/flight fashion, to use Bion’s language), and the excitement finally died down. This was the last session, and a feeling of loss, stillness, and silence pervaded the room. So much talk had fizzled to nothing. With only ten minutes to go, and having remained silent throughout, James made his contribution—he “gave birth”—along the following lines: “I feel I need to share something with the group. It’s something I thought I had overcome but I see now that I haven’t. I don’t want this to finish without telling you. I don’t know who my biological parents are. I’ve never known . . .” The sense of simultaneous shock and relief, a feeling reminiscent of Deleuze’s “discordant harmony” (Deleuze, 2004, p. 183), was

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palpable in the room. The irrational and the unconscious that before had been only partly visible in the evocation of images had materialized and become part of the group’s conscious experience. The rational was challenged. How could you not know your parents? And where, but hidden and locked away in the unconscious, could you store this secret? And what verbal communication can express the intensity of sadness, loneliness, and loss of identity that this fact contained? These feelings were communicated and comprehended through group empathy and compassion with the speaker. At this moment, and in this context, the group felt and understood something similar to the meaning and affect of Kurtz’s last words in Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, words which are unclear and ambiguous in the context of both the novel and the film considered in isolation: “The horror! The horror!” More was felt and understood than had been spoken. For a moment, everyone was James, and this accounted for the feeling of relief. He had finally managed to verbally articulate an affect that he had not been able to express until then. He had been enabled to do it by participation in group imaging, which had built up a collage of the unconscious from which the conscious could be built: the symbols of the heart, the darkness, the breaking of the containment to be replaced by the new birth, the images of the destruction of identities and cultures in Apocalypse Now and in the conference theme of identity conflicts. The group had contained James’ pain until it had matured into a new birth and provided the symbolic, dream-like pattern of communication to bring out this truth. In doing so, James’ truth also became the group’s truth, the truth of being alone, of the fragility of identity, of individual dependence on relationships with others to define our identities, of the dangers of identities being invaded and replaced with other identities. In being involved in this group relations conference, the members had begun to perceive their multiple shared unconscious identities through working with images.

James: the imagery after the conference After the conference had actually ended, we said our goodbyes. As I had already said goodbye to James and many others, I was taking a moment for myself, when James came up to me once more and said, “You know, I’ve got a good name for you. You know what I call you?”, to which I could think of no reply. He then said, “You are the Silver Surfer.” I was quite taken aback by this enigmatic comment and still could hardly think of a decent reply, except to thank him for

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what I interpreted as a compliment, after which James left. I had no idea what he was talking about, but felt struck that he should have been impelled to tell me this. I also felt I had been as inarticulate as he had been before, as if, through projection, James was making me feel the same as he had felt within the boundaries of the conference. Back home, reflecting upon the conference, I remembered the “Silver Surfer” comment and the feeling of projection that had gone with the naming. I was also reminded that James’ Heart of Darkness T-shirt had also borne the words “Charlie don’t surf”, so that I was left with the projected feeling and various images of surfers, surfboards, war, apocalypse, and madness, images from the conference and new images, too. I had no idea what these things meant in a rational sense. I could not put any words to this collage of pictures and emotions. Actually, that had been one of the reasons for focusing on the words “Heart of Darkness” in the group work that I had just experienced. I felt in a similar situation to that described by Hollway and Jefferson above, full of dreams and images and with the sensation of James as a projection within me. From a researcher’s point of view, one of my questions now is “when does the work finish”? It seems to me that in psycho-social research the work does not finish at the moment of “data collection” (in this case the conference), or immediately afterwards (in this case, immediately after the conference), but continues for as long as the processes informing the researcher are in movement. Since we are talking about unconscious processes made relevant through the researcher’s abilities, knowledge, and experience, each research process will take an undefined and undefinable time to mature and make sense. This is when we realize that subjectivity and intersubjectivity continue to be important. The researcher needs to give time and space for the unconscious to evolve and emerge in its meaning, and this is a subjective decision. In the case in question, I feel it was intersubjective, too, in the sense that I still felt James’s projection inside me long after the conference was over.

The continued process of emergence and meaning Further research revealed that the Silver Surfer is a Marvel comic character and that “Charlie don’t surf” is a quotation from the film Apocalypse Now. They appeared to have nothing in common except

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the word “surf”. So who was the Silver Surfer? Here is a summary adapted from Marvel comics: The Silver Surfer was created by Galactus, the “Devourer of Worlds”. One day, Galactus came to a planet called Zenn-La. He required the planet’s energies. The planet was populated by scientists who had forgotten how to fight. One of these scientists, Norrin Radd, spoke up in defence of his world, to which Galactus responded by striking a bargain: he would spare Zenn-La if Norrin Radd agreed to serve as his cosmic servant, seeking out worlds which suited Galactus’ needs. Radd was transformed for this purpose and was created by using an adolescent fantasy from his own mind. “Norrin Radd had surrendered his identity, his home and his love in order to save his people. He was no more. He became the SILVER SURFER.” Galactus created a supernatural board for him, which obeyed his every thought. The Silver Surfer served Galactus in this way until he came across the Earth. There, the Silver Surfer learned compassion from a human being and he tried to disobey Galactus and save the Earth, just as he had once saved Zenn-La. Although the Silver Surfer was weak compared to Galactus, he was helped by the Fantastic Four and a doomsday weapon known as the Ultimate Nullifier, and Galactus was forced to leave. Before leaving, Galactus stripped the Silver Surfer of his title and placed a barrier around the Earth to leave him there, marooned. He remained trapped there for years, ever hopeful of returning to space and soaring among the stars again. Eventually, he escaped. Galactus pardoned him and removed the barrier forever. [Adapted from www.marvelite.prohosting.com/surfer/origin]

What do we learn from the words “Charlie don’t surf”? Here is the incident during which these words are heard in Apocalypse Now: During the Vietnam war, Captain Willard is sent on a special mission up river to assassinate fellow soldier Colonel Kurtz, who is suspected of having lost his mind and is using his personal charisma to lead his own band of people, out of touch and out of control of the US Army. On the way, Captain Willard comes across Colonel Kilgore, who is to escort him to the start of the river. Kilgore himself is none too sane. A keen surfer, he decides to attack a difficult enemy position (from where Willard would be able to begin his journey), largely because it would be possible to do some surfing there. When a soldier warns Kilgore that this is a difficult

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enemy position to attack, Kilgore replies, “Charlie don’t surf!” “Charlie” is US soldier slang for the Viet Cong enemy. The soldiers board the helicopters with their surfboards and go to battle. As the battle rages, Kilgore orders some of the soldiers to take advantage of the waves and go surfing. When the soldiers point out that the battle is still being fought, Kilgore replies, “You either surf or fight!” So, the soldiers get changed and start surfing as the bombing and shooting continues. Even while the fighting persists, Willard takes the first opportunity he has to leave up river, and he steals Kilgore’s surfboard and takes it with him! He does this to spite Kilgore. Symbolically, of course, he is taking away Kilgore’s identity as an American. Mortified, Kilgore sends a helicopter up river, pleading with Willard to return the board.

What we are left with now are a series of images, concepts, and associations floating in the air, rather like a dream or a memory of a dream. It seems to me that James had worn the T-shirt as a way of communicating his affect, which resonated with the collage of imagery that had been gathered together during the course of the conference. He had not intended to purposely create a feeling of dream; he had not deliberately brought in powerful images for the purpose of stimulating free association. He was impelled to communicate in this way partly because he was so limited in the usual socializing skills. What James could not express verbally, he was expressing symbolically along the following lines. In the Silver Surfer, we have images of transformation (Norrin Radd is transformed into the Silver Surfer to save Zenn-La and subsequently is transformed from Galactus’s faithful servant to the saviour of the Earth, through the understanding of compassion). We have the images of the weak fighting the strong, of good fighting evil. We have the ideas of punishment and redemption, of imprisonment and freedom, of the earthly and the cosmic. The surfing image itself, which links the T-shirt and the Silver Surfer, is connected to youth and freedom, the American way of life, counter-culture and the easy going permissiveness of the 1960s. In Apocalypse Now, the soldiers on Willard’s boat sing Beach Boys’ songs. And, of course, today “surfing” is related to the internet. This is how one internet surfer enthusiast puts it: “. . . real surfers remain the masters of their own way of life and of their own way

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of speaking. Surfing still remains a counter culture in a way, insofar as new expressions are constantly created” (www.blackmagic. com/ses/surf/papers/surfing). “Surfing culture”, then, actually has the power to create new expressions and ways of communicating. In his own way, this is what James was doing. In the scene from Apocalypse Now, we have surfing representing the image of the American way of life invading and stamping itself on foreign culture, and we are reminded of one of the main themes of the conference, that of invasion of culture and loss of identity. At the same time, we are presented with powerful images of violence and madness. Using images, James was able, in the context of the group, to weave a web of meaning that he would otherwise have been incapable of articulating. Expressed verbally, his message might have been something like the following: “I admit and understand that my identity is lost. I have no parents and I don’t know if my Catalan origins really count. This has trapped me. I often feel threatened and enclosed or imprisoned. I do, however, live in hope. I reject violence. I know that violence is a way to madness. I feel that one day I will be able to break out of this prison and find myself and my identity. Maybe this process begins here and now.” In reaching this conclusion, James had identified the consultant with the Silver Surfer, a mediator between the “apocalypse now” (Galactus) and humanity (the Earth under threat), a mediation made possible through compassion (of the group), representing the possibility of defeating the horror (of Galactus’s destruction). Defeating the apocalypse is possible through a combination of this compassion and the will to succeed with the help and understanding of other humans (the Fantastic Four, or, in the conference, the Small Group members). The consultant “surfs” the Small Group interactions, which flow like waves. The instruction “Don’t surf” is an incitement for the consultant to allow the waves to break, to unearth what is below the surface. In Spanish, mojarse (literally “to get wet”) means to commit yourself to something and this could be related to the idea of coming off the surfboard, “getting wet”, and revealing what is hidden in the depths.

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Emerging into social A point arising from the above is the important idea that James’ experience, and that of the consultant and the Small Group, is not just an isolated or peculiar “happening” exclusive to a particular situation and set of circumstances. Rather, this mode of communication is part of our daily existence, maybe even more emphatically so today, and, as such, can be an important element in psycho-social research. Psycho-social research in today’s complex world needs to interpret communication on many different levels and with ever increasing sophistication. The growing “multiverse” of our twenty-first century plunges the individual into a collective sea that erodes the barrier between human agency and the surrounding environment. In this world . . . objects are organized according to symbolic resemblances and the rhetoric of dream rather than the dry and objective classifications that pack scientific texts or corporate reports. [Davis, 1999, p. 174]

Resemblances, echoes, resonances, and roundabout links; dreams, images, associations, memories, and pictures: all of these—elements of the unconscious and remains of the conscious—are an integral part of communication today. James, we remember, had not just seen Apocalypse Now a couple of times, but about fifteen: the images were bound to remain in his mind through sheer exposure, and they were, and are still, available to him, and to us, at the touch of a button. The media machines of the world produced T-shirts for James to wear. This T-shirt is not just an item of clothing. In James, it is even a reflection of the images in his mind. It is an unconscious communication. This way of perception of multi-images and their associated affects is a recent phenomenon. For James, “Heart of Darkness” and “Charlie don’t surf” were not really words. Rather, they were images and affects that actually replaced the word. They were acts of emotion without words. In the words of Francisco Varela, “The very act of encountering the world, the perception, is already intrinsically emotionally shaped. There could not be a perception without an emotional component” (quoted in Goleman, 2004, p. 323).

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Conclusion What is clear to me, reaching the end of this chapter, is that research that aims to understand meanings and the deeper “below-thesurface” reasons for human behaviour in our society should be working towards: ● ● ● ●

an acknowledgement of the existence of a shared multi-layered collage of images in the human unconscious; a greater understanding of how these unconscious images are intimately linked to our strongest emotions or “affects”; a way of including this knowledge in our research; and/or new methodologies that allow for the assessment and evaluation of affect in psycho-social research and studies in general.

One method that offers a way of working with dream images and with other images associated with or amplified from those dream images in a group setting might be social dreaming and associated techniques. The interpretation of James’ communication was largely enabled through my experiences in social dreaming. The essential difficulty that inhibits the development of a more profound method of research that can include working with images in this way is a problem of psycho-social research in general: to what extent can empirical evidence be based on subjectivity? That “something is going on” when working with the more psychological aspects of psycho-social research is clear to the researcher, but the problem of how to convert this subjective clarity into “objective” evidence can still be an obstacle to progress. This obstacle is partly a figment of our imagination clouded by prejudice, by an idea that words are somehow more “objective” than images. Our research discussion often tries to strip words of any possible subjective, metaphorical content, as if the words of the researcher could be more “objective” than those of the researched. However, as I have discussed elsewhere, “This . . . would be to ignore the reality of our minds and the nature of language . . . Our minds are not separate machines of rationality, where the experience of the unconscious can be conveniently cut off”. Neither are words themselves merely tools of rationality, but are often inextricably linked to images and image making, as Lacan pointed out in his discussion of signifiers and the signified (Manley, 2003).

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To a certain extent, the difficulty is also partly a philosophical or attitudinal question. If we accept even partially a Spinozian or Deleuzian approach to humanity, then we have no choice but to find a way of including working with images and affect as a method of enquiry into what is happening “below the surface” in our society. To do this, we need to develop an awareness of how we use image–affects as defined by Bergson and Deleuze as discussed above. By accessing affect through imagery, we are able to understand some of the hidden motivations in the way people think and act. This is one of the ways we can “research below the surface” and reach fuller and more mature understandings of how society functions.

Endnote In 2007, the film Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, was released. This is interesting further evidence of how images are shared in a societal sense. James’ images were also our images.

References Bergson, H. (2002). Matter and memory. In: Key Writings (pp. 81–140). London: Continuum. Clarke, S. (2002). Learning from experience: psycho-social research methods in the social sciences. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 173–194. Davis, E. (1999). Techgnosis, Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information. London: Serpent’s Tail. Deleuze, G. (1991). Bergsonism. New York: Zone. Deleuze, G. (1999). Foucault. London: Continuum. Deleuze, G. (2004). Difference and Repetition. London: Continuum. Deleuze, G., & Guattari, F. (1994). What is Philosophy? London: Verso. Foucault, M. (1998). Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984, Volume 2, Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology. London: Penguin. Goleman, D. (Ed.) (2004). Destructive Emotions and How We Can Overcome Them. London: Bloomsbury. Manley, J. (2003). Metaphoric absurdity. A psychoanalytically informed approach to text based research. Journal of Psycho-Social Studies, 2(1): Article 4, www.btinternet.com/~psycho_social/Vol2/V2.html.

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Spinoza, B. (1992). Ethics, Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect and Selected Letters, S. Feldman (Ed.), S. Shirley (Trans.). Indianapolis/ Cambridge: Hackett. Tatham, P. (2002). Getting to the heart of the matter: a Jungian approach to social dreaming. In: A. Chesner & H. Hahn (Eds.), Creative Advances in Groupwork (pp. 67–84). London: Jessica Kingsley. www.blackmagic.com/ses/surf/papers/surfingUSA. www.marvelite.prohosting.com/surfer/origin.

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PART II THE DYNAMICS OF THE RESEARCH ENCOUNTER

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CHAPTER FIVE

Charting the clear waters and the murky depths Phoebe Beedell

Introduction

I

began work on the ESRC project “Negotiating ethical dilemmas in contested communities” (Award No. RES-000–23–0127) in September 2003. Perhaps rather naïvely, I did not realize the extent to which this project was using and developing, in an experimental sense, a relatively new methodology. Later, I worked on a second ESRC project, part of the Identities and Social Action Programme, entitled “Identities, educational choice and the white urban middle classes” (Award No. RES-148–25–0023), which had a far more sociological emphasis but which encompassed aspects of the psycho-social approach and to which I was able to bring to bear my previous experience. In hindsight, some of the anxieties and challenges I faced on the Dilemmas project stemmed from our quest, as a team, to elucidate and refine the psycho-social method. On the Dilemmas project, not only was I feeling my way with the participants, but also with the method and dynamics of the team. At times, I felt there was a gap in the market for a “how to” manual for psycho-social researchers (now substantially filled by Finlay and Gough’s practical guide to 101

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reflexivity [2003]). My aim here is rather to offer the reader something more akin to a travelogue through my own and others’ experiences: a collection of reflections on the obstacles, encumbrances, and occurrences encountered, in a “tell it how it is” explication of psycho-social researchers’ inescapable emotional engagement with their subjects and the consequences thereof. My hope is that the title of this chapter conveys something of the nature of what lies ahead. In speaking about emotions and the inner world, I often find a watery metaphor appropriate for its qualities of mutability and essentiality. In writing about the process of researching below the surface, my aim for this chapter is to reveal the process of navigating one’s way through the clear waters, when things appear to be going swimmingly and where the way forward seems brightly apparent; the murky depths, when one’s vision has become clouded, one’s touch is tentative, and one is compelled to strain all the senses in order to perceive a path to follow or a way out; and the areas of turbulence, where the internal machinations of both researcher and researched churn as they pass through external realities. In nearly five years of working as a university research associate on a number of social inquiries, the most exciting and intriguing moments of my working days have consisted of that still, quiet interval between knocking on someone’s door and the response these strangers offer upon their opening of that door. In these few pregnant moments I have felt a number of emotions, primarily anticipation, but also dread, trepidation, intrigue, complacency, and curiosity. This is the final moment in which to prepare myself for the task ahead of data gathering; the harvesting of opinions, perspectives, feelings; the garnering of contradictions, congruencies, and paradoxes. It is at this precise point, when one is confronted face-toface with the research subject, whether invited into their home, workplace, or, indeed, inviting them into another assigned meeting place, that the relationship between researcher and researched truly begins. It is at this point that the person, whether an employee, contractor, student, or interested professional, literally steps over the threshold and into their role as researcher to enact all the concomitant constituents of that role as questioner, listener, reflector, interpreter, and analyst. One is also acutely aware of other, more problematic roles, such as influencer, judge, and juggler of emotions.

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What is thrilling (and it is a truism so obvious that its full extent is quite easily overlooked) is that one never really knows what will happen next; to what extent these sub-roles will come into play and with what ease or difficulty they will be employed, neither in the course of the interview, nor in the effect they will have on the research project nor on the researcher. It is this panoply of role-functions and the emotional demands of the miasma of identifications and defences that it produces that I wish to explore. I will argue that emotional engagement is both necessary and inescapable for the psycho-social researcher, and that it can be both burdensome and beneficial, both problem and solution, as Finlay notes (Finlay & Gough, 2003, p. 3), and to be mindful of this can better help in the preparation, conduct, and management of psycho-social research projects.

Definitions and locations First, let us discuss what is meant by the terms “emotional labour”, “emotional work”, and “emotional engagement” and how these descriptions relate to the job of the psycho-social researcher, and sketch out where these experiences might be located. Emotional labour has been defined, classically, in Hochschild’s (1983) The Managed Heart as the requirement “to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others” (p. 7). This assumes knowledge of, and places a value on, what a “proper” state of mind might be (presenting the first of many interesting questions for the psychosocial researcher). At the heart of Hochschild’s emotional labour is a very instrumental and rationalized concept of suppressing the expression of one’s own true feelings and acting (either deeply or on the surface) for the sake of achieving a given end. With a similar rationale, but in an effort to focus on the relational nature of emotional labour, other writers, such as Cook and Berger (2000) and Kessler, Werner Wilson, Cook, and Berger (2000), draw on Erickson (1993) to describe emotional work as action “done in a conscious effort to maintain the well-being of a relationship”. Both of the terms emotional labour and emotional work capture the instrumental task of the researcher in so far as we are required to extract, in one way or another, rich and valuable data (exchange value) from the

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research subjects and, certainly in the case of a planned series of interviews, to maintain a good enough relationship for this to take place (use value). Emotional engagement, on the other hand, is a wider concept commonly used in conflict resolution and mediation, and relates to the broad acts of recognizing and acknowledging emotional responses and investments as significant. Therefore, it comes closer to encapsulating the work and labour of maintaining “proper states of mind” to create relationships with our research subjects that are characterized by trust and rapport; and recognizing the emotional investments of both the researched and the researcher in order that the task is undertaken in an ethically and scientifically feasible context. One of the essential elements of Hollway and Jefferson’s (2000) psycho-social methodology is a recognition that anxiety is inherent in the human condition and, as such, capable of producing both a defended research subject and a defended researcher. However, emotional activity and the management of emotion not only takes place in the encounter with research subjects, but can and does also occur in relationships within the research team, where it is enmeshed with our intellectual labours. It can also be felt and experienced at a distance from the research in post hoc re-evaluations of ourselves, our pasts, and our place in the world. Such a wide remit is challenging, so it is no surprise that we might find affinities with James’ description of emotional labour as “hard work [that] can be sorrowful and difficult. It demands that the labourer gives personal attention, which means they must give something of themselves, not just a formulaic response” (James, 1998). In the course of these two ESRC projects and others, I have interviewed thirteen public service workers up six times each, beginning with a biographical narrative; forty-five middle class parents and twenty of their teenage children; fifteen pensioners, older people, and community activists, again using biographical narrative but confined only to a single occasion; and semi-structured curriculumfocused interviewing with a generous spattering of academic professionals. What I have experienced, in diving into this stream of psycho-social research, has been a personal as well as professional journey into the emotions. I have learnt as much about myself as I have about my subjects, and a good deal about academia too.

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If qualitative research is facing the challenge of being more reflexive, of developing a more relational research paradigm (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000) then we must consider the internal world of the researcher and examine their emotions and the emotional toil that goes into the gathering and processing of data. If this “giving something of ourselves” goes beyond the mere recognition and acknowledgement of emotional engagement, is there a cost, and is it also possible, or even desirable, to “take back” something for ourselves in a practice that enhances our capacity to explore our own processes?

Emotional engagement in practice When I began doing academic psycho-social research interviews, I was acutely aware of the need (as I perceived it then) to present as neutral an image of myself as possible. I tried to remove any obvious signifiers of my personality or values from the equation. Gradually, as my confidence in my ability and experience as an interviewer grew, I took less and less care over the process of neutralizing my outward image and propping up the façade of the objective interlocutor. In seeking to build the genuine trust and rapport which enabled respondents to reveal sometimes intensely personal information about their lives and psychological states, I came to realize that I had to present, react, and respond more like the real me, rather than as the artifice of the clinically objective researcher I had imagined would do the job. I also had to come to terms with the fairly constant state of role-strain that this approach engendered, and which in itself was not totally unproblematic. The clues to my needing a more authentic approach were several, not least the uncertainties of respondents who often asked questions along the lines of “Is this what you want?” and “Are you really interested in all this stuff?” I felt I had to convince them that yes, not only was I professionally interested in the intimate details of their biographies, but that by giving, or rather revealing, something of myself, I was also prepared to commit personally and emotionally to the endeavour in order to elicit the richness of their stories. Fortunately, not all of the researchers’ emotional engagements are of the negative kind. Like many of my colleagues, I have found

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joyous moments of discovery, good humour, and reinforcement of our passionate connection with our projects among our experiences of interviewing. One of my first research subjects turned out to be a “dream participant” of this order. He was charming and hospitable, open and talkative. He had a fascinating life story, which later featured in our publications, and, best of all for a novice such as I was, he had done a huge amount of the work already, having been in counselling and under professional supervision for some time. In the fast flow of rich data accumulation, one can be swept along, as I was, by the current. I was undoubtedly seduced into fantasies that I had at last found my vocation as a talented interviewer. This was an easy and enjoyable job and represents the “clear water” of our mission of exploration. Everything was transparent, he was accessible, co-operative, and the process was smooth running to the point of exhilaration. Often, after an interview with this participant, I felt privileged, beguiled by the shared confidences and ease of interpretation, but I was also burdened by the irresolvable dilemmas and stresses they exposed. Concurrently, and in stark contrast, I began a series of interviews with a formidably experienced and academically active youth worker, senior to me in several respects, utilitarian in manner and speech, and in whose presence I felt unsure of myself and was often flustered. The significance of minor, even trivial, details accumulated, and came to define the nature of our relationship. No small talk, no tea offered, a scruffy, often noisy public room, hard chairs, always a table between us. Unlike other respondents, he made it clear very early on that some areas of his life were completely off-limits. According to my notes, “he doggedly avoids talk of his childhood or specifics about his parents”. A classic case of the “defended subject” referred to by Hollway and Jefferson, I reasoned at the time. Why, he asked, did I want to ask him about his father? How and why did I consider this as even potentially relevant? Not only was he reluctant to talk about major events in his biography (a key aspect of our research), but he was also questioning the very methodology I was adopting. Given the developing methodological nature of our project and my relative inexperience with it, it is no surprise that these kinds of questions made me anxious. The uneasiness of the relationship was forcefully demonstrated when, after the third uncomfortable and unrewarding session with this

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participant, he challenged me in one of those the telling “hand on the doorknob”, off-record exchanges. He commented on the inequalities of our relationship: “I’m giving you all this stuff and I know almost nothing about you.” It was obvious that he was trying to find out who I was, where I was coming from, my disposition, perhaps even my predispositions: in short, my (Bourdieusian) habitus. The Dilemmas research team began to think about the “defended researcher”, one who, by avoiding emotional engagement with any data that produces anxiety for the researcher, cuts off the respondent’s opportunities for expression. With hindsight, my experience with this senior youth worker had revealed in my approach another dimension of this “defended researcher”: one for whom the research relationship, rather than any specific data in it, produces anxiety and forestalls the generation of any sense of intimacy and trust between researcher and researched. In recognizing the “transparent self” and “transparent account” problems in the research subject identified by Hollway and Jefferson (ibid.), we might wish to call this a “transparent researcher problem”. Different interviewees demand different amounts of transparency, and this is yet another variable one must prepare for. Prompted by this episode, a long discussion within the research team ensued, covering issues of transference and our ethical stance that indicated a strengthening of the maxim “empathy with boundaries” as appropriate to work with. It was not the ethics, empathy, or boundaries that were obscuring my progress, but my sense of authority, of credence, or lack of it, with this particular interviewee. I made a conscious effort in subsequent sessions to “loosen up”, dropping hints as to my own history of community activism and sharing some of my own experiences of similar dilemmas with this respondent in order that he could position me as a “somebody” (a credible and knowledgeable researcher, I hoped) rather than an obscured “nobody”. While he did not go on to elaborate on his relationship with either his late father or mother, this new approach and the fact that the series of interviews moved from biographical narrative to discussion of critical incidents contributed to a more relaxed, equitable, and, eventually, highly productive relationship. A similar episode took place while undertaking a later series of interviews with a woman with strong working-class roots, which

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again demonstrated the problematic nature of the interviewer’s habitus as perceived by the interviewee. After our first interview, she contacted me to say she felt uncomfortable with the research in so far as the research team were also interviewing a colleague of hers. Her relationship with this colleague and her views about this colleague’s professionalism and approach were central to the dilemma she was experiencing and which we were examining. I assured her of confidentiality, and informed her that we had decided not to share the data between the two interviewers until the series was complete. She agreed to continue with the series, although her uneasiness remained. At one point during the next interview, she asked me where I lived. On answering honestly that I lived in a part of the city well known as the “posh” neighbourhood, I felt I was immediately positioned, albeit understandably, as opposite to her in terms of our social class. It was a fairly obvious indication of the lack of trust in our relationship. I felt it was not enough to simply reiterate our ethical guidelines and assurances of confidentiality and anonymity, and, in subsequent encounters, as I had done with the youth worker, I felt compelled to “leak out” other parts of my own life history in order to address the subjectivities of class and place that were interfering with our relationship. It is as if I had to ensure that my habitus, my dispositions and predispositions, conformed enough with that of the interviewee in order for them to place enough trust in me to proceed. It was a very difficult and fine line to tread, and not only triggered ethical considerations of researcher influence, but also tapped into my past experiences of social positioning (as we shall see later). The difference from the youth worker was that rather than sharing something of myself of my own volition in order to reduce my own anxieties, I felt compelled to give something of myself in order to reduce her anxieties. The extent of my personal engagement with the interviewee was less controllable and more emotionally demanding. My speculations that a perceived dissonance in habitus had impaired the relationship with the female respondent were roundly confirmed at the end of the sixth and final interview when, after I had switched off the recorder, there was a remarkable change in the tone of our conversation. The post-interview small talk suddenly turned to the subject of the rights and wrongs of the Iraq war (a subject which was receiving

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blanket coverage in the news media at the time and drawing new lines of division in the public realm). We quickly discovered our views were very similar and entered into perhaps the most animated and frank discussion of the whole series of encounters. Quite unexpectedly, by the end of the process, we had found a hitherto concealed solidarity. There are many other instances where the anxieties of positioning can crop up both on the part of the researcher and the researched, experiences where both participants in the encounter vacillate between friend and foe. The work of managing the relationship can also vacillate between researcher and researched in so far as the latter is able to define the terms of engagement, while the former not only has to follow (as in these cases), but also ultimately has to take the responsibility for managing the relationship and keeping it “proper”. To approach the psycho-social interview as an “objective” researcher opens oneself up to, among others, questions of authority, credence, and integrity. In the very setting up of the interview, in the questions asked, or the location chosen, we may invite our subjects to demonstrate their power or privilege. It is inherent in our work as researchers that we will meet different people with a huge variety of life histories. For the reflexive researcher, it is inevitable that these life stories will be compared at some level to our own, both in their living and in their telling. The Dilemmas research produced a paper that explored the roots of motivation and commitment to welfare (Hoggett, Beedell, Jimenez, Mayo, & Miller, 2006), which has much in common with the roots of commitment and attachment to the research process that we might find in ourselves. An experienced research colleague explained aspects of his motivation and reflexivity thus: “From quite early days, even doing A Levels, I was confronting arguments and data that seemed to help make sense of my own surroundings in ways that I didn’t think were possible, or that I didn’t think anyone bothered to do, and it’s a continual process. Here were some tools to make sense of my own past . . . kind of ‘at last! here are some tools!’ actually, because there were a lot of things that really troubled me”. In ways such as this we are drawn to psycho-social inquiry because of the “things that trouble us”, and we are required to be

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reflexive in order to chart the identifications and defences and measure the affinities or dissonances that we might feel. It is when the dissonances catch you off-guard, either in the moment or at some distance, that one can be on the receiving end of a kind of sociological slap in the face. As the previous researcher commented “research can do that when you least expect it”. He relates an experience during his PhD research when interviewing a very high status academic. His suspicion that the interviewee was cynically and subtly ridiculing the interviewer was confirmed during the transcription process. He says the interviewee was “taking the piss” and “having a laugh” and “I felt kind of abused, by someone who should know better but who was powerful enough not to care.” This experience of being toyed with, patronised, and humoured might be familiar to many researchers and is an important aspect of the interview process that requires, whether we like it or not, steadfastness and resilience in the researcher. There were many other instances during both the ESRC projects I was involved in when the interviews proceeded smoothly, producing the kinds of data we wanted and found valuable to the study. As my experience and confidence grew, these run-of-the-mill cases became the stuff of my ordinary professional existence. Sometimes, I found it necessary to ask questions to which the answer was both obvious and already known to both parties. At times like these, the assumptions of interviewees can lead the researcher into a murky state of complacency and it is here, perhaps, that intuition—the sense of “knowing” without a clear knowledge—can play a role. One can be seduced by the ease with which a seemingly shared habitus contributes to fulsome and rich data, and only later, on immersion in the data, can one dissect the meanings and implications, some of which may be distasteful and affronting. This happened in the research I undertook on the motivation of middle-class parents who had made a positive choice to send their children to “under-performing” state schools. A particular family were keen to be involved in the research and were in many ways ideal and interesting interviewees, open and co-operative, trusting and effusive. As I noted afterwards, while on the surface we got on very well, seemingly sharing many common understandings, I felt I had not warmed to them in any authentic way. Only on later analysis of the transcript did it become clear that

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their data encapsulated all the aspects of our research findings that conflicted with the commitment to social justice in which the research team was rooted. Their espoused commitment to equality of opportunity had been skilfully managed not only in their social actions (which we were studying), but also in the interview encounter, and I had to admit that to a great extent I had been “taken for a ride”. The strength and complexity of their inconsistencies made it an effort, later, to avoid the vilification of this family by continually pointing to their data as an extreme example of the self-interested motivations we uncovered. It was also some comfort that my “intuition” had proved well founded. We can recognize that intuition here may have been used as a reparative function in so far as it enabled me to reclaim that part of myself (committed to social justice) that I had “given up” by my collusion in the construction of their (to me) distasteful reality. This “taking back” as a means of protecting or exploring one’s own self can be a hazardous and slippery slope, flying in the face of positivist notions of objectivity, disassociation, and disconnection, but it is not necessarily in opposition to the task of seeking scientific knowledge and elucidation. Bourdieu (1977) has argued against the reification of the distinction between conscious and unconscious. From a Bourdieusian stance, it can be said that most people act (for want of a better phrase) “semi-consciously” all the time. It is only when called upon by an interviewer that their reality appears more conscious than it is. During the interview, the interviewer has very little time to be fully conscious of their own motivations and actions. One can anticipate one’s conscious reactions and/or come to an awareness and understanding afterwards. The process of “coming to knowledge” of one’s self in the interview is certainly not confined to the immediate aftermath, or to the process of interpretation and analysis; it can also take place over a much longer period as one digests the research project’s content and implications. Researchers are likely to feel visceral discomforts, particularly when one shares a certain habitus with the respondents, as this experienced researcher attests: “I would kind of acknowledge, at some distance, that I would be uncomfortable if I were being asked those questions, but that also

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that told me it was the right question to ask. So I suppose that in the actual practice of interviewing and then reading and dealing with data, what I’m doing is using my own positioning and repositioning as a sort of empathetic resource really. . . . Actually the discomfort is neither here nor there really, it’s sort of secondary issue and the main issue is that those positioning and repositionings and that history and experience functions as a sort of guide to knowing whether you’re asking questions that are pertinent or important . . . Also, I was asking questions because I knew [these] things were important to me.”

The “empathetic resource” produced by our emotional engagement enables us to use our own experience to propel the interview along, to explore the paths and contours of the researched person’s experience, but we can also be swept into currents that are dangerous in the pull they exert on the researcher’s emotions. It is often easier to recognize and manage the emotional labour that occurs when respondents reveal traumatic stories and events, or when the dissonance between the values and dispositions of researcher and researched is stark. A colleague remembers a powerfully disturbing occurrence of coming away from an interview and thinking “you bastard . . . you’re a racist, sexist git”. I, too, have sworn into my field notes, tired and burdened by the emotional effort, when the labour is visible. There are, of course, times when the labour is less visible and the use of oneself as an “empathetic resource” more tricky. The Dilemmas team began to examine the cycle of influence between researcher and researched: the ebb and flow of emotional “heat”, or pressure, that is raised and released, sometimes being allowed reach deep into visceral areas, depending on the courage and willingness of the people involved. I can illustrate this with an example from an interview I did with Emily (not her real name). It was our first meeting and she had been referred to me by a colleague, so I had had very few prior dealings with her apart from a very brief exchange of emails to make the appointment. For the first two-thirds of the interview, the route of the narrative was clear, and I had already begun to gently probe into some contradictions and connections. I started to question her on her Buddhist faith, asking how her strongly atheist family responded. As she explained how she and her partner came across Zen

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and found it at first challenging but also “transformational”, I remember feeling a knot of ugly resentment and cynicism growing in me that was shouting out for my attention. Having recently come out of a short and disturbing relationship with a devout Buddhist myself, the interviewee had touched a raw nerve, and although alarm bells were already sounding in my head, I pushed her on instead of simply accepting her evaluation. The last lines of her description of her conversion, the response of her family, and the effect on her work reads: Emily: . . . It has, you know, it has a big impact on my ability to cope with the job and things like that, I think. PB:

Mmm-hmm. In what way?

Emily: Being able to let go, that’s probably the biggest thing, I’d say. Not holding . . . I remember my last job when I was in [X], I had a nervous breakdown from stress, and you know, basically stress, lots of other . . . various factors . . .

On the face of it, my interjection seemed entirely professional, even predictable, but this unexpected revelation took me aback and I had just a few moments to decide whether or not to continue further along this road as she described her “horrible and frightening” experience. Like a mountaineer with the imperative to do it “because it’s there”, I carry on. I am careful to ask her, a couple of times, if it is all right to continue down this path, but as I read the transcript it is as if I am actually asking the question of myself. Emily comes to some sort of conclusion to this story and then breaks the tension by noticing how hot the room is, and we both move to open a window before I return to the interview and change the subject. The leader of the research team viewed this exchange as an example of an undefended, courageous researcher, but, more than that, I was conscious of wanting to explore the issues for my own satisfaction and was perhaps saved from myself by Emily’s defences and my ability to take the hint. Hollway and Jefferson (2000) assert the importance of using free association, eschewing “intrusive questioning” (see also Bourdieu, 1999, p. 208, on non-violent communication) but how might the researcher define “intrusive”? My questioning of Emily, on close examination, was neither “too direct nor too concrete”, and stopped

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just short of pursuing “a specific researcher-defined problem”. It did “generate a more complex and multi-layered picture” as advocated (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 295) but I still feel ambivalent and slightly guilty about this episode, for it is the closest I have come to selfish intrusion. This task of “containing one’s self” was again troubling for me in regard to an interview I conducted as part of the School Choice project, but was made easier to manage because the challenge was anticipated. From the outset I felt a special attachment to the project. My parents were middle-class liberal intellectuals, and I myself went to the same state comprehensive school from which a significant number of our sample was drawn. As the research project progressed, I interviewed, with great fascination and anticipation, a number of white middle-class children attending these inner-city comprehensives, being aware of having to “psych myself up” and almost ritually cleanse myself of my own historical perceptions of the schools and neighbourhoods. Interviewing Lowry (again, a pseudonym), I found myself on perilously familiar ground: an articulate and self assured seventeenyear-old who had attended the same school as me and whom I knew, having interviewed her mother, had similar family values to my own. As I listened to her and asked the required questions, I could not help seeing a version of myself shifted thirty years in time, and my responses and tone began to reflect my own experience. After some probing of how the children at her primary school differed from those at her secondary school came this exchange: PB:

OK. So what was it like in terms of, well, I, I just wanted to ask, what was the reaction of other kids towards you? You said that some of them called you, y’know, thought you were posh because you were . . .

Lowry: I was certainly, for the first few years, “posh” and “a keener”, meaning that I worked hard [laughs] basically. Um . . . I think, sort of, because I was coming from a very different background, just, we didn’t know how to interact at all, on both sides, so, like it took me ages to work out what you’re supposed to say when someone says “alrigh’?” to you! [laughs] PB:

OK [laugh].

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L:

[laughs] Which they just all did automatically! Um . . . so . . .

PB:

That kind of “alrigh’ ”? [in local accent, joking]

L:

Yeh, “Alrigh’?” “Alrigh’.” You just sort of reply the same [laugh] . . . um . . .

PB:

Right, yeh.

L:

So, I think mostly, it was just sort of feeling quite distanced, on both sides by . . . some . . . not really nameable difference.

PB:

Yeah . . . And how did you feel about that? Was that a problem for you? Or was it just . . . sort of interesting? Weird? Or was it . . . isolating?

L:

Um, it never sort of consciously upset me. It was really hard, um, because I was used to being . . . really quite normal, in . . . the circles I moved in. Um . . . [longish pause] I don’t know. [laugh]

PB:

OK, OK. I’m just wond . . . y’know, I’m just er . . . Did it change your personality or the way that you acted?

L:

Um . . .

PB:

Were you, were you . . .

L:

I definitely developed a school persona.

PB:

Mmmm. Tell me about that.

L:

[sigh] Oh . . . It was, just, a lot more closed off really. Um, I, did my best to hide the parts of me that were problematic for other people, sort of . . . very little, but to a certain extent, I would . . . restrain myself from . . . using . . . very . . . complicated vocabulary and, sort of, I would dress more to their standard, um, and, I think probably my accent did change a bit, while I was there, to . . . fit in more, um, and, actually, once I left I realized that that whole thing . . . really stressed me out for the whole time. Just . . . the . . . letting go once I left, was great! [laugh]

PB:

Mmmm. Mmmm.

L:

So, that was quite hard work for five years! [laugh]

PB:

Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm . . . OK.

L:

. . . but not something I noticed while was there.

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My questioning of Lowry could be judged as intrusive or suggestive, but it was also rooted in my knowledge of what, potentially, lay beneath. By recognizing my history and my self as a resource, the interview did indeed reveal some valuable complexities of identity and social action. I have felt many things listening and reading the accounts of respondents over the last few years, but Lowry’s interview in particular has made me feel a great sense of loss and sadness as the roots of my own feelings about positioning and repositionings have been exposed, and it is obvious that social and educational systems continue to cast the same shadows over new generations. It is perhaps not coincidental that the substance of the data produced refers to a reflexivity and management of the self with which I continue to identify!

Conclusion Both psycho-social projects I have been involved in have investigated important areas for study but have not involved working with respondents in more obvious or absolute states of distress. I have not worked with refugees, prisoners, addicts, or other victims, and wonder how my psychic mechanisms might react in these circumstances. Would it be easier or more difficult? I suspect it would be both: a journey of extremes. Psycho-social researchers, particularly the interviewers, experience a range of situations in which they are required not only to manage their emotions in a professional sense, but also to measure them, in every sense. If we are to be the “invisible catalyst” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 36), the one who gives of themselves, how are we to preserve our selves? Where is the space for our “recognition” and visibility? The psycho-social approach, perhaps uniquely of all methodologies, recognizes the potential anxiety generated in the research encounter. If we are not to overemphasize or give excessive weight to the researcher’s subjectivity, then perhaps we need a space for the safe “venting” of feelings and emotions generated by this method. Is it fair to ask the researcher to “contain” the pains of the researched (ibid.)? I would prefer to call it a “holding”, for this implies a temporary containment and speaks more accurately of the

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task of the data-gatherer as conduit for emotions from subject to analytical team than of the therapist, who is primarily the tool, often the container, of the subject and his or her emotions. Would supervision of some kind, or simply a post-interview debriefing, be sufficient for the recognition of the researcher’s emotional work? It would be a space for unloading or decontaminating one’s own self from the pain and suffering of the researched, and for evaluating the processes of countertransference, identification, and defensiveness. What does this imply for the dynamics and capacity for support within the research team? There is a case to be made for having an accredited psychotherapist on the psychosocial research team, part of whose role would be to recognize, locate, and contain the researchers’ subjective responses, and I would advocate this. In trying to develop a method characterized by scientific integrity and robustness, there is a need to call upon the highest levels of expertise, beyond simple self-awareness or group consciousness. Reflexivity within the team should not be taken for granted. In my experience, the reflexive interviewer needs to be more than just an emotional labourer, s/he needs to be a kind of psychological athlete: conscious of their own strengths and weaknesses or injuries, imbued with courage and stamina, and able to acknowledge and use the characteristics of the “psychological equipment” with which they work. Like any other explorer, the task demands a touch of selfishness and confidence in one’s own preparedness, but also the humility to seek and accept the advice and support of more highly qualified or experienced members of their team. I grew up in a reflexive, one might say “psycho-socially aware”, household. I am the daughter of two qualified psychologists, one a social worker, the other an academic specialist in the residential care of children, both also politically active. Some of my earliest memories are of a succession of interesting and diverse people flowing through our house and the concomitant discussion of their processes, motivations, and personalities. I must have been very young, perhaps just seven or eight, at the stage when one begins to pay attention and attempts to understand adult discourses, when I first heard the axiom “good breast, bad breast”, but it took several decades before I was able to put this seemingly esoteric phrase into the context of the work and thinking of Melanie Klein and others.

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This “inherited habitus” has undoubtedly contributed to my work as a psycho-social researcher. I try to manage my engagement with the psycho-social project with care, in the hope that I might not only fulfil my obligations and responsibilities, but also acknowledge my own needs and desires. It is a delicate balance, and one that I cannot judge, on my own, to have succeeded in achieving. For that, one needs trusting and authentic relationships with one’s colleagues to act as the mediating third in the research relationship. However each specific psycho-social project chooses to adapt the methodology for their own context, the intersubjective nature of psycho-social interviewing must be recognized and needs to be explored, but the affective process of the researcher should not be afforded such strength as to be in danger of “the researcher becoming the researched”. By recognizing and taking account of the myriad of affective responses that potentially lie ahead they may be managed, or, perhaps more specifically, managed-out, in the interpretation and analysis of data.

Acknowledgement Thanks go to my research colleagues for sharing their experiences with me for the purposes of this chapter.

References Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. R. Nice (Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1999). The Weight of The World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Cambridge: Polity Press. Cook, A., & Berger, P. (2000). Predictors of Emotion Work and Household Labor Among Dual-Earner Couples. Colorado State University www. cyfernet.org/parent/workandfamily/colorado_findings.html 17.04.08. Erickson, R. J. (1993). Reconceptualizing family work: the effect of emotion work on perceptions of marital quality. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55: 888–900. Finlay, L., & Gough, B. (Eds.) (2003). Reflexivity: A Practical Guide for Researchers in Health and Social Sciences. Oxford: Blackwell.

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Hochschild, A. R. (1983). The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkley, CA: University of California Press. Hoggett, P., Beedell, P., Jimenez, L., Mayo, M., & Miller, C. (2006). Identity, life history & commitment to welfare. Journal of Social Policy, 35(4): 689–704. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. James, N. (1998). Emotional labour: skill and work in the social regulation of feelings. In: L. Mackay, K. Soothill & K. Melia (Eds.), Classic Texts in Health Care (219–225). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Kessler, M. R. K., Werner-Wilson, R. J., Cook, A. S., & Berger, P. (2000). Emotion management of marriage and family therapists: how is it different for women and men? American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(3): 243–253.

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CHAPTER SIX

Fear—and psycho-social interviewing Rosie Gilmour

“If the natural world is ruled by fate and chance, and the technical world by rationality and entropy, the social world can only be characterized as existing in fear and trembling” (Bell, in Bauman, 1993, p. 16)

Introduction

I

n his recent book on risk, Gardner describes the effects of the 1930s depression in the USA and the palpable fear in a society that seemed to have lost its way, where “fear had settled like a thick, grey fog across Washington”. He notes how Roosevelt famously referred to this in his inaugural address in 1933, with the comment that “. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself— nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance” (Gardner, 2008, p. 5). At the time, America was in a deep recession with millions of its citizens unemployed, impoverished. and fighting for survival. In such conditions, fear would be both understandable and expected. 121

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However, Gardner also posits that, nowadays, in the western world at least, “. . . we are the healthiest, wealthiest and longestlived people in history. And we are increasingly afraid. This is one of the greatest paradoxes of our time” (ibid., p. 10). But is it a paradox? In comparison with the 1930s, it would certainly appear so. I believe, however, that we are living in an era of unpredictability and profound uncertainty, where people feel that they have little control over their own lives and futures, and that this uncertainty and a sense of powerlessness are generating a level of existential fear, an undercurrent which affects their worldview and their relations with others. Fear, as Gardner highlights (2008), is a much exploited emotion these days, a discourse which dominates our epistème, to use Foucault’s term. Politicians regularly invoke the spectre of fear in relation to national security, terrorism, stolen identities, unguarded borders, predatory criminals, illegal immigrants, drug addiction, and more, and “the politics of fear” is now a commonplace term. Technological advances also evoke fear and uncertainty: witness the scares surrounding various vaccines, GM foods, biometric ID cards, and the reliability of data protection. Marketers and advertisers, bankers and insurers exploit this discourse to convince people to buy products or services that will, allegedly, preserve them and their families from risks and offer them protection in the future. The Health and Safety Executive seems to have an uncommonly strong grip on the national psyche, with people urged to beware of what they eat, smoke, drink, and do, and the fear of litigation hangs heavy on many providers of products and services. Tension and violence permeate much of the output of the entertainment industry. Fear is, thus, a constant which haunts the media, creating a climate in which risks and dangers apparently lurk around every corner. Moreover, many of the values of the western world and its cultural dominance have come into question in recent years, and uncertainty and a lack of confidence have infiltrated the public psyche. Fear has, thus, pervaded our consciousness, seeping through its porous seams into our unconsciousness, and now features in many people’s world view, making them nervous of risks, change, and difference. There is nothing extraordinary about fear. It is in all humans from birth, according to Melanie Klein, and is “the predominant

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emotion of the paranoid–schizoid position, pity the dominant emotion of the depressive position” (Alford, 1998, p. 121). As such, we are subject to both. Alford also notes that, for Klein, “fear is ultimately fear of our own aggression and hatred”, and that negative instincts such as greed and possessive individualism are, in fact, provoked by fear. It is one of the emotions, however, which Klein saw as motivating “almost all human conduct” and, thus, creating a world (ibid., pp. 11, 179). Indeed, as Lucey demonstrates, “In a social psychoanalytic framework, unconscious anxiety is understood as inevitable, ‘normal’ and central to the development of the personality (Freud, 1936)” (Hollway, Lucey, & Phoenix, 2007, p. 82). I hope to show that the ubiquitous presence of fear in today’s world is both “inevitable” and “normal”, and that it should be acknowledged as such, not derided or ignored.

Uncertainty and fear Uncertainty, insecurity, and the fear arising from these have long been themes in the work of Zygmunt Bauman and in his thoughts on the “liquid” quality of modernity. According to Bauman, we live in a time when “social forms”, structures which might previously have appeared solid and clearly identifiable no longer display those qualities, but are “melting”, and no longer offer a long-term frame of reference for humans. The separation of power and politics has accompanied this: because of globalization, power is no longer exercised at the level of the nation-state but in the global space where there is no political control. Functions previously performed by the state are “contracted out”, and the state becomes increasingly irrelevant to many of its citizens (Bauman, 2007, pp. 1–2). Beck also describes what he calls “manufactured uncertainties” and the fear inherent in today’s society and the cause of these: In the age of risk the threats we are confronted with cannot be attributed to God or nature but to “modernization” and “progress” itself. Thus the culture of fear derives from the paradoxical fact that the institutions that are designed to control produced uncontrollability. [Beck & Yates, 2003, p. 99]

Inevitably, this uncertainty affects people’s social relations and is manifested in a decrease in social solidarity and “community” and

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a weakening of “interhuman bonds”, which take on a temporary quality. Lives become fragmented and focused on the short-term, and individuals are forced to be responsive and flexible when confronted with ever-changing circumstances (Bauman, 2007, pp. 2–4). Bauman blames “negative globalization” for this, a phenomenon beyond the individual’s comprehension and control, which therefore magnifies their fear and insecurity: Fear is arguably the most sinister of the demons nesting in the open societies of our time. But it is the insecurity of the present and uncertainty about the future that hatch and breed the most awesome and least bearable of our fears. That insecurity and that uncertainty, in their turn, are born of a sense of impotence: we seem to be no longer in control, whether singly, severally or collectively—and to make things still worse we lack the tools that would allow politics to be lifted to the level where power has already settled, so enabling us to recover and repossess control over the forces shaping our shared condition while setting the range of our possibilities and the limits to our freedom to choose: a control which has now slipped or has been torn out of our hands. [Bauman, 2007, p. 26]

Global warming, global terrorism, and the global credit crunch are all examples of phenomena over which states and individuals have little, if any, control, but which most certainly affect them: witness the floods in England in 2007, the attacks on the Twin Towers, Madrid, and London, and the recent collapse of major financial institutions. These are global phenomena, but they provide a backdrop to the way people feel about and live their daily lives and can impinge upon these at any moment. People’s well being, jobs, future prospects, family and relationship stability, their whole being-in-the-world, are all undermined by the lack of certainty: The ground on which our life prospects are presumed to rest is admittedly shaky—as are our jobs and the companies that offer them, our partners and networks of friends, the standing we enjoy in wider society and the self-esteem and self-confidence that come with it. [ibid., p. 10]

Another frightening factor is the reach of the instability inherent in “negative globalization”. Nobody is immune. There is “no

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outside”, and no possibility of opting out (Beck & Yates, 2003, p. 105). Evidently, this backdrop affects me as much as interviewees, something I became aware of while interviewing respondents in 2005–2006 in two cities in south west England for an ESRC-funded project entitled “Mobility and unsettlement: new identity construction in contemporary Britain”.

Fear as an interviewer Interviewing is not as simple as it might seem. To be effective, interviewers need experience, in-depth knowledge of the subject they are exploring, and a capacity “to break through the screen of clichés behind which each of us lives” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 614). Bourdieu sees interviewing as a kind of social relationship affected by distorting factors which the interviewer must try to minimize: “At the very least, this implies understanding what can and cannot be said, the forms of censorship that prevent saying certain things and the promptings that encourage stressing others” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 609). When I started on the project, academic research was a new venture for me, although I had experience of commercial market research. To a large extent, the uncertainties in any research project are much the same from a technical point of view: the success of the project will depend largely on the definition of the research question, the appropriateness of the methodology, the suitability and size of the sample, and the quality of the analysis and interpretation. The purpose of commercial market research may differ from that of academic research, as it is normally employed to help marketers make informed decisions about products and services, decisions that can often be tracked in terms of sales. Certainty regarding the “correct” answer arguably becomes more of an imperative, and structured questionnaires and the power of numbers usually rule. Structured interviews theoretically offer more certainty, potentially limiting the researcher’s fear of misunderstanding and misinterpreting, and also permitting him/her to remain neutral and “outside” the process, all of which has a strong appeal. However, structured interviewing and what Bourdieu

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describes as “the interventionism of the questionnaire” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 609) limit both the responses of the interviewees and the researcher’s understanding of what lies behind their responses. It also ignores the presence of the interviewer as a co-constructor of the research environment and means that the interviewees’ replies must be taken at face value, which is not how people normally deal with one another (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 3). Not only do the relations between the interviewer and interviewee affect the quality and type of data, but there is also the question of the dominant discourse, as Lucey highlights: Discursive psychologists and those applying a social psychoanalytic approach share the principle that reality and our experience of any external reality is a co-construction, created through social and interpersonal interactions. They would also agree on the importance of discourse in the production of subjectivity as well as the emphasis on the place of history, location and culture in examining why certain subject positions are taken up and not others. [Hollway, Lucey, & Phoenix, 2007, p. 82]

It is therefore important to acknowledge both the personal circumstances of the interviewees and what might be happening historically in the epistème. Virtually all of our respondents agreed to be interviewed twice, and between the first and the second interview, the London bombings occurred. We explored issues around immigration in the second interview, and, although we cannot say that our findings would have differed if the bombings had not happened, it was evidently a discourse likely to affect the respondents’ views at that moment, although very few of them mentioned it. As I have said elsewhere (Gilmour, 2007), when I started work on the ESRC-funded project, I was somewhat in awe of the academic brains I was going to be working with and uncertain how much I would able to contribute intellectually. I was also unfamiliar with the psycho-social approach we were going to use. I was conscious that I was not trained in psychology or psychoanalysis, and felt nervous about the responsibility of asking people to talk about their personal lives. As Bauman comments, At no time . . . does articulation carry stakes as huge as when it comes to the telling of the “whole life” story. What is at stake then

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is the acquittal (or not, as the case may be) of the awesome responsibility placed on one’s shoulders . . . by irresistible “individualisation”. In our “society of individuals” all the messes into which one can get are assumed to be self-made and all the hot water into which one can fall is proclaimed to have been boiled by the hapless failures who have fallen into it. For the good and the bad that fill one’s life a person has only himself or herself to thank or to blame. And the way the “whole-life” story is told raises this assumption to the rank of an axiom. [Bauman, 2001, p. 9]

I felt that I was asking the respondents to do a lot, putting themselves into a position in which I might judge them and their actions, despite our repeated assurances about ethics and confidentiality. They did not really know what we might do with the information. On the one hand, I was in a position of power, as I would be one of those evaluating the information they provided and deciding how it would be used, yet the respondents were in a position of power in choosing what and how much knowledge to provide me with. This reciprocity is reminiscent of Foucault’s view of the power– knowledge paradigm: [T]here is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations . . . [It is] powerknowledge, the processes and struggles that traverse it and of which it is made up, that determines the forms and possible domains of knowledge. [Foucault, 1991, pp. 27–28]

To me, it was important that the respondents should feel that the relationship was equal, which was not always easy: some were nervous about the fact that we came from a university and that there might be a “right” or “wrong” answer. The interviewer holds the power initially as s/he initiates the interview, and, as Bourdieu notes, This asymmetry is reinforced by a social symmetry every time the investigator occupies a higher place in the social hierarchy of different types of capital, cultural capital in particular. The market for linguistic and symbolic goods established every time an interview takes place varies in structure according to the objective relationship between the investigator and the investigated or . . . the

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relationship between all the different kinds of capital, especially linguistic capital, with which each of them is endowed. [Bourdieu, 1999, p. 609]

This meant being aware of the language I used, trying to adapt it to each respondent, not making them feel uncomfortable by using potentially unfamiliar concepts. This rarely happened in the first interviews, when people talked about their lives and experiences, a process which many clearly enjoyed. However, in the second interviews, it was obvious from the quality of some of the responses that we were asking questions that people felt uncomfortable with or not capable of answering, and that our approach was not working. As “Jan” said, after talking about immigration: “It makes you feel a bit stupid—I suppose I should have thought about this before. The last one was easy—it’s all about me. It makes me think I’m racist.”

Some were evidently bemused by the questions, as “Jessica’s” comments illustrate: Q. “How do you feel about being a European?” A

“I have no idea. I struggled with Britishness [laughing], now European. I don’t know. It’s all that huge thing about going to the euro and all that. I don’t really know. It seems far away in my head, so I don’t really feel anything about it apart from distance.”

Q. “I mean, it’s not an idea that you reject, or is it?” A. “I don’t reject it, I just haven’t formed an opinion on it . . . You can probe more—I might come up with some childish comparison.” [Laughing]

Such responses made me feel that I was not formulating reasonable questions, that I was not in touch with what I was trying to do. We recognized as a team that the methodology was not producing the quality of data we needed, and that we had to rethink our strategy and modify the questions so that they might be more open and less “testing” for our respondents. The data became richer when we stopped being so directive and gave the respondents their own voice.

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I was also conscious that I would have to “help” the respondents produce their story, and that what they chose to entrust me with would depend to a large extent on how they related to me. As Hollway says, I know . . . that I have a stock of ready narratives to draw on which fit particular situations and which will tell me nothing new unless the person I am talking to helps me to produce something new . . . I have realised that there is no context, however private and searching, which could provide the account which tells the whole truth . . . The combination of this use of my own experience and the idea (from Foucault) that “truth” is a historical product and therefore no knowledge is absolute, enabled me to begin to see participants’ accounts as one production among an infinite set of possibilities. [Hollway, 1989, p. 41]

I, therefore, had to recognize my own role in and responsibility for the quality of each of those individual productions and allow myself to believe that, had the interview been conducted by one of my colleagues, it would not necessarily have been better or worse, just different. I was also worried that I might upset people by pushing them too far. The first interview I conducted lasted 21⁄2 hours, with “Maria” describing quite traumatic events from her past. I was concerned that the process had evoked painful memories for her when she said, “You can never relax in life and you can never forgive yourself for a mistake. You are always blaming yourself—it is almost a paranoia.” I remember feeling out of my depth: I had not expected such frankness and did not know how to respond other than by listening. I also did not know when to stop it. I recall empathizing with her and believe this was my first conscious experience of projective identification, which might explain why I was so shaken by it. On the other hand, participating in the interview may have been a kind of therapy for “Maria”. Most of the respondents seemed to welcome the opportunity to talk about their lives, somehow reliving them, and for some it presented an opportunity to talk in a way they perhaps rarely experienced in their daily lives. As Bourdieu demonstrates,

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[C]ertain respondents, especially the most disadvantaged, seem to grasp this situation as an exceptional opportunity offered to them to testify, to make themselves heard, to carry their experience over from the private to the public sphere; an opportunity also to explain themselves in the fullest sense of the term, that is, to construct their own point of view both about themselves and about the world and to bring into the open the point within this world from which they see themselves and the world, become comprehensible and justified not least for themselves. (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 615]

This was clearly true for “Susie”, who poured out some very personal and often harrowing details and for whom it seemed to be a therapeutic process: “Got it all off my chest.” While the respondents seemed happy to talk about their life experiences, there were moments when I felt I had unintentionally made interviewees uncomfortable. For example, when I asked “Jake” about the black and the Somalian kids who he said had gone to his school, he evidently thought I perceived him as racist: “You know, only a few of your mates are going with you, you know, they chose different schools, then to be, I was going to say exposed, can’t use exposed as a bad word or anything like that, to see how different the jump was from junior school to senior school, you know, just in the sense of like, obviously you’re going to be knowing a lot of different people and stuff, but it just seemed as there was just a load of Somalian people. But again, I’m not racist, do you know what I mean, I’m not racist, it takes a lot to wind me up, do you know what I mean, it takes a lot to get me going, do you know what I mean, I’ve got a high tolerance level, it was never really an issue when I was younger, I was just going back to what I was saying because I was whereabouts my school, my education and stuff.”

I was afraid that I had pushed him into a position where he felt racist, as evinced by the nervous language he uses above and by his assertions that he was not racist. I called him later to thank him for the interview and reiterated that I did not see him as racist, and he thanked me for that. He had evidently felt bad about it afterwards, as indeed had I. It made me think of the importance of the respondents’ well being without losing sight of the fact that they had

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agreed to be interviewed and to provide information about themselves. According to Hollway, Identification also provides a useful starting point for conceptualising ethical relating, which should involve recognising others for what they are (not for what you want or need them to be nor for how they might want to be recognised). . . . [P]sychoanalytic theorising of identification problematises how we can differentiate between ourselves and others in ways that enable us to identify with their experiences without confusing their situation with our own. In research ethics, this applies to how the researcher construes what she experiences and whether it is a fair and respectful way of knowing participants. [2008, p. 157]

However, there were instances when I felt a different fear, when I was afraid that I was potentially condoning racism. I was aware in both of the following cases of feeling conflicting emotions: on the one hand, I appreciated that the respondents were apparently being honest with me and was also aware of the spontaneity of the interview situation, when people do not know what they are going to be asked and therefore might say things they do not really mean and that they should not be immediately “labelled” as a result, but I also questioned whether I was “legitimating racism” (Bourdieu, 1999, p. 623) by remaining silent. Q. “If I say the word immigrant, what picture does it conjure up?” A. “Oh it conjures up negative images, I hate to say it, but it does. It conjures up East Europeans or African Soweto, not Soweto, what do you call them, what’s that place, there’s a lot of them in “Summersville”. It conjures up bad images. It conjures up spongers, people living off us who are not destroying our way of life, but having an effect on the British side, I suppose, because it touches back I suppose to what we were saying about being British. This is why we’re partly being diluted. It’s not being diluted by Indians or Pakistanis who’ve been here for fifty-five years or whatever. It’s by people coming in, and I’ve noticed it, [when] I go to London . . . and I do find it, I’ll be honest, mildly irritating because you hardly see what you would call a normal white British person on the street, because it is just full of foreigners. Foreigners in inverted commas, sorry . . . And I think that is quite sad really, because what are

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they doing here, and I think, well, that’s a silly thing to think, do you know what I mean, but it does annoy me.” Q. “Have you had experience of immigrants yourself?” A

“None whatsoever, no, so again, it’s a perception which perhaps I should be slightly ashamed of. But that’s the way I would feel.”

By not making “Harry” understand that I did not share his position, perhaps I was legitimating a level of racism? Yet, he was being frank, which I appreciated. It was a conundrum for me, and one that I have not yet resolved. “Anne” really objected in the first interview to being recorded, which made me feel that I was putting her in an uncomfortable position. I had consequently interviewed her in a rushed, disjointed fashion, feeling ill at ease myself, again perhaps an example of projective identification. Consequently, I was nervous in the second interview, but she was more relaxed and talked freely about immigration. Afterwards, she evidently felt uncomfortable about some of her views and said she thought she was “really racist” and that it was very recent to think like this. I started to sympathize with her, but then she said she had given to the tsunami relief fund but would not give to the Pakistani earthquake disaster, as she thought there was a big pot of money already there and they should not come round with their “begging bowl”, that Indians and Pakistanis in Britain should give to it. I remember feeling real discomfort with this, wanting to say what I thought, but also being conscious of “interviewer neutrality”. However, I also felt that by saying nothing, I had potentially colluded with the beliefs expressed. I again had difficulty resolving that: the interviewees were giving their time and at no benefit to themselves and I was grateful, but at what cost? It left me concerned about my own integrity: if I had said something, I might have grasped why they felt the way they did, but I did not trust myself to do so. There was also the question of understanding where the respondents might be coming from. As Skeggs posits, To say that their statements about fairness are just racist is too simple. We need to get at the complexity of their remarks—the attachments, the labour, the investments, the loss, and how all these

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exist in relation to the privileges and interest of the ones who make the judgements of them. [Skeggs, 2006]

Knowing that my colleagues would read the interview transcripts, I was also concerned about the implications of my own racism and incompetence. This emerged on one particular occasion when I suddenly realized that the respondent was distinguishing between “black” and “Somalian” children, a distinction I had been unaware of until then: A. “I would say, out of 100% (of pupils at my school), I would say there was probably, 60% white kids, 15% black kids and 35% Somalians I’d say.” (Checking the sums with the interviewer, both the interviewer and respondent got the sums wrong: it should have been 25% Somalians.) Q. “And the 15% who were black kids, where were they from?” A

“They were people like from around the area and also like from X, and people that just lived locally.”

Q. “So they weren’t coming from outside of X or Y, they were part of the local community?”

During this exchange, I suddenly understood that the respondent was not describing the Somalians as “black”, but was putting them into a different category, and my question about where the black kids came from was much more racist than his response. It was not a proud moment for me, and was again something I felt my colleagues would judge me on. Considering all the uncertainties which I felt in the research process, it helped to remember Hollway’s and Jefferson’s view that “all research subjects are meaning-making and defended subjects”, who might interpret questions personally, adopt certain positions in discourses to protect themselves, might not understand their own feelings, and would be “motivated, largely unconsciously, to disguise the meaning of at least some of their feelings and actions” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 26). Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising how many pitfalls there might be. The psycho-social method itself can also cause uncertainty, as there is no way of proving that the researcher’s conclusions are

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correct, and uncertainty has to be tolerated (Hollway, 2006, verbal communication). This can be nerve-racking for a novice researcher who might wish to be able to speak more confidently about the research findings rather than relying on his/her own subjective interpretations.

Fear as an interviewee There are many reasons why respondents might feel fear, particularly in the kind of interviews we conducted for the ESRC project. For example, the majority of our respondents agreed to be interviewed by us, strangers, in their own homes, and to talk about potentially intimate matters. Not everybody would do that, despite Simmel’s observation that [T]he stranger who moves on . . . often receives the most surprising openness—confidences which sometimes have the character of a confessional and which would be carefully withheld from a more closely related person. [Simmel, 1964, p. 404]

To find respondents, we used “gatekeepers” trusted in the community and the “snowball” method of recommendation. Confidentiality was therefore an issue for some interviewees, who would only say certain things once they had been reassured that their comments would not be linked to them. “Janet”, for example, confided that she had been quite severely beaten as a child, something she did not want anyone in her community to know. Doubts around confidentiality inevitably affected what was revealed and what was kept back. Initial fears were obvious in the case of some of the respondents, and occasionally in the spouses. When one of my male colleagues interviewed a female respondent, her husband sat in on the interview. Similarly, when I talked to a male respondent, his wife remained in the room throughout the interview, emanating suspicion. She did not stay during the second interview: either she had decided I was “all right” or she was not interested. In the first interviews, it was notable that the narratives of many respondents who were less well off were more vivid and often

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contained astonishingly frank and sometimes harrowing detail than the more rehearsed stories of those who were better off. However, many of those who spoke fluently in the first round responded in a stilted, hesitant fashion in the second interviews when asked “difficult” questions about subjects they perhaps had little knowledge of or had never thought about, as this extract from “Joseph’s” material demonstrates. Q

“And so, what does being British mean to you?”

A. “What does it mean? Gosh, you don’t half ask some awkward questions.” Q.

“Sorry about that.”

A. “That’s all right, it’s what you’re here for, isn’t it. . . . What does being British mean to me? [Long hesitation.] “I don’t know. I’m not too sure to be honest, sorry.”

This discomfort and the underlying fear of looking stupid evidently affected the quality of the data and were instrumental in making us revisit our approach. The kind of fear mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, a fear that permeates people’s lives, emerged in several interviews, particularly where immigration was concerned. As one respondent spontaneously commented, “There is such a fear in this country at the moment, there’s a real climate for institutional racism.” Several people expressed their fear of “losing out”, either in terms of physical resources (housing, jobs, benefits) or spiritual resources (their own identity, religion). Some clearly perceived that the enjoyment of these resources was being “stolen” from them, in Zˇ izˇek’s terms, that people who had no “right”, usually those not “born and bred” in England, were somehow taking these things from them or jumping the queue. In Zˇ izˇek’s view, The national Cause is ultimately nothing but the way subjects of a given ethnic community organize their enjoyment through national myths. What is therefore at stake in ethnic tensions is always the possession of the national Thing. We always impute to the “other” an excessive enjoyment; s/he wants to steal our enjoyment (by ruining our way of life) and/or has access to some secret, perverse enjoyment. . . . The basic paradox is that our Thing is conceived as

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something inaccessible to the other, and at the same time threatened by it. [Zˇ izˇ ek, 1990, pp. 53–54]

This notion of having the enjoyment of your way of life stolen was highlighted when some interviewees talked about the allocation of benefits or social housing. The most vociferous on this subject were generally less well off with limited access to material resources. They were evidently afraid that they might not get their due share when they needed it. “Jake”, for example, currently lives with his parents, but is worried he might not get a council house: “Like for me personally, if I wanted to go out and get a house or get a flat, I would be put further down the list for someone that is not a British citizen to say, someone that has come over into the country, they get everything handed to them and it’s people that have been living in this country since they were born that are not getting the same benefits as other people in this country.”

“Paula” was obviously bitter that “Others” were taking from a system they had not contributed to. “You know, you’ve got all these are Somalians coming in. Why do they come here? There’s loads of places that they’ve got to pass over to come here. I think our government just lets them come in because they know we’ve got to pay them, they’ve all got to be paid, kept when they come in here; they use our health service for nothing. I think, you know, my husband he worked himself until he died almost and paid in to all this what we’re getting free, but they come here and they haven’t paid a penny into it, even from the EU. Until they’ve paid something into our system, I don’t think they should get it.”

Not everybody blamed immigrants, however, with quite a few talking about young girls who become pregnant in order to get a council flat. Others focused on the “theft” of their spiritual resources, primarily the right to enjoy their religion as they chose, and were worried by that right being restricted. “Something else to do with it as well which is how we seem to be bending everything to accommodate the different, and the different

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religions as well. And I think that, you know, we should allow for different religions, but not when their religion takes precedence over ours, because we certainly can’t go to a Muslim country and have the same rights. And to call, I think, was it in Leicester, I’m not sure, the Christmas lights winter lights because of an offence, see, and it’s that that’s becoming really annoying to most people that I have spoken to lately anyway. I think it’s just that enough is enough now.”

There were several instances of this fear of spiritual “displacement”, both from avowed Christians, upset that they could not practise their religion as they wanted to, and from others who were concerned about what they perceived as discriminatory practices depriving them of their traditional cultural rights: “I get very annoyed about issues, the way rules and regulations are changed in Britain to accommodate people who are visiting this country, who have come to live in this country, when I know if I went to live in their countries, nobody would accommodate me. That annoys me. It annoys me that we’re all getting so politically bloody correct now in a minute we’re all going to disappear up each other’s bums. When schools are stopped celebrating nativity plays in case they’re offending Muslims or whatever, that really winds me up because we are losing our identity trying to accommodate everybody else and it is frowned upon if you say, well, no.”

Political correctness also emerged regarding the use of language, with several respondents saying they no longer knew how to say certain things, that they had to be careful in their choice of language for fear of giving offence, particularly in a racial context. The fear of losing their national identity was a major issue for a number of respondents, however, with some clearly envious of what they perceived as strong Irish, Scottish, and Welsh identities in comparison with the alleged “weakness” of the English identity, while others blamed this “theft of their enjoyment” on immigrants. Q. “Just taking the whole theme of identity—you’re British, aren’t you?” A. “English, actually, sorry.” Q. “That’s OK. Do you make a distinction between being British and English?”

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A. “I do, I do now for the first time in all these years, yes I do.” Q. “You are saying for the first time. Why?” A. “Because I am just, well, this is going to sound really racist now, I am just fed up with all the British that aren’t, you know, the non-British that are now British, and I just think that in so many years time, the English, we’re just going to be the minority. I think the government should have put a stop on how many foreigners they were letting in.”

The “Other”, the stranger, was thus blamed not only for the loss of resources, but also identity. As Clarke comments, The issue of asylum and asylum seekers in the United Kingdom has seen the growth of a new politics of fear in which the Other threatens to not only engulf us but destroy us from within. In a dangerous political amalgam, the asylum seeker not only has become a popular folk demon in the media but is now being equated with terrorism . . . They, the stranger, the refugee, represent all our fears of displacement, of chaos, and represent a threat to our psychic stability. [Clarke, Hoggett, & Thompson, 2006, p. 79]

While none of the respondents mentioned immigrants in relation to terrorism, some clearly felt that their way of life was threatened by them, regardless of whether they were immigrants, migrants, or asylum seekers. The quest for a fulfilled sense of identity was evidently driving some respondents to seek out the company of fellow citizens with similar concerns, whether they were attendees at their church, parents fighting the loss of the local school, or neighbours struggling to build or maintain community ties. Bauman highlights what a solitary enterprise the endeavour of identity creation can be. The search for identity divides and separates; yet the precariousness of the solitary identity-building prompts the identity-builders to seek pegs on which they can hang together their individually experienced fears and anxieties and perform the exorcism rites in the company of others, similarly afraid and anxious individuals. Whether such “peg communities” provide what they are hoped to offer—a collective insurance against individually confronted risks—is a moot question, but mounting a barricade in the

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company of others does supply a momentary respite from loneliness. [Bauman, 2001, pp. 151–152]

Schools and churches can provide such pegs and are markers of community. The fear of the effect of the loss of such markers was apparent in several of the wards where we conducted the research, two of which had lost their local secondary school. This change was felt to have had a very negative effect, with “the soul” ripped out of the community. Some talked of how children no longer grew up together, but went to schools in areas where traditionally they would never have gone, and where they experienced difficulties because of territorial rivalry. “They went to their sworn enemies if you like. It was the same when we were at school, there was fighting amongst the schools.” Because the children no longer went through school and the local youth club together, and did not progress on to the pub and perhaps work as a group, they lost contact with each other, and one mother feared that this would lead to crime and violence: her son had been attacked in the local park by a group of younger teenagers and had been struck by the fact that he had not recognized anyone; another son had got into trouble in a local pub because he was not in his own “territory”. The lack of a secondary school also means that people are unwilling to invest time and effort in the community, knowing that their children will have to go to school elsewhere and, for the middle classes, this may mean that they choose to move house in order to get their child into a school of their choice. The same phenomenon occurs in the workplace when people know they will be there for a short time and then move on, hoping they are going to something better. This mobility and lack of long-term investment of self affect not just the social relations of a neighbourhood, but also people’s values and the emotions they employ in their dealings with others. As Sennett demonstrates, “No long term” is a principle which corrodes trust, loyalty, and mutual commitment . . . usually deeper experiences of trust are more informal, as when people learn on whom they can rely when given a difficult or impossible task. Such social bonds take time to develop, slowly rooting into the cracks and crevices of institutions . . . Detachment and superficial cooperativeness are better armor for

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dealing with current realities than behavior based on values of loyalty and service. [Sennett, 1998, pp. 24–25]

Many people accept the idea that they will probably move on, particularly those who are better off and who often feel they have to move in order to achieve. Indeed, according to Sennett, “To stay put is to be left out” (ibid., p. 87). However, the constant moving on creates a community where no one “becomes a long-term witness to another person’s life” (ibid., pp. 20–21) and the strength of social bonds becomes more tenuous. Many of our respondents were aware of this phenomenon and some were part of it, but some felt strongly about the security that familiarity with a place offers. Q. “It sounds as if you felt you were really part of a community there.” A. “Mmm! Just in the sense of knowing people from school because I wouldn’t feel intimidated at going anywhere in my area because I knew people rather than if, you know, if you went into an area you didn’t know, you would feel intimidated and you know, people’s perception, you think, “Well what are you doing here? Why are you here?” Rather than, you know, I was like, when we was at school I could go literally anywhere in my area because there was people there that I knew from school. You know what I mean? Then people wouldn’t be looking at me, going well, what are you doing here, do you know what I mean, round this area, stay away from our area. From where I was in school, I could just go anywhere.”

There was a strong desire for stability and certainty in relations, and older respondents in particular hankered after a “golden age” of community, in Back’s terms (1996). The way in which many people now live, whether out of choice or necessity, in a state of flux, instability, and uncertainty, makes it difficult for them to see their lives as an entity lived in relation to others, forcing them to live as self-sufficient but solitary individuals, living their fears alone as Bauman notes: The present-day uncertainty is a powerful individualizing force. It divides instead of uniting, and since there is no telling who might

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wake up in what division, the idea of “common interests” grows ever more nebulous and in the end becomes incomprehensible. Fears, anxieties and grievances are made in such a way as to be suffered alone. [Bauman, 2001, p. 24]

It was obvious from many of our respondents’ comments that such “individualization” was not something to which they necessarily aspired. No one said anything negative about the concept of community, and many said they would like to work for the community, if they were not already doing so. Everyone acknowledged the value and strength of a cohesive, stable, and long-term community, and the sense of belonging and continuity of identity which that might offer, as well as the notion that other people are there for you and that you are not alone. “It’s just knowing your neighbours, it’s having people around you, it’s working with them, just working, shopping, interfacing, you just meet with them and bump into them occasionally, getting to know the people around you, that gives you a sense not just of security, but belonging, and things like that, ownership, those sort of words.”

Conclusions Sennett questions how humans can “develop a narrative of identity and life history in a society composed of episodes and fragments” (Sennett, 1998, p. 26). Yet, the globalizing world forces many people to live in a more episodic and fragmentary way than lives were previously lived. With stability and certainty about the future a figment of past imaginations, people are obliged to change and take risks, perhaps not out of choice, but out of necessity, and to “revamp” and “relaunch” their identity at regular intervals (Craib, 1998, p. 3). Each time this happens, there has to be a mental and emotional recalibration, and there will be doubt and fears as to the appropriateness of the identity currently “on view”, especially if this happens in the context of an unfamiliar community. It is not a forgiving world, and there may be repercussions if the “wrong” identity is selected for the task in hand. Moreover, in such “liquid times”, there are inevitably fewer people who might be qualified

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and willing to give advice as and when it is needed. Ultimately, people are on their own and with limited power and control: a frightening prospect. However, we are all vulnerable and defended beings, and fear is an emotion that has to be recognized and accepted as part of our lives. As Hollway demonstrates, following Klein, and relating it back to the power that lies at the heart of all relations and relationships, [T]his vulnerability (of the ego) is an unavoidable effect of human nature: anxiety is the original state of human nature . . . The continuous attempt to manage anxiety, to protect oneself, is never finally accomplished (though mature adulthood can achieve relative stability and a state of apparent peace with anxiety). Anxiety thus provides a continuous, more or less driven, motive for the negotiation of power in relations. [Hollway, 1989, p. 85]

References Alford, C. F. (1989). Melanie Klein & Critical Social Theory. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Back, L. (1996). New Ethnicities and Urban Culture: Racisms and Multiculture in Young Lives. London: Routledge. Bauman, Z. (1993). Postmodern Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell. Bauman, Z. (2001). The Individualised Society. Cambridge: Polity Press with Blackwell. Bauman, Z. (2007). Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press. Beck, U., & Yates, J. (2003). Joshua Yates interview with Ulrich Beck on fear and risk society. The Hedgehog Review, 5(3): 96–107. Bourdieu, P. (1999). Understanding. In: The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society (pp. 607–626). Cambridge: Polity Press with Blackwell. Clarke, S., Hoggett, P., & Thompson, S. (Eds.) (2006). Emotion, Politics and Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Craib, I. (1998). Experiencing Identity. London: Sage. Foucault, M. (1991). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin. Gardner, D. (2008). Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear. London: Virgin.

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Gilmour, R. (2007). Uncertainty and guilt—dilemmas for researchers. Unpublished paper for the Psychosocial Group, London Metropolitan University, 12/2/2007. Hollway, W. (1989). Subjectivity and Method in Psychology—Gender, Meaning and Science. London: Sage. Hollway, W. (2008). The importance of relational thinking in the practice of psycho-social research: ontology, epistemology, methodology and ethics. In: S. Clarke, H. Hahn & P. Hoggett (Eds.), Object Relations and Social Relations. London: Karnac. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently. London: Sage. Hollway, W., Lucey, H., & Phoenix, A. (Eds.) (2007). Social Psychology Matters. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Sennett, R. (1998). The Corrosion of Character – The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism. New York: Norton. Simmel, G. (1964). The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Glencoe, New York: Collier–Macmillan. Skeggs, B. (2006). Notes for ESRC Ethnicities Workshop. London: London School of Economics. Zˇizˇek, S. (1990). Eastern Europe’s republics of Gilead. New Left Review, 1(183): 50–62.

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CHAPTER SEVEN

The use of self as a research tool Sue Jervis

T

his chapter is drawn from PhD research into the emotional experiences of servicemen’s wives, whose repeated relocation, particularly overseas, involves numerous losses. These women lose their established careers, homes, and familiar environments and become separated from family and friends, including, importantly for this chapter, children left behind at boarding school. Having trained and worked as a psychodynamic counsellor before embarking upon this research, I was already convinced that individuals are complex and that their relationships always involve ideas and processes outside their awareness. I wanted to use a research method that would allow me to address these unconscious dynamics and potentially reach a deeper level of understanding than would be possible otherwise. Consequently, I chose the “reflexive psychoanalytic research methodology” (Clarke, 2000, p. 150), which, in common with Hollway and Jefferson’s (2000) “free-association narrative interview method”, considers not only the manifest content of research data, but also what might underlie it. Since both research methods have been described elsewhere (Clarke, 2000, 2002; Hollway & Jefferson, 2000), I will not detail 145

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them again here. Instead, my focus is on the psychoanalytic concept of countertransference, defined as “the whole of the analyst’s unconscious reactions to the individual analysand” (Laplanche & Pontalis, 1973, p. 92). I will consider how countertransference may usefully inform the reflexivity required of psycho-social researchers, drawing particularly from the notion of “total countertransference” (Racker, 1957, p. 310). While my arguments will refer to examples from my research, all respondents’ names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.

Countertransference and its usefulness to the reflexive researcher Countertransference was not always seen as a useful psychoanalytic tool. Indeed, for Freud, it derived from analysts’ unresolved unconscious conflicts, which could hinder psychoanalysis unless overcome (Gay, 1998; Sandler, Dare, & Holder, 1992). In his paper “Recommendations to physicians practising psycho-analysis” (1912e), Freud advised analysts to remain as emotionally detached as surgeons. Somewhat confusingly though, he went on to say that it was necessary for analysts to turn their “own unconscious like a receptive organ towards the transmitting unconscious of the patient” (ibid., p. 115). Freud’s recommendations seemed contradictory. As Ellman (1991) argues, he was warning analysts to be dispassionate, yet he implicitly acknowledged the potential usefulness of their emotional responses (ibid., pp. 158–160, nn. 7–8). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Freud’s advice was initially misunderstood. However, in 1950, Heimann clarified the situation with her classic paper “On countertransference”, arguing that analysts achieve an unconscious awareness of the contents of their analysands’ psyches long before they reach any intellectual understanding. For her, countertransference was an important “instrument of research into the patient’s unconscious” (ibid., p. 81). Thus, countertransference became recognized as a phenomenon that facilitates understanding (Carpy, 1989; Ellman, 1991; Young, 2001). Although this view remains widespread among analysts today, the early ambivalence about countertransference within psychoanalysis indicates how concerned the profession was about the possibility that

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analysts might misunderstand or misuse the feelings aroused in them, to the detriment of their work. Similarly, within the field of research, there has been resistance to the notion that the emotional responses evoked in researchers might be useful (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000; Oakley, 1981). Indeed, it is only relatively recently that researchers’ feelings have been recognized as another form of data. Meanwhile, the idea of researchers remaining emotionally aloof from respondents was also being challenged. Consequently, the traditional neglect within sociological research of the often irrational feelings that influence all of us has begun to be replaced by the utilization of researchers’ subjectivity (Brown, 2000; Clarke, 2003, 2006; Froggett & Wengraf, 2004). Thus, a similar shift is currently occurring within sociology to that which occurred within psychoanalysis after the discovery of both the ubiquity and the value of countertransference. Contemporary understanding of the potential usefulness of countertransference owes much to Melanie Klein’s (1946) notion of “projective identification”; an unconscious process wherein unwanted parts of the self are psychically split off and projected into an object (often another person) which is then identified with those parts (ibid., p. 183). Deriving from infancy, projective identification is a means of communicating emotions and experiences that, as yet, cannot be comprehended or verbalised. For Bion (1959), its prototype is the crying baby who projects bewildering, distressing feelings, aroused, for example, by hunger, into an empathic mother capable of internalizing and calmly making sense of (identifying with) her child’s anxiety, responding to it appropriately and rendering it more tolerable (ibid., p. 104). Klein (1946) stressed that projective identification is used throughout life (1946, pp. 187–188). Indeed, Bion (1959) argued that sometimes it is the only way that individuals, even as adults, can communicate what is happening within their psyches. He emphasized the importance of analysts being able to internalize and feel for themselves their analysands’ unbearable or incomprehensible experiences (ibid., pp. 103–106). For Bion (1970), analysts must become “containers” for their analysands’ disturbing ideas and feelings. Once this psychic material is “contained”, it may be transformed into something more meaningful (ibid., p. 29). Thus, it is now considered essential that analysts notice and make sense of

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their countertransference responses. In fact, analytic understanding depends upon analysts’ sensitivity to the feelings evoked within them (Bion, 1959, 1970; Carpy, 1989; Joseph, 1983, 1985). Similarly, researchers who pay attention to what is going on inside them, especially to anything unusual, may discover that a respondent has communicated something of how they feel without actually verbalizing it. The sort of open-minded attitude that Bion recommended for analysts is therefore ideal, too, for researchers utilizing psychoanalytically informed research methods (Hollway, 2008; Skogstad, 2004). As Clarke (2000) argues, respondents unwittingly communicate their emotional states by evoking feelings in researchers that replicate their own, so if researchers are open to experiencing something that may feel “alien” to them, they can learn from respondents’ “otherness” and reach “that which is beyond words” (ibid., p. 149). For Clarke (2002), this arousal of similar emotions and ideas within researchers to those (unconsciously) experienced by respondents is the result of “projective communication” (ibid., p. 182). Clarke (2002, 2008) shares with Hollway and Jefferson (2000) a conviction that this involves projective identification. Perhaps what happened to me while I was interviewing Karen illustrates this phenomenon. Karen had been married for thirty years to a Naval officer, accompanying him on more than twenty postings, including several overseas. She seemed to be philosophically resigned to these repeated moves, which had necessitated sending her children away to boarding school. Although Karen primarily described her experiences in a rather flat tone, she laughed in a self-deprecating manner as she told me that, for her, relocation involved “disruption and the guilt thing, you know, ‘I’ve left my babies behind’, all that rubbish.” As Karen was speaking, I became aware of some discomfort in my throat and then realized that I was feeling rather sad and swallowing repeatedly. Soon afterwards, I noticed that Karen was swallowing a lot, too. Reflecting later on the constricted sensation in my throat and my sadness, I began to wonder whether Karen had been obliged to “swallow” many painful feelings that might “choke” her if they were verbalized. When I subsequently compared all of the interview transcriptions to identify any recurring themes, I realized that most of the respondents who had talked about sending their children to

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boarding school had minimized or laughed off this loss, and other major losses, thereby denying their emotional importance. Moreover, there were various indications of significant underlying distress among these women, albeit that this was rarely acknowledged within the military community, which tended to adopt a “stiff upper lip”. That is, the response evoked in me as I interviewed Karen alerted me to the possibility, which additional research data later confirmed, that certain distressing emotions were taboo both for her and for other respondents. Had I not reflected upon the unusual sensation that I believe Karen had unconsciously communicated to me, it is possible that this dynamic might have remained hidden, limiting the research findings. I want to highlight that my identification with what I believe were Karen’s unconscious feelings began with a bodily response, followed by an emotional response. While the experience felt important immediately, it only made sense to me later, after I had spent some time thinking about it, confirming, for me at least, the applicability to research of the psychoanalytic notion that unconscious awareness of another’s psyche precedes intellectual understanding. Moreover, the fact that I identified first with a physical sensation, repeated swallowing, which had emotional significance, lends weight to the argument (see Hinshelwood, 1991; Ogden, 1986; Young, 2006) that the continuing use of projective identification throughout adulthood involves similar unconscious ideas to those experienced so concretely (bodily) by pre-verbal infants. I am suggesting here that researchers may experience countertransference somatically as well as emotionally. If they can achieve “affective attunement” (Brown, 2000, p. 43) by adopting a receptive attitude akin to that of an effective analyst, researchers may reach deeper levels of understanding. However, in common with analysts, researchers might find it difficult to maintain the necessary balance between empathy and intellectual awareness. If the usefulness of reflexivity in research is more often recognized now, so are the problems that it shares with psychoanalysis (Clarke, 2002, 2006; Hollway, 2004, 2008; Hollway & Jefferson, 2000). In other words, there are good reasons for practitioners within both disciplines to exercise caution when using their personal feelings to inform their work. As Freud (1912e) argued, countertransference feelings may hinder as much as help the development of understanding.

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Problems associated with utilizing countertransference feelings Individuals who are open to another’s feelings sometimes find the experience disturbing. It has long been recognized within psychoanalysis that being the recipient of communication by projective identification might powerfully disturb analysts (Bion, 1970; Joseph, 1983, 1987; Pick, 1985). When that happens, analysts may unconsciously defend themselves from psychic pain. Moreover, they share with their analysands a desire to avoid the discomfort of connecting emotionally to unfamiliar aspects of themselves (Casement, 1985; Pick, 1985; Symington, 1986). Analysts might even collude to resist encountering unpalatable psychological truths (Grinberg, 1981; Money-Kyrle, 1956; Pick, 1985) If they are to be effective, analysts must learn how they unconsciously defend themselves. That is, they must learn to differentiate their own, possibly obstructive, psychic material from that belonging to their analysands (Hamilton, 1988; Money-Kyrle, 1956; Pick, 1985). One way that analysts do this is through being analysed themselves. Undergoing personal analysis increases self-awareness. This makes it more likely that analysts would notice if they began to respond defensively to something arising from their analytic work. Without such training, there is an increased risk that analysts might unconsciously ascribe their own emotions to their analysands. When analysts privilege their countertransference as the sole means of discovering meaning, then “wild countertransference analysis” (Sandler, Dare, & Holder, 1992, p. 51) might ensue. Researchers usually lack the advantage of personal analysis. Nevertheless, in their work they, too, might encounter unexpected ideas and emotions which they would rather not examine too closely. That is, utilizing reflexive research methods might disturb researchers (Clarke, 2002; Lucey, Melody, & Walkerdine, 2003; Savin-Baden, 2004). For Bion, every psychoanalytic relationship exploring the unknown comprises two anxious people (Casement, 1985, p. 4). An analogous anxiety exists within research relationships. Both respondents and researchers might unconsciously defend themselves against disturbing psychic material (Hollway, 2008; Hollway & Jefferson, 2000; Wengraf, 2000). These defences might then block understanding within research.

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Consequently, just as analysts must distinguish informative from unhelpful countertransference, researchers must determine which feelings emanate from respondents and which originate in themselves. Discussing research material with colleagues can help researchers to do this (Clarke, 2002; Hollway & Jefferson, 2000; Wengraf, 2000). Indeed, for some psycho-social researchers, the task of analysing data is best performed within a group, because it provides different perspectives to those of a singleton researcher and might uncover material that would otherwise remain unconscious (Buckner, 2005; Froggett & Wengraf, 2004; Skogstad, 2004). Such consultations are akin to the clinical supervision that supports some analytic work. When I found it difficult to disentangle my own issues from those presented by respondents, I asked for help from other psycho-social researchers. On one occasion, I sought assistance because I felt disturbed after listening to a tape-recording of the first of my two interviews with Kayleigh, a young, recently relocated serviceman’s wife. I was shocked to hear my cool, almost dismissive, responses to Kayleigh, and also the frequency with which I had interrupted her. This was not my usual interviewing style and the tone of our conversation was markedly different from that within the second interview, when Kayleigh and I developed a much warmer relationship. I was now at a loss to understand why I had behaved so differently during that first interview. With hindsight, Kayleigh’s frequent failure to complete her sentences, instead trailing off and indicating her meaning with gestures even though she had a good vocabulary, should have alerted me to the possibility that something important was being left unspoken. My apparent lack of empathy certainly failed to provide the sort of containment that might have helped me to recognize the depth of psychic pain that was threatening Kayleigh at that time, which, as it subsequently transpired, she was unconsciously attempting to deny. After I listened to the recorded interview, even my choice of pseudonym had become suspect, because, for me, “Kayleigh” suggests someone rather airy, not someone to be taken seriously. Through discussing the interview with other researchers I realized that I had unwittingly encouraged Kayleigh’s resistance to engaging with, as yet, unacknowledged distress about significant losses that she had sustained as a result of her recent move; losses

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which had undermined her normal coping skills. For example, my peers noticed that when I reflected back one of the few upsetting experiences that Kayleigh had acknowledged, I replaced her word “terrible” with the word “difficult”, thereby minimizing her feeling and denying its seriousness. I began to see that, just as Kayleigh had been unable to verbalize her painful feelings, I had been unable to “hear” them, by which I mean that I, too, remained out of touch with the disturbing emotions underlying her words. I now believe that, at first, Kayleigh and I unconsciously colluded in not taking seriously her distressing experience. It was not until our second meeting, six months after the first, that Kayleigh was able to talk about, and I was able to empathize with, how out of control and panicky she had felt after relocating. On reflection, several factors could have contributed to my initial inability to recognize the extent of Kayleigh’s distress, including, of course, my own unconscious defences against connecting with her feelings of bewilderment and incompetence, which resonated with my personal experience following relocation. In addition, there was the influence of the overseas military community where Kayleigh and I met, which was an environment wherein painful emotions tended to be denied. It was also a hierarchical community that positioned wives according to their husband’s rank, placing me, an officer’s wife, as “superior” to Kayleigh, whose husband belonged to the other ranks. Regardless of my conscious opposition to this replication of the military rank structure among wives, I now recognize that I did, nevertheless, perceive Kayleigh as somehow “junior” to me. That perception might have been influenced by Kayleigh’s youth (as the youngest participant in my research, she could have been my daughter), or the fact that she lacked both my experience of living overseas and my post-graduate education. Moreover, since Kayleigh’s life was somewhat restricted because it necessarily revolved around her baby, I made an assumption, erroneously as it turned out, that she had sustained few losses when she relocated. Thus, I positioned Kayleigh as less important (junior) for my research than other wives whose daily lives had changed significantly because they lost children to boarding school or lost valued careers. Another important factor that, with hindsight, I believe influenced my detachment from Kayleigh’s distress was that she, herself,

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had minimized the emotional impact that relocation had upon her. While this was common among respondents, Kayleigh had gone to unusual lengths to deny that her situation had changed. For example, she organized the living room in her new house so that it looked exactly like the one in her former home. I will return to this point later, when I say more about identification and its complexities. For now, I simply want to stress that research relationships are complex and, as within psychoanalytic relationships, confusion could arise about which feelings belong to whom. Moreover, the subsequent process of untangling them might leave researchers feeling foolish, even guilty, as I did, for not noticing the muddle sooner. Researchers might also require some help to unravel different aspects of the research which are connected in ways that are not immediately apparent, as I found in the two incidents described below. The first incident occurred during a meeting with members of my post-graduate peer group as we discussed various research problems with which we were struggling. I was talking about the difficulty of accurately representing respondents’ experiences without projecting my own emotional baggage (as a fellow mobile serviceman’s wife) on to their narratives. This issue had been very much in my mind after I had heard a presentation by another researcher about a respondent who was not, or not only, what he appeared to be at face value. I was surprised to find myself becoming tearful as I spoke about Fiona, the wife of an Army officer whom I had interviewed many months earlier. Fiona had cried while recalling the distress of sending her children to boarding school. She was shocked by the strength of her current feelings about events that had happened many years earlier. Although I had previously imagined using much of the touching material obtained during that interview in my thesis, thus far I had used very little, primarily because, until now, I had felt that my understanding of Fiona’s experiences was only at a surface level. One member of my peer group, who was shocked by my distress, said that it was as though I was a different person to the calm, balanced, sensible, contained person that he imagined me to be. The second incident occurred a few days later, when I presented a paper at a conference. As I quoted from several research interviews, it was important to me that I should verbalize the words in such a way as to convey the emotions that I felt were behind them.

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One woman told me afterwards that she liked the way that I had “given voice” to the respondents, comparing this to “acting”, which, for her, involved really empathizing with the characters being portrayed so that they were accurately represented. My initial response was to feel rather pleased by her comments, which suggested that I was, after all, able to represent the real feelings behind the stories of the individuals I had interviewed. Later on, however, I became anxious that I might somehow have been “play acting”. I then realized that, although I had very consciously chosen to present the quotations from my research data in that rather dramatized way, I had not reflected at all on why I wanted to do that. When I discussed with the same woman my concern that my empathy might not have been as genuine as it seemed, but rather some sort of “pseudounderstanding”, she remained convinced that by presenting the “stories” as I had, something vital had been conveyed about servicemen’s wives’ experiences that otherwise would have been missed. It was through reflecting afterwards upon these two incidents, both alone and with my peers, that I realized that the way in which I had both enacted Fiona’s distress and then presented material provided by other respondents so dramatically, at a time when I was preoccupied with how to accurately represent their feelings, might be saying something about how they habitually “played down” their emotions. Other evidence had emerged in the research data which suggested that most respondents had identified with the military institution; an institution that requires its members to maintain the sort of discipline necessary in warfare, remaining calm even in difficult situations. The military relies upon an outward appearance of strength and control, irrespective of any potentially disturbing emotions that exist beneath the surface. For both Fiona and I, getting in touch with deeper feelings had meant moving beyond the calm exterior that we usually present. Thus, my distress, which I now understood as replicating Fiona’s, was perceived as out of character. Taken together, these incidents suggested that servicemen’s wives’ feelings of distress can be heard only when they are dramatically reproduced. Recalling that hypothesis now brings me to another problem that researchers often face, which analysts do not: that researchers lack the many opportunities usually available within psychoanalysis to check directly the accuracy of their interpretations. The limited

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number of their research interviews means that, ordinarily, researchers are not able to confirm the validity of their findings with respondents, whereas analysts can “try out” their interpretations, refining them according to analysands’ responses. Researchers, therefore, need to ensure that the conclusions they reach have firm foundations. That is, they should be careful not to make any interpretations based upon the feelings evoked in them unless those interpretations are supported by other evidence within the research material (Buckner, 2005; Clarke, 2002; Frosh, 2003). Even in psychoanalysis, with its numerous possibilities for verifying the correctness of interpretations, it is still considered vital that analysts seek additional evidence in the analytic material to support assumptions based upon their emotional responses before making interpretations (Hamilton, 1988; Heimann, 1960; Searles, 1978). It feels important to reiterate that I did, in fact, find significant evidence within other research data to support my belief that, in order for servicemen’s wives’ “stories” to be heard properly, they might have to be dramatically reproduced. On numerous occasions I was told, in one way or another, that any emotions perceived as negative are taboo within military communities. Servicemen’s wives are expected to put on a “brave face” and be stoic (like their husbands) about the difficulties inherent in their lifestyles. Rather than complain, they “just get on with it”, thus colluding with the military culture. Hence, respondents frequently “played down” or laughed off the distressing losses that they sustained because of repeated relocation, including, as previously mentioned, being separated from children sent away to school. Sally even laughed as she described the day that she had left her children at boarding school as “the worst day” of her life. She immediately minimized the experience by saying, “This sounds dramatic”, almost as though she herself could not believe how painful it had been. Interestingly, when I listened to the tape-recording of her interview, Sally’s laughter sounded more like sobbing, and it was this (dramatic reproduction of her distress?), rather than her words, that I believe more accurately expressed how utterly devastated she had been to leave her children behind. Given that members of military communities must be brave and strong, feelings of distress become silenced. As Ardener (1975) argued, any challenges to the dominant view tend to be assigned “to a non-real

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status; making them ‘overlooked’, ‘muted’, ‘invisible’” (ibid., p. 25). No wonder, then, that having identified with the distressing emotions underlying respondents’ “stories”, I, as a serviceman’s wife myself, became anxious, concerned that those feelings were somehow “unreal”, or that in expressing them I might be “play-acting”.

Identifying with respondents I have been arguing that, while the use of countertransference feelings by researchers might significantly enhance what they learn about respondents’ experiences, it is not always easy to disentangle which feelings belong to whom. It is important that researchers identify with respondents without becoming so undifferentiated from them that perspective is lost (Britton, 1998; Clarke, 2008; Hollway, 2004, 2008). Again, this is a familiar problem within psychoanalysis. As Klein (1959) warned, although identifying with other people enables us to empathically understand them, this may be taken so far that individuals “lose themselves entirely in others and become incapable of objective judgement” (ibid., p. 295). Bion (1959, 1970) followed Freud (1912e) in warning analysts that they must retain sufficient detachment to think about the feelings projected into them. What makes this complicated is not only that analysts/researchers inevitably bring unresolved, unconscious issues of their own into their work, but also that the feelings projected into them by analysands/respondents are often complex. For the psychoanalyst Racker, the “total countertransference” (1957, p. 310) inevitably comprises two forms of identification with an analysand; an empathic or “concordant identification” and a simultaneous “complementary identification” (ibid., p. 311), the latter deriving from the analysand’s unconscious projection of an internal object into the analyst, who is then equated with, and treated as, that object, inducing an identification with it. In other words, the concordant identification induces the analyst to feel as the analysand did in infancy, while the complementary identification induces the analyst to feel as an internalized figure, usually a parent, was experienced. For example, an analysand who experienced a parent as intrusive might induce their analyst to feel both intruded upon (concordant identification) and as though they are themselves intruding

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(complementary identification). That is, the phantasy of a complete object relationship is communicated to the analyst (Feldman, 1997; Hamilton, 1988; Sandler, Dare, & Holder, 1992). I referred earlier to Kayleigh, suggesting that one of several factors that might have contributed to my failure to fully recognize her distress when we first met was that Kayleigh presented herself as someone largely unscathed, personally, by her recent move. Instead, she talked about how her infant son’s routine had been disrupted and how important it was for him that she should quickly reestablish that routine. Kayleigh’s need to restore control, and to impose a familiar order on her new environment soon after moving, aroused my suspicion that she might be unconsciously defending herself against disturbing feelings. Nevertheless, I remained oblivious, initially, to the extent of her suffering. I later learned that at only eight years old, Kayleigh had been obliged to “grow up pretty quick”. She took on an adult role because of her parents’ “horrific arguments”. It seemed that her own feelings were ignored as she attempted to impose order upon her bickering parents, telling them to “grow up”. In light of this, Kayleigh’s arrangement of her new house to mirror the one that she had recently left, turning it into a “cocoon . . . like a comfort blanket”, can be understood as an attempt to create for herself her own psychic containment. Assuming that it was a familiar experience for Kayleigh to be left alone to deal with her emotions, she might have had no expectation when we met that I would understand (or care?) how she felt. She might even have communicated this to me through projective identification, evoking my collusion with her anticipation that I would not recognize her emotional turmoil. In other words, while undoubtedly there were other factors at work, my failure of empathy during that first interview could owe something, also, to a “complementary identification” (Racker, 1957, p. 311) with Kayleigh’s experience of unempathic others. Reflecting upon my interviews with Kayleigh taught me how difficult it can be to maintain the balance between empathy and detachment. However, I believe that for researchers to really understand respondents’ experiences, they must first feel them. This inevitably involves transiently losing themselves in their countertransference. What is important is that researchers should then recover their objectivity and try to make sense of the feelings

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evoked in them, which might require them to seek the help of others, as was the case for me. By unwittingly relating to Kayleigh as a less interesting (junior) respondent who need not be taken seriously, I was predisposed to receive and identify with her projection of an unempathic other, inducing me to remain very detached from her underlying distress during the first interview, a dynamic that I needed assistance to understand. Perhaps the following description of my interviews with Joanne, who had relocated with her RAF husband seven times in ten years, will serve to further illustrate how Racker’s “total countertransference” might function within psycho-social research. During our first interview, Joanne gave the impression of someone pragmatically “getting on with it”. However, the tears in her eyes, especially as she described feeling isolated and unsupported when she was left alone for three months, trying to hold down a job and cope with two small children while her husband was away, suggested that her pragmatism might be a defence against underlying distress. At our second interview, I was surprised and curious about an unusual fluttery sensation in my chest, which I thought related to anxiety. This seemed incongruous, since I felt quite relaxed about interviewing, particularly with Joanne, who had been emotionally undemanding when we first met. Indeed, I belatedly realized, the connection between us felt rather superficial. Paradoxically, it became stronger and felt more real when Joanne spoke, albeit again in a rather matter of fact way, about a time when she had been clinically depressed and had blocked off her emotions. At some point I became aware of attempting to make more eye contact with Joanne. However, my view of her face was restricted because Joanne was holding her cat high on her chest. Afterwards, I realized that on several occasions other people had entered and left the room where we were talking, largely disregarded by us both. Once, Joanne’s daughter stood silently looking at us for a long time, until I felt uncomfortable that, being engrossed in the interview, we had ignored her. I said “hello”, and she left. At other times I was vaguely aware of Joanne’s husband coming and going. However, apart from acknowledging his first appearance, we both disregarded him, too. These observations seemed to link with my sense that Joanne felt overlooked and uncared for each time she relocated:

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“we seem to have problems every time we move, we always get short notice . . . and our paperwork seems to get lost . . . We always seem to be last minute in moving . . . and everyone else just has plenty of time.”

Reflecting upon the interview afterwards, it occurred to me that there was a theme around seeing and being seen, or not. For example, I was trying to “see” Joanne, but she remained hidden. This reminded me of Winnicott’s (1967) argument that an infant discovers that they exist by seeing themselves when they look into their mother’s face; “when I look, I am seen, so I exist” (ibid., p. 134), a process that Winnicott suggests is about being recognized as real, an individual. I wondered whether my unusual attempts to make more eye contact with Joanne, together with the way that we had apparently overlooked (not seen) her family members, might relate somehow to Joanne’s inner world, particularly to her sense of not receiving the attention given to others. Joanne’s description of her childhood suggests that she and her siblings, in common with many children at that time, myself included, were often out of their parents’ sight: “we was always out to play and stuff like that . . . there was a children’s home at the top of the road in one of the parks and we always used to go up and play in there . . . in the summer holidays . . . every day because Mum worked and Dad was working.”

As Joanne described it, her childhood seemed unremarkable, involving enjoyable rough and tumble; “as long as I came home filthy that was OK . . . sliding down the mud banks, that was the highlight of the day”. Suddenly curious, I asked about Joanne’s siblings, and learnt that although she got on with her younger sister, she found her elder sister “annoying”; “She just goes OTT with a lot of stuff and she doesn’t realize what an idiot she’s being sometimes.” Joanne said that her elder sister “didn’t want to know her kids”. She had “chucked her eldest out when he was only about fourteen so he went to live with my Mum and Dad . . . and she just seemed to not pay them . . .” (this phrase was left unfinished but I imagined it might end “any attention”) “they were always sort of fending for themselves.”

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Although Joanne presented her sister’s apparent neglect of her children as incomprehensible, it sounded to me quite similar to Joanne’s own childhood experience. She, too, seemed to have been left, at least to some extent, to fend for herself. Poignantly, Joanne had found a home from home among children in care. While I do not wish to suggest that Joanne’s childhood lacked the pleasures that she described, in common with most childhoods there were less enjoyable aspects, too. Indeed, her response to my question, “What was it like growing up in your family?”, implies a degree of deprivation. “Ooh, scared of your Dad . . . as you would be, its always ‘wait ’til your father gets home” type thing . . . never much money to go round . . . lived in a council house which, everyone says ‘ooh, you lived in a council house’ (laughing) but it was all right actually . . . we were all right . . . things were just always tight really . . . but we had fun.”

Joanne appeared to admire her younger sister for coping well with bringing up her children alone after being widowed. However, their elder sister “always has a go” at the younger sister because “she resents the attention the younger one got”, both because of her widowhood and “the fact that the younger one was, um, the favourite”. Joanne had said to her elder sister, “Come on, you’re coming up to forty and you’re still resentful about everything as a kid.” Joanne could not understand why “she’s still angry and bitter about it all . . . something that happened like, nearly thirty years ago . . . she won’t let go of it”. As mentioned previously, everyone unconsciously defends themselves from anything that may be disturbing. Hollway and Jefferson (2000) argue that, by learning how respondents unconsciously defend themselves against unpalatable truths, researchers can better understand their narratives. Relationships that are perceived as entirely bad sometimes indicate a defence against the anxiety that they might otherwise arouse (ibid., p. 59). There is some evidence that Joanne’s dislike of her elder sister might have been a defence against confronting some painful aspects of their shared childhood, which this sister represents. Whereas Joanne minimized the deprivations of childhood by saying “but we had fun”, her

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elder sister not only remained openly resentful about receiving insufficient attention, but also demonstrated (repeated?) an apparent lack of care for her own children by leaving them to fend for themselves. Conversely, if Joanne cannot see her children, she is uncomfortable (“They don’t go out, I need to be able to see them”), suggesting that, for Joanne, children should be kept within sight always. Certainly, they would never be out of sight at a boarding school, because Joanne’s husband was due to leave the military before the possibility arose of sending their children away. The theme of seeing and being seen also seemed to be around when Joanne suggested that military relocations had probably affected her husband’s parents more than her own because “they needed to see the kids”. Consequently, Joanne’s husband “kept wanting to go back to the UK on a regular basis”. Joanne, however, rarely visited her own family, she didn’t “see the point”. She preferred to “go somewhere and relax . . . than go back . . . and listen to all the bickering and arguing”. Interestingly, Joanne’s elder sister, whose grievances from childhood are verbalized, was happy to live with their parents temporarily, whereas Joanne did not “plan to go back on a regular basis”. Joanne told me that she could not always express her feelings, even in adulthood. She described several phases of depression when she became detached from her emotions: “You don’t handle them at all . . . you’re just like numb and you suppress everything.” I suggest that Joanne might have defensively split off hurtful childhood emotions related to times when she felt overlooked, and projected these into her elder sister. In common with many mothers, Joanne acknowledged that she liked having time to herself and enjoyed being able to work rather than being “stuck” at home with the kids. However, she condemned her elder sister for letting her husband “take priority”, implying that the children should always come first. Perhaps Joanne also needed to project into her elder sister, and then attack, a part of herself (surely inevitable in all mothers) that occasionally wanted to put her own interests ahead of looking after her children. The focus of my research was not to speculate about respondents’ childhood experiences. However, such events can throw light upon how they typically defend themselves against uncomfortable realities, thereby enhancing understanding of other material that

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they produce. In psychoanalysis, analysts can discover much about an analysand’s (unconscious) early relationships by considering how that analysand unconsciously uses the analyst (Joseph, 1985). Similarly, I suggest that researchers should consider how the feelings evoked in them might pressure them to feel or act as either the respondent, or significant figures from their past, might feel or act. I believe that my total countertransference to Joanne illustrates aspects of her unconscious relationships. The unusual anxiety that I experienced related, I suggest, to Joanne’s (split-off) primitive fear of being overlooked, given insufficient attention, or remaining unrecognized (hidden as she was behind her cat). This can be understood as a concordant identification with an infantile desire to look in order to be seen, and therefore to exist and to matter. Moreover, the arousal of my anxiety prompted a realization that, when I had met Joanne previously, I felt unaffected by her, remaining emotionally detached or “numb”, just as Joanne herself sometimes feels when she is depressed and (unconsciously) avoids engaging with painful feelings. That is, I had concordantly identified, also, with Joanne’s emotional detachment. I recorded in my post-interview notes that “I had to work hard to try to make a connection” with Joanne. Her response to me, which can be thought of as her countertransference, was to keep me out of sight; the way that Joanne held her cat meant that for most of the time I could neither see her, nor be seen by her. That is, Joanne quite literally blocked my attempts to connect with her emotionally. In an analogous manner, I did not really notice Joanne’s family members when they appeared during the interview. I believe that this amounted to a complementary identification with an unseeing (apparently unfeeling?) object. In effect, Joanne’s family were “out of sight, out of mind”, as I suspect Joanne sometimes felt in childhood and apparently still feels whenever she relocates with her military husband, as evidenced by her complaints of being given less notice of relocations than other people.

Conclusion I have compared the use of countertransference in psychoanalysis with the use of researchers’ feelings, sometimes evoked through

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projective identification, to inform research. Using examples from my own research, I illustrated that, by reflecting upon their bodily sensations and/or emotions, researchers might achieve a deeper understanding of respondents’ experiences. However, researchers face similar problems to analysts in differentiating which feelings belong to whom, not least because of the complexity of the identifications induced by the total countertransference. Indeed, researchers may become temporarily “lost” and require help from others to recover their objectivity. Although potentially disturbing, if this transient blurring of the boundary between researchers’ and respondents’ psyches is sensitively and ethically explored, it may lead to the discovery of elements that would ordinarily remain inaccessible. In particular, learning how respondents typically defend themselves from painful truths may help researchers to better understand the data that they collect, enriching their research findings. Certainly, discovering that Joanne might be unconsciously defending herself against a childhood anxiety about being overlooked helped me to understand that, although she appeared to be emotionally unaffected by military relocation, beneath the surface she felt disregarded and uncared for.

References Ardener, E. (1975). The “problem” revisited. In: S. Ardener (Ed.), Perceiving Women (pp. 19–27). London: Malaby Press. Bion, W. R. (1959). Attacks on linking. In: Second Thoughts (pp. 93–109). London: Heinemann, 1967 [reprinted London: Karnac, 1993]. Bion, W. R. (1970). Attention and Interpretation. London: Tavistock [reprinted London: Karnac, 1993]. Britton, R. (1998). Belief and Imagination: Explorations in Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge. Brown, J. (2000). What is a psychoanalytic sociology of emotion? Psychoanalytic Studies, 2(1): 35–49. Buckner, S. (2005). Taking the debate on reflexivity further: psychodynamic team analysis of a BNIM interview. Journal of Social Work Practice, 19(1): 59–72. Carpy, D. (1989). Tolerating the countertransference: a mutative process. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 70: 287–294.

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Casement, P. (1985). On Learning from the Patient. London: Tavistock [reprinted London: Routledge, 1990]. Clarke, S. (2000). On white researchers and black respondents. Journal for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, 5(1): 145–150. Clarke, S. (2002). Learning from experience: psycho-social research methods in the social sciences. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 173–194. Clarke, S. (2003). Psychoanalytic sociology and the interpretation of emotion. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 33(2): 145–163. Clarke, S. (2006). Theory and practice: psychoanalytic sociology as psycho-social studies. Sociology, 40(6): 1153–1169. Clarke, S. (2008). Psycho-social research: relating self, identity and otherness. In: S. Clarke, H. Hahn, & P. Hoggett (Eds.), Object Relations and Social Relations: The Implications of the Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis (pp. 113–135). London: Karnac. Ellman, S. J. (1991). Freud’s Technique Papers: A Contemporary Perspective. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. Feldman, M. (1997). Projective identification: the analyst’s involvement. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78: 227–241. Freud, S. (1912e). Recommendations to physicians practising psychoanalysis. S.E., 12: 109–120. London: Hogarth. Froggett, L., & Wengraf, T. (2004). Interpreting interviews in the light of research team dynamics: a study of Nila’s biographic narrative. Critical Psychology, 10: 94–122. Frosh, S. (2003). Psychosocial studies and psychology: is a critical approach emerging? Human Relations, 56(12): 1545–1567. Gay, P. (1998). Freud: A Life For Our Time. New York: Norton. Grinberg, L. (1981). The “oedipus” as a resistance against the “oedipus” in psychoanalytic practice. In: J. S. Grotstein (Ed.), Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? A Memorial to W. R. Bion (pp. 341–355). London: Karnac, 1983. Hamilton, N. G. (1988). Self and Others: Object Relations Theory in Practice. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. Heimann, P. (1950). On counter-transference. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 31: 81–84. Heimann, P. (1960). Counter-transference. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 33: 9–15. Hinshelwood, R. D. (1991). A Dictionary of Kleinian Thought (2nd edn). London: Free Association. Hollway, W. (2004). Editorial. Critical Psychology, 10: 5–12. Hollway, W. (2008). The importance of relational thinking in the practice of psycho-social research: ontology, epistemology, methodology

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and ethics. In: S. Clarke, H. Hahn & P. Hoggett (Eds.), Object Relations and Social Relations: The Implications of the Relational Turn in Psychoanalysis (pp. 137–161). London: Karnac. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently; Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. Joseph, B. (1983). On understanding and not understanding: some technical issues. In: M. Feldman & E. B. Spillius (Eds.), Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change (pp. 139–150). London: Routledge, 1989. Joseph, B. (1985). Transference: the total situation. In: M. Feldman & E. B. Spillius (Eds.), Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change (pp. 156– 167). London: Routledge, 1989. Joseph, B. (1987). Projective identification: some clinical aspects. In: M. Feldman & E. B. Spillius (Eds.), Psychic Equilibrium and Psychic Change (pp. 168–180). London: Routledge, 1989. Klein, M. (1946). Notes on some schizoid mechanisms. In: J. Mitchell (Ed.), The Selected Melanie Klein (pp. 176–200). Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991. Klein, M. (1959). Our adult world and its roots in infancy. Human Relations, 12(4): 291–303. Laplanche, J., & Pontalis, J. B. (1973). The Language of Psycho-Analysis. London: Karnac. Lucey, H., Melody, J., & Walkerdine, V. (2003). Project 4:21 transitions to womanhood: developing a psychosocial perspective in one longitudinal study. International Journal Social Research Methodology, 6(3): 279–284. Money-Kyrle, R. E. (1956). Normal counter-transference and some of its deviations. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 37: 360–366. Oakley, A. (1981). Interviewing women: a contradiction in terms. In: H. Robert (Ed.), Doing Feminist Research (pp. 30–61). London: Routledge. Ogden, T. H. (1986). The Matrix of the Mind. London: Karnac. Pick, I. B. (1985). Working through in the counter-transference. In: E. B. Spillius (Ed.), Melanie Klein Today: Developments in Theory and Practice Volume 2: Mainly Practice (pp. 34–47). London: Routledge, 1988. Racker, H. (1957). The meanings and uses of countertransference. The Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 26: 303–357. Sandler, J., Dare, C., & Holder, A. (1992). The Patient and the Analyst. London: Karnac.

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Savin-Baden, M. (2004). Achieving reflexivity: moving researchers from analysis to interpretation in collaborative inquiry. Journal of Social Work Practice, 18(3): 365–378. Searles, H. F. (1978). Concerning transference and countertransference. Journal of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 7: 165–188. Skogstad, W. (2004). Psychoanalytic observation: the mind as a research instrument. Organisation and Social Dynamics, 4(1): 67–87. Symington, N. (1986). The Analytic Experience: Lectures from the Tavistock. London: Free Association. Wengraf, T. (2000). Uncovering the general from within the particular: from contingencies to typologies in the understanding of cases. In: P. Chamberlayne, J. Bornat, & T. Wengraf (Eds.), The Turn to Biographical Methods in Social Science: Comparative Issues and Examples (pp. 140–164). London: Routledge. Winnicott, D. W. W. (1967). Mirror-role of mother and family in child development. In: Playing and Reality (pp. 130–138). London: Tavistock [reprinted London: Penguin, 1988]. Young, R. M. (2001). Analytic space: countertransference. Internet source: http://www.human-nature.com/mental/chap4.html, accessed 14 November 2001. Young, R. M. (2006). Group relations an introduction: psychotic anxieties in groups and institutions. Internet source: http://www. human-nature.com/group/chap5.html, accessed 26 April 2006.

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CHAPTER EIGHT

Seeing ↔ believing, dreaming ↔ thinking: some methodological mapping of view points Lindsey Nicholls

“A point of view is inevitable; and the naïve attempt to avoid it can only lead to a self-deception, and to the uncritical application of an unconscious point of view” (Popper, 1966, p. 261)

T

he research I undertook examined the social defence mechanisms of occupational therapists in their everyday work with clients in an acute hospital department. The study used the processes Menzies Lyth (1988) had described in her seminal study of the nursing profession: observation, interviews, and inquiry groups. In doing the practical part of the study, I began to question how the method could help me explore what I did not know and what, because of the unconscious, I could not know. I used psychoanalytic theory as a basis for the study, which is the belief in the work of the unconscious in all that we do, say, or think. I realized that, if the unconscious was active in the participants and researchers’ lives, it might generate defensive patterns of engagement within the research process. How could I discover something “new” if I could only be aware of (or observe) what I 169

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already knew? What research methods would uncover the areas of the “unthought known” (Bollas, 1987) within the qualitative methods of interviews, observation, and reflexivity. Hollway and Jefferson’s (2000) understanding of “defended subjects” (p. 45) and “free associate narrative interviews” (p. 37) (FANI), were key methodological resources and I explored two further lines of reasoning within this process: interpretation as believing) and intersubjective creation of knowledge (seeing the use of dreaming as a reflexive tool for thinking (dreaming thinking). In this chapter, I have kept these two developments in separate sections, but hope the reader can appreciate how the strands are related to each other. The dream material created new opportunities for dialogue with and between participants, the observation and interviews evoked dream material. To know about something, I needed to experience it by observing the external events and internal “events” (including dreams). These observations (and insights) then provided a fertile ground for the intersubjective dialogues that took place in the FANI and inquiry groups.



Part 1: seeing



↔ believing

Menzies Lyth’s (1988) study of ward-based nurses was able to identify the social defence systems that operated within the institution (a large general hospital) to protect the nurses from the experience of “raw” unconscious anxiety. This study created a bridge between social sciences (anthropology) and psychoanalysis, and inspired me to inquire about the professional defences that occupational therapists might employ in their work with clients. In the research process, the action of observing or interviewing the participant brought my viewpoint into focus alongside that of the participant. Anaïs Nin (1903–1977) said, “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are”(cited in Blenkiron, 2005, p. 49); and this “seeing” what we already expect to be there can make the discovery of something new virtually impossible. The current thinking about reflexivity (Finlay & Gough, 2003; Pillow, 2003) suggests that if the researcher is able to explore their own view of the world and describe their motives for doing the study (a kind of self-analysis), then the reader is able to decide for themselves what “truth”

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might lie in the research report. These self-disclosures are an effort at transparency and increase the trustworthiness of the study undertaken, but, considering the active ongoing work of the unconscious, these self-disclosures are frequently beset with difficulties. I have used the story of “The emperor’s new clothes” to uncover the difficulty with not knowing what you do not know, and the imaginative use of interpretations in the FANI as a way of creating a dialogue with the participant in which meaning may emerge.

“The emperor’s new clothes” The story of “The emperor’s new clothes” (Andersen, 1993) illustrates how powerful (i.e., blinding) a cultural belief can be and people—the townsfolk, ministers of government, and the emperor himself—will believe what they are told if the cost of not believing would make them appear stupid or deficient in some respects. In other words, people “believed” what they “saw”. This difficulty of seeing what is “there” (or not there, in the case of the emperor’s clothes) mirrors the current thinking in social construction theory (Burr, 2003) that what we see is mediated by what we expect to see. These beliefs are created through a series of social interactions that are encoded in a complex web of political, cultural, social, and family relationships. As I embarked on participant observation methods, I wondered if what I saw would have been influenced by what I thought I should see, making me “blind” to what might have been visible. A second part to the story has always intrigued me: the role played by the young boy who called out that the emperor had “nothing on at all”. I have been interested to know how the boy was able to see his nakedness and in the tone of his declaration: was it a kind of interpretation? It seemed to be the same kind of statement that a therapist might make to a client, that they “saw” something different to the narrative (verbal presentation) of the client, and this interpretation could sometimes expose the client to their hidden self with an accompanying sense of shame and/or relief. The intention behind the boy’s statement becomes crucial to understanding the use of an interpretation in the research process (using FANI). If the boy’s intention was to shame the emperor (by

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demonstrating his “superior” knowledge), he might have evoked such anger (defensiveness) in the emperor (and the crowd) that it would have destroyed any possibility of thoughtfulness. If what the boy wanted to say was as an inquiry and/or interpretation of events, then it might have been possible for the Emperor to consider his role in the sham and simultaneously the townsfolk’s role in this pretence. Although Hollway and Jefferson (2000) are explicit about not using “interpretation” in the FANI, I found that saying what I had been thinking about in the groups and interviews allowed the process of understanding to evolve. Hoggett (2006) described interpretation as a kind of “thinking aloud”, and it seemed to me that the boy in the fable was thinking aloud, allowing for the Emperor and the crowd to reflect on their combined folly.

Developing “insight’ Social constructionists warn us that our perceptions may be altered by what is deemed important by a society and its culture (Burr, 2002), but we have another theoretical source to understanding human subjects: psychoanalysis and the use of projective identification and the role of the unconscious (Ogden, 1979). The possibility of “seeing” something can be an internal one; through taking in the projections (raw experience) of the other (a client or participant) we can create an internal place for these feelings that might allow us to put them into words or take some form of action. This deep therapeutic encounter might bring about a change in the client, and, at times, the therapist (Casement, 2006). Menzies Lyth (1988) described how she used a process of “internalising the data” (p. 128), mentally and emotionally sifting the data until meaning could emerge. This meaning was often in the form of a hypothesis, which was then posed to a group of nurses to check its validity (or usefulness). As Menzies Lyth stated, this understanding of the data is also a stressful task for the consultant [i.e. researcher] . . . The data have to be felt inside oneself; that is one has to take in and experience the stress in the organisation, much as one does in individual and group psychotherapy. [ibid.]

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The real evidence of the effectiveness of the hypothesis occurred when discussions of its possible meaning created changes in work routines that lessened the stress on the individual nurses. Menzies Lyth’s study was “called sociotherapeutic or ‘clinical’” (ibid., p. 115) and was motivated by an ongoing difficulty that had been identified by the organization. She described an action learning intervention, but added that “one’s understanding of a social organisation, as of a person, is likely to be seriously limited if one cannot gain access to unconscious or implicit elements as well as to more overt ones” (ibid., p. 119). As a psychoanalyst, she brought these theoretical constructs and clinical skills to gathering data and discussing the results. She said her in-depth access to the nurses was made possible by the invitation from senior management and the intention in her study was to “communicate the diagnostic findings to the client organisation” (ibid., p. 121), i.e., to effect change in that organization. Unfortunately, not all research is by invitation, and mine was motivated by being an occupational therapist and my concern with the positivist emphasis in research and therapy. Occupational therapists seemed to ignore the relational realm of care and deny the possibility of their using activities (also called occupations) as a defence against the clients’ vulnerability (Nicholls, 2003).

Participant observation: creating an internal map of the psycho-social work To create an awareness of the work undertaken by occupational therapists (OTs), I spent several periods immersed in observations of their work with clients, in meetings, and at the team base. This was to familiarize myself with the culture of the environment by observing their interactions with clients (relational and tasks performed), creating an inner experience by observing my feelings. This period gave me an internal landscape of the work and became crucial in developing relationships with the participants. I reflected on what I had seen and felt, and was able to refer to these events later in the FANIs. Participant observation comes from a long tradition of ethnographic fieldwork studies (Hunt, 1989) and what is “seen” might be affected by what the observer expects to see (or can cope with

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seeing) while participants might be affected by the act of being observed. My recording of events involved a mixture of external and internal events. The following example came from an acute medical ward, and described my thoughts and feelings about the client, their family, the staff, and, hidden beneath that, my own sense of awkwardness at being an observer, i.e., without a “helping” role. I saw that the bed opposite had an elderly man lying in it; he was connected to monitors and machines, he had a mask over his nose and mouth, and a drip. There was a younger man and woman standing either side of the bed; the patient was either asleep or unconscious. He showed no recognition of them and his eyes were closed. The two figures seemed to be keeping a silent vigil. I wondered if the man was dying and if they were his children. I thought hospitals were very public places; this scenario was in full view of the ward with the usual traffic of nurses, equipment suppliers, technicians, doctors, and admin staff walking past without any glance towards them, or them towards the passing staff. I wondered if the noise was a comfort in this still scene (a tragic tableau). It felt as if the movement of the staff was at least a sign of life: the patient in bed showed little sign of being alive, he looked old, thin, pale, and his mouth hung open.

The work of Esther Bick (2002) on infant observation and its inquiry into the experience of observing has been incorporated into many new disciplines of study which use psychoanalysis in their research work, e.g., organizational analysis (Hinshelwood, 2002; Mackenzie & Beecraft, 2004; Skogstad, 2004). The “Bick” method encouraged the researcher to observe the details of events that took place between the child and its mother (or father or care-givers) including an uncensored description of their thoughts and feelings during these observations. These were transcribed into detailed field notes that were used in seminar group discussions for further analysis. In this way, the researcher relied on their internal experiences (projective identification) to understand the unconscious communication which took place between mother and child. In a similar fashion, the experience of the fieldwork in the research study with OTs provided me with an internal awareness of the emotional work undertaken by therapists. Some of this awareness was in thoughts (or as questions), dream images, or associations with events in my

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life. The creation of these internal images and reflections were important in engaging in the next stage of the study, the interview. The example used below presented me with an insight into possible social defences employed by OTs, protecting them from the anxiety of working in an acute care setting. The observation took place in a general medical ward; the newly qualified OT (Fiona) was assessing an older adult patient (Sydney) for his readiness to return home. Assessments often involved asking patients to discuss or demonstrate how they would perform their “self care” routines: washing, dressing, and using the toilet. Fiona asked Sydney if she could do an assessment. He was sitting on his bed in a six-bedded ward with male patients. The ward was large with a sense of camaraderie between the men; a few smiled and greeted me. Sydney was an older man (perhaps late seventies), with a large (swollen) torso and thin legs criss-crossed with varicose veins. He was wearing pyjamas and his unbuttoned top left his chest and stomach visible. His hair was thinning and his face ruddy; I wondered if he was a smoker or heavy drinker to have such a deep red complexion. Sydney said he had met occupational therapists before, during the war, when he did things with his hands to “get better” and go back to the fighting. Fiona didn’t respond to this information; she asked him some questions about his home and if he could get to the toilet on his own, if he was able to wash and dress himself. . . . She asked him to demonstrate his walking to the toilet (on the ward). He walked there and the physiotherapist asked him why he wasn’t using his sticks. He seemed to have forgotten that he had any and then he began to get irritable. When he returned to his bed Fiona asked him to show her how he washed himself. Sydney took off his shirt and I became quite concerned, as I didn’t know if he would strip down to his naked body. I found myself thinking about my father. Sydney’s body was similar to my father’s and he was a similar age to my father when he had been in hospital. I wondered what my role would be in watching this man in such a vulnerable naked state. It felt partly voyeuristic and partly painful, as I had no role in it, nothing to do except watch. When Fiona asked Sydney who was at home with him, he started to get more irritable. He said she couldn’t phone his wife and he couldn’t understand why she had to ask him all these questions. Fiona said she would be back in a while and asked me to come out with her. She told me she was shocked at his questioning her, and I said it seemed he

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didn’t want to let her know how things were at home and I wondered if he was coping and perhaps her questions were making him irritable. Fiona returned to Sydney but he wouldn’t do anything further. As we walked back, Fiona said she was feeling scared. I didn’t respond to that (in fact, I interrupted with my next comment). I said I thought Sydney was protecting himself from questions by being irritable with her, perhaps because he felt ashamed. I was thinking of my father, who could be charming but would cover his sense of humiliation with a blustering aggression. I wasn’t listening to Fiona; I was thinking about my father and imagining that Sydney’s irritation was similar.

This observation gave rise to several areas of inquiry which I could explore in the interviews. Some of themes were the difficulty of working with older male clients, physical frailty, and the fear clients expressed (overtly or covertly) about the “power” an OT had in deciding their future (i.e., their recommendations in the discharge plans). In managing this anxiety, OTs would sometimes seem to assess only the physical capability of clients (walking, toileting, washing), allocating equipment to assist them in these tasks, and not acknowledge the clients’ emotional experience of being in hospital. This “giving of equipment” seemed to be the defence OTs used to protect themselves from the responsibility of decisions that altered a client’s (often an older person’s) life, such as where they would live after leaving the hospital. I wondered if, by keeping tasks practical, there was a denial of the horror of becoming old, the loss of one’s bodily integrity (e.g., incontinence) and increasing physical dependence on others. An unexpected outcome of these “accompanied” observations was the connection it established between the participants and me. Fiona, following the period of observations, described many of her negative experiences of work in the interviews, and I wondered if she could trust me as she knew that I had seen some of what she described. Perhaps, as I had already made an active intervention in observing her difficulty with Sydney, we had begun a reflective space between us. The observation also evoked reflections and associations to my father, who had died in hospital (many years previously) after an elective surgical procedure. I was not expecting to find it painful to observe the older men in the wards, and, although the associations

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helped me to think about the anxiety of these clients in hospital, I would sometimes cut off from listening to the therapist’s description of their experience because I was too full of my own. By using my associations during the observations (e.g., Sydney’s irritability) I could ask the OTs during the second part of the research, the interview process, about something I had felt or thought about as a “thinking aloud” (i.e., interpretation) to what they had been saying.

The use of interpretation in the FANI Using the work of Hollway and Jefferson (2000), based on the notion of a defended subject and the experiences of countertransference as part of the data, as a guide for the interviews I undertook with the participants there were three aspects of the process which began to intrigue me: ● ● ●

what was heard was not always what was said; the response of the researcher was critical in developing the interview; responding to what the researcher thinks they have “heard” is potentially fraught with misunderstanding and/or unintentional exposure.

The FANI method described by Hollway and Jefferson (2000) attempts to create an agenda-free space for the interview to occur. The researcher is an integral part of what can be known from the interview; in other words, what can be known occurs within the relationship between the participant and researcher, and both are objects of analytic scrutiny. . . . tracking this relationship relies on a particular view of the subject: one whose inner world is not simply a reflection of the outer world, nor a cognitively driven rational accommodation to it. Rather . . . research subjects . . . whose inner worlds cannot be understood without knowledge of their experiences in the world, and whose experiences of the world cannot be understood without knowledge of the way in which their inner worlds allow them to experience the outer world. The research subject cannot be known except through another subject; in this case, the researcher. [ibid., p. 4]

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The response of the researcher to the participant is crucial in developing insights into the experience of the subject. These responses include the psychoanalytic concepts of containment, projective identification, identification, and interpretation. Alongside more technical discussions of how responses or interpretations are made (or not made), I thought there was a less obvious area of inquiry: the intention behind the response of the researcher. The researcher may hope their conscious intention in responding to the participant is to clarify or illuminate the material being discussed, but be unaware of an unconscious enactment which could include narcissist identification, attempts to prove superiority by using sophisticated terminology, or an envious rivalry enacted through subtle sadistic remarks. This possible unconscious enactment by the researcher (e.g., rivalry or narcissistic identification) can be a neglected area of inquiry if the researcher only emphasizes their conscious intentions. While notions of projection, projective identification, and interpretation allow us to consider how meaning may emerge within a FANI, Fabian (2001), in his discussion on “ethnographic misunderstanding and the perils of context” (ibid., p. 33), also draws our attention to things that are misunderstood (and so become available for understanding) and the things that we do not know we did not understand, and so the possibility of understanding them sinks beyond sight (or insight).

On understanding and not understanding and the process of containment Joseph (1983) writes that analysts need to distinguish between patients wishing to be understood and those who wish to understand. The desire by the patient to “be understood” was linked to the Kleinian position of paranoid–schizoid functioning (Segal, 1973; Steiner, 1993), where the patient gave the therapist his or her feelings as a way of being rid of them. As such, the patient experienced any verbal attempt by the therapist to understand these feelings as an attack. In other words, the patient wanted to be free of their experience and so found any attempt at an interpretation by the therapist as a negation of their communication. These patients did not wish to receive their feelings back, even though the therapist may have attempted to do so in a palatable form.

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Joseph (1983) suggested the patient at a later stage, having shifted into the (Kleinian) depressive position of functioning, might be able to tolerate thinking about their feelings and the therapist’s active interpretations could be helpful and necessary for the patient to make progress. This process of being rid of feelings (through projection) and tolerating interpretations between patient and therapist seemed to me to be preceded by the capacity of the therapist to contain the experiences of the patient (Nicholls, 2000). Containment, a concept initially used by Bion (1962), is clearly articulated in work with patients (Ogden, 1979; Steiner, 1993) and with organizations (Bolton & Roberts, 1994). Containment as a psychoanalytic concept, involves the analyst’s keeping a space inside their mind that allows for the patient’s projective identifications to be “taken in” and processed. This act may allow the patient to feel understood, and if given sufficient thoughtfulness (a mixture of personal experience, theoretical knowledge and tolerance of these painful experiences) can be brought to bear on these projections, meaning may emerge. [Nicholls, 2000, p. 42]

Hollway and Jefferson state that within the research relationship it is the intersubjective aspects of “recognition and containment” that allowed for “trust to develop” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 49). They mentioned how a verbal response by the researcher, which resonated with the depth of the emotional material of the participant, provoked further revelations of the material that were hidden from view. They hypothesized that the participant could be ashamed of the material, or had pushed it out of consciousness, as it was frightening to recall. The researcher’s response was described as an empathic reflection where the researcher speaks back to the participant the feeling that they were in contact with (i.e., experienced as an emotional resonance) while listening to the interview: e.g., “that sounds frightening”, or “that must have been very sad”, etc. Ultimately, containment involved taking in the experience of the “other” (client, participant, or group) and attempting to understand what was being communicated. As Joseph (1983) and Steiner (1993) suggested, it may be unhelpful, or even harmful, to speak these insights back to the “other”, and the act of containment through listening may be sufficient for the person to feel understood.

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However, as the research interview aims to reach an understanding of what is being said, the researcher may risk an interpretation that aims to clarify or uncover the meaning within the communication. However, these interpretations brought to light further concerns: were they valid and ethical? Britton and Steiner (1994) distinguished between interpretation as a “selected fact or overvalued idea” (p. 1069), the latter being a noxious experience for the recipient. I wondered, should a researcher risk an interpretation when the participant was not in an ongoing therapeutic relationship with them?

The use of interpretation to create meaning in the intersubjective space Britton and Steiner (1994) considered it was the response of the patient to the analyst’s interpretation that provided the evidence of its accurateness. They suggested that the analyst used their free floating attention until a “selected fact” began to emerge, to which other facts or events seemed to be related. At this stage, articulating this idea (or hypothesis) to the patient would confirm its usefulness if the process of therapy continued: i.e., it provoked insight and movement in the analysis. However, if the analyst had erroneously over-used a theoretical concept as a central tenet to their understanding of the patient, there was a temptation to get the patient to fit the theory, resulting in an “overvalued idea” (ibid., p. 1070). They said it was hard to distinguish between the two types of hypotheses, but articulating them (and believing in them) was essential to the unfolding process of the analysis. In our view, the distinction between a creative use of the selected fact and a delusional one which supports an overvalued idea may be small at the moment of its formulation, but becomes crucial in the events which follow the verbalisation of an interpretation. It is partly because of this we believe that an essential part of the work of interpretation takes place after it is given. [ibid., p. 1070]

There may be opportunities in the FANI that allow for the researcher to test a hypothesis (a selected fact or overvalued idea)

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that they have been considering within the research and with the participant. I found this particularly useful in the second interview, where I could explore notions that had occurred to me during the first interview and while listening to the recording. Britton and Steiner (ibid.) said that “a great deal depends on the spirit in which this [the offer of an interpretation] is done” (p. 1073). If the interpretation is taken up by the patient as something “he is being asked to consider”, then “an atmosphere of inquiry is able to develop” (ibid.). This seemed to echo the very notion of a “thinking aloud” that Hoggett had spoken about. Britton and Steiner (1994) also warn that interpretations which were forced on the patients that did not allow for any doubt caused a “soul murder” (ibid., p. 1073) and, for this reason alone, researchers might have become very cautious about attempting any interpretation in their interviews. I had thought that, because the participant was not in an ongoing relationship with me, if my interpretations were clumsy and/or inaccurate they would not be harmful, but might cause the interview to come to an abrupt halt or the participant to be less forthcoming. In my experience, the interpretations I used assisted the interview more often than hindered it, and what was not tolerated (i.e., thought about) by the participant was easily dismissed, often to my considerable chagrin. Menzies Lyth (1988), in her chapter “Methodological notes on a hospital study” (pp. 115–129), described how not all the insights or interpretations were shared with the participants and only ones which maximized the therapeutic effectiveness of the client–consultant relationship were used. The insights that were never shared were useful in helping the consultant understand the organization. She discussed the fact that during the interviews some topics were too painful for certain informants [participants] easily to expose in a relationship which was basically fact finding and not therapeutic for them and where the consultant does not, therefore, have the therapeutic sanction to cause pain. [ibid., p. 121]

This drew my attention to the ethical nature of the relationship established within the interview. The participant was protected by the explicit information on the nature and purpose of the study given to them prior to their

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consent being sought for the project. However, in agreeing to participate in the research, neither I nor the participants could have anticipated the painfulness of the research process; for example, witnessing the intimacy of an encounter between a therapist and client, interview material which emerged through an empathetic attunement to the underlying themes. These were part of the less conscious communication, and were related to the participants’ unconscious communication and my motivation for doing the study (conscious and unconscious).

Ethical endeavours: expropriation, emancipation, or enlightenment The film Capote (2006) depicts the author of In Cold Blood as manipulating the trust of the killers in order to learn their story and understand their motivations for killing a family in an isolated house in Kansas. The book enhanced Capote’s fame, but leaves the question of how interpersonal knowledge is gained and to what purpose it may be used. Capote exploited his relationship with the killers to write their biography, and his identification with the killers (as suggested in the film) caused him considerable personal despair and contributed to his alcoholic demise. I wondered how the ethics of consent and beneficence could be employed where the researcher does not expropriate the knowledge gained from the participant, creating an advantage for the researcher and leaving the participant somewhat diminished? The problem of whose “voice” was being represented (and the ownership of information) was partially solved if the researcher explicitly shared their understanding of the research process and analysis of the social defences with the participants. This may help researchers feel less like a manipulative “Capote” figure and support the whole inquiry process by including insights of the participants to the hypotheses generated through the analysis. But is this sharing of psychological “insights” ethical? Sinding and Aronson (2003) describe what qualitative research interviews “do” to the participants: At one extreme, interviews allegedly empower, generate selfawareness, or offer a kind of therapeutic release for the inter-

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viewees; at the other they draw reproach for feigning intimacy with, and then abandoning, the people they engage. [ibid., p. 95]

In the film Capote, the central drama occurred when he abandoned the younger killer (Perry Smith) after gaining his trust and an account of the murder. Some researchers describe being afraid of doing harm through the process of inviting intimate stories from participants (Birch & Miller, 2000), particularly when these interviews become “emotional”. In my experience, when a participant became “emotional” any offer I made of changing the topic or even switching off the recording device was dismissed or ignored: the offer seemed like a rejection of their feelings. Alison, who cried with a wrenchingly bitter sadness while sharing an account of abuse, seemed disconcerted when I offered to stop the recorder or change the topic. “No . . . I actually . . . I feel quite safe with you because instead of leaving which would have been my usual . . . I didn’t . . . so that’s . . . you know, that’s just saying that I feel safe here which is good . . . I suppose . . .”

An action learning research process (Reason, 1988) provided opportunities for participants to be involved in generating and responding to research data, promoting their development within the field of study. In some respects, the Menzies Lyth (1988) study described that process, where hypotheses were taken back to study groups for consideration and response, including changing ward routines and procedures, a concrete example of an action learning outcome. Perhaps what was different in her study to the recent use of action research (Reason, 1988) was the attention paid to unconscious social defence mechanisms in examining the “unthought known” (Bollas, 1987) among the participants. Following my period of data collection, I began to wonder if what occurred, as moments of “understanding”, took place in the space between me and the participant. Armstrong (2004) wrote about the “analytic object” in work with organizations, using our countertransference as a way of understanding the unconscious communication. He said it was the space between the patient and the analyst that created the object of inquiry, a third position that

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was frequently full of “muddle, confusion uncertainty and fear” (p. 80), and in this space meaning emerged. Winnicott (1971) described the use the child made of the mother as an “object”, who over time becomes a “subject” in the transitional space of “playing”. He identified that the child moved from a narcissistic use of the object into an appreciation of the mother having her own subjectivity, and thus contributing to playing by introducing her own games. This movement of the object from being in the child’s omnipotent control to being outside of its inner world (i.e., becoming a subject) involved what Winnicott (1971) and Benjamin (1999) described as a destruction of the object and the simultaneous emergence of love. It is also the theory upon which intersubjectivity rests: an appreciation of the subjectivity of the “other” in which a third position can be shared, a place where something new (creative) can emerge. Within this exchange, the child and parent experience pleasure in the game and in each other’s presence. Typical studies of mother–child interaction will formulate the mother’s acts of independence as a contribution to the child’s selfregulation but not to the child’s recognition of her subjectivity . . . This perspective also misses the pleasure of the evolving relationship with a partner from whom one knows how to elicit a response, but whose responses are not entirely predictable and assimilable to internal fantasy. [Benjamin, 1999, p. 186]

In the interviews and inquiry groups, I would sometimes find that either the participant or I would articulate something “new”, an understanding of what was thought or being said. Participants would say they had not realized they were thinking about something until it emerged in the dialogue between us. The example below comes from an interview with Alison. I had asked her if she thought that being “overly” self-reliant was a trait (defence) in the helping professions. Lindsey:

Maybe that is true of all health professionals—this—being in charge of the giving and of the thoughtfulness and the additional time . . . but to experience that in yourself as needing it feels threatening . . . difficult . . . can’t ask for help . . .”

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Alison:

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“Yes it’s horrible to ask for help . . . it’s actually forbidden [laughs] . . . I feel like it is . . . I used to feel like it is an admission of failure if you are asking for help.”

Lindsey: So there is something in OTs . . . maybe it’s all helping professionals . . . but it seems there is something in the very practical nature of OT, the doing . . . the toilet seats, the stair rails, the inflatable mattresses, that allow OTs to think in that very practical way but find it difficult to feel they might be in a position to need them . . .” Alison:

“Do you think it might be about control? Because if you are in control you are the one doing the deciding . . . but if you feel you need something there is a kind of lack of control there somewhere isn’t there? . . . so it’s admitting that you are not in control and you need something . . . I feel that I need to be in control . . .”

Lindsey: “Mmmh, so it’s the vulnerability.”

When I asked Alison if there was a hidden fear of being “dependent”, she began to talk about her own sense of shame at needing help, an “admission of failure”. I continued the conversation (thinking aloud) that all the practical help OTs gave (e.g., kitchen trolleys as a mobility aid) might reassure them that they would never need it. It was following this musing that Alison had an association about “being in control” and how that might have concealed her (and perhaps other OTs) feeling of vulnerability in asking for help, something they would so readily offer others.

Part 2: dreaming

↔ thinking

The dreams were eloquent, but they were also beautiful. That aspect seems to have escaped Freud in his theory of dreams. Dreaming is not merely an act of communication (or coded communication if you like); it is also an aesthetic activity, a game of the imagination, a game that is a value in itself. Our dreams prove that to imagine—to dream about things that may not have happened— is among mankind’s deepest needs . . . If dreams were not beautiful, they would be quickly forgotten. [Kundera, 1985, p. 59]

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This section explores the use I made of dreams as part of a reflexive approach in the research method, which included observations, interviews, and enquiry groups. I wanted to explore methods that could illuminate the “hidden from view” dynamics in the study which were generated by my position (conscious and unconscious) within the research. I looked at extending the use of reflexivity in the process, using my unconscious experiences (i.e., dreams) as part of the data generated. The problem for me was to find a way of exploring my experience that did not repeat what I already knew and avoided the temptation I frequently felt to describe my internal world in a way that might be palatable to the readers of the study. I found I would censure feelings or thoughts that may depict my intentions as unkind, selfish, or—the worst for me—a racist, and this self-censure would often take place during the periods of observation or interview as I knew I would be recording them at a later date. Pillow (2003) discussed how the real “rawness” of reflexivity seems to be edited out in smug self-serving accounts by some researchers, losing the power to persuade the reader that what took place was real. Her article encouraged researchers to be unnerved (disquieted) by their reflexive experiences and not to try to explain away what could not be easily understood. My goal in asking these questions is not to dismiss reflexivity but to make visible the ways in which reflexivity is used, to be as Gayatri Spivak (1984–1985) states, “vigilant about our practices” (p. 184). This vigilance from within can aid in a rethinking and questioning of the assumptive knowledge embedded in reflexive practices in ethnography and qualitative research and work not to situate reflexivity as a confessional act, a cure for what ails us, or a practice that renders familiarity, but rather to situate practices of reflexivity as critical to exposing the difficult and often uncomfortable task of leaving what is unfamiliar, unfamiliar. [Pillow, 2003, p. 177]

Although Pillow remained highly critical of the ways that reflexivity had been used in qualitative methodology, she did not offer clear guidance as to how researchers could avoid an edited, selfserving narrative in their work. She also mentioned the potential difficulty for researchers in exploring events in their own “community” (whether cultural, socio-economic, or professional), and how

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a researcher could have attempted “closeness” with the subject as a way of understanding their position. This assumed closeness, in fact, did not offer a way of understanding that individual (i.e., participant) and might have even been an unconscious wish by the researcher to avoid the sense of separation that is part of any research (and therapy) relationship. It seemed that reflexive accounts were fraught with the difficulty of finding a voice that could recognize difference without assuming an “ethnocentric” superiority to it, or express (through a process of identification) an empathy and understanding for the participant that did not succumb to a description of the researcher’s own sense of pain and disappointment. The use of this self description, on behalf of the research, has given rise to the concern that it had become solipsistic and self-referential, thus forgetting the true purpose of a research project. “. . . some scholars see the proliferation of reflexivity talk at best self-indulgent, narcissistic, and tiresome and at worst, undermining the conditions necessary for emancipatorory research” (Pillow, 2003, p. 176). In thinking about how I could be more creative (and at the same time less defensive) in recording my reflections during the research process, I decided to include any dreams I had during the time of the project. This was in response to the work of Lawrence (1998, 2003) who said that dreaming was a form of “sustained thinking” (2003, p. 609) and can allow us to question taken for granted assumptions of how the world appears. I believe that dreams are essentially creative endeavours (as Kundera, 1985, describes in the quote at the start of this section) providing us with a rich source of metaphor that we can use to translate and interpret the world around us. Segal (1986) said dreams were a form of communication, a symbolic structure; “. . . the dream is not just an equivalent of a neurotic symptom. Dream-work is also part of the psychic work of working through” (ibid., p. 90). I thought they would provide glimpses into the unconscious aspects of the study, which were more difficult to capture in the self-referring accounts of my selfanalysis or feelings towards the participants. As Main (1957) stated . . . the need for the therapist steadily to examine his motives has long been recognised as a necessary, if painful, safeguard against undue obtrusions from unconscious forces in treatment; but

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personal reviews are liable to imperfections—it has been said the problem with self-analysis is the countertransference. [Main, 1957, p. 130]

The dreams I recorded became one of the least comfortable ways I used to approach a description and analysis of the study. They were often in response to an event and seemed to fall into different categories: those about the methodology and my supervisors, those about the participants (therapists), and those about the clients I had observed in intimate treatment situations. Having decided to use them as part of my reflexive account, I could not ignore them, and they would often disturb my equanimity, but they did draw my attention to something I might have ignored or overlooked in doing the work of data collection or in trying to give an account of the project. The following dream, “a staff retreat with a hidden cat”, illustrates the process I used, linking a research event, a dream, associations, and the subsequent action. The dream occurred early on in the project and was provoked by a very difficult meeting I attended to discuss the research with staff (i.e., potential participants). I had tried to explain the purpose of the project and encourage individual team members (the OTs) to volunteer to be observed and/or interviewed. However, after I spoke, a small number of staff began to dominate the meeting and said they did not agree with the process I was proposing to use, as they did not think I would be able to understand what I saw. I found that I quickly became confrontational (and competitive) and I tried to use many theoretical terms to prove that my methodology was sound and my work was so significant it would contribute to new theory in OT! I left the meeting knowing something had gone wrong and that I had “behaved badly” (i.e., been pulled into an argument), but I could not think about what had happened as I was still aggrieved at being confronted by the staff. That night I had the following dream, which helped me to understand the anxiety that the project proposal might have generated and provided me with a useful understanding of the conflict that had occurred. The dream had two parts: in the first part, I was in a day centre working with mental health clients. The members of staff were in a separate room from the patients, a staff room with a couch and comfortable

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chairs. Among the staff I recognized LB (a nurse and friend of mine from many years previously), and RG (a more recent South African university colleague, who is an OT). The staff were saying they didn’t feel well; some were lying on the couch and others sitting slumped on the chairs. The room was darkened and it felt as if the patients were being neglected, as if the hospital was a refuge for the staff. In the dream I was reminded of a day centre where the staff’s illnesses seemed to dominate the culture of the unit and the patients would be neglected. A senior nurse would come to work and lie in a darkened room, avoiding any contact with the patients by saying she was “unwell”. It was time for me to go, and I tried to leave the staff room by getting out of the window in the rest room. It was on a horizontal hinge and opened by half the pane going outside and half coming into the room. In the second part of the dream, I was in a room full of metal beds; they were old-fashioned, with the mattress held on a framework of visible springs supported by the metal bars under the bed. I knew there was a cat hiding in the room, but I couldn’t see it. I realized the cat was sitting between the springs above the bar under the bed. There were quite few beds in the room and it was difficult to move around.

In remembering and recording my associations to the dream, I began to think about the “retreat” I had unconsciously seen the staff as enacting and my strong association of the atmosphere of the dream to a previous work experience. I also had known of Steiner’s (1993) work, Psychic Retreats, and Armstrong’s (2005) use of this concept in organizational work. I began to wonder if some anxiety had been at stirred in the team at my request to observe them doing their work. They may have been afraid that I, an academic OT, would see them NOT doing something they felt they should be doing. My reaction to their questioning of the project could also have mirrored (a countertransference response) the very anxiety they experienced about my request to observe them. Perhaps they felt what they were doing in the acute care setting was not real, good, or proper “OT”, similar to my feeling that my research (in their eyes) was not real, good, or proper research. The “dream” window being half in and half out reminded me that every defence has another side, perhaps one of thwarted

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desire: a desire to care for clients that was fulfilling for the therapists, a theme I returned to in the interviews. The cat could have been a curiosity that was hidden from view (i.e., had not been awakened) in the staff group and/or myself. Perhaps I had seen the staff like the metal beds, difficult to move and old-fashioned. As a result of the dream, I was able to think about the confrontation that had occurred in the meeting, and I wrote a letter to the team, thanking them for the meeting and attempting to assuage some of their anxiety about being observed. The project did go ahead and one of the themes that emerged from the study was that junior OT staff often felt a sense of failure for not working with clients in the way they thought an OT “should”. They interpreted this as a personal failure rather than viewing the system, hospital, and OT profession as not being able to accommodate the needs of the older adult clients who were approaching the end of their lives.

Conclusion I have realized that the research process, observation, internal reflections, dreams, interviews, and group inquiry sessions were all “grist to the mill”. It was then up to me to turn these fragments and musings into a coherent account so that readers could reach their own conclusions. There was never a single or correct interpretation of the events that occurred, but if I provided sufficient viewpoints along the methodological map, the reader may enjoy their own journey through the research process and share in some of the insights gained while developing their own. In ending this chapter, I want to use the quote that starts Pillow’s (2003, p. 175) article on reflexivity. “All ethnography is part philosophy and a good deal of the rest is confession (Geertz, 1973).”

References Andersen, H. C. (1993). The emperor’s new clothes. In: Andersen’s Fairy Tales (pp. 220–225). Ware: Wordsworth Editions. Armstrong, D. (2004). The analytic object in organisational work. Free Associations, 11(57): 79–88.

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Armstrong, D. (2005). Psychic retreats: the organizational relevance of a psychoanalytic formulation. In: D. Armstrong (Ed.), Organization in the Mind (pp. 69–89). London: Karnac. Benjamin, J. (1999). Recognition and destruction: an outline of intersubjectivity. In: S. A. Mitchell & A. Lewis (Eds.), Relational Psychoanalysis (pp. 181–210). London: The Analytic Press. Bick, E. (2002). Notes on infant observation in psycho-analytic training. In: A. Briggs (Ed.), Surviving Space (pp. 37–54). London: Karnac. Bion, W. (1962). Learning from Experience. London: Karnac. Birch, M., & Miller, T. (2000). Inviting intimacy: the interview as therapeutic opportunity. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 3(3): 189–202. Blenkiron, P. (2005). Stories and analogies in cognitive behaviour therapy: a clinical review. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 33(1): 45–59. Bollas, C. (1987). The Shadow of the Object. London: Free Association. Bolton, W., & Roberts, V. Z. (1994). Asking for help: staff support and sensitivity groups re-viewed. In: A. Obholtzer & V. Roberts (Eds.), The Unconscious at Work (pp. 156–165). London: Routledge. Britton, R., & Steiner, J. (1994). Interpretation: selected fact or overvalued idea? The International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75(5/6): 1069–1078. Burr, V. (2003). Social Constructionism (2nd edn). Hove: Routledge. Casement, P. (2006). Learning from Life. London: Routledge. Fabian, J. (2001). Anthropology with an Attitude. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Finlay, L., & Gough, B. (2003). Reflexivity. Oxford: Blackwell. Hinshelwood, R. D. (2002). Applying the observational method: observing organizations. In: A. Briggs (Ed.), Surviving Space (pp. 157–171). London: Karnac. Hoggett, P. (2006). Personal communication. Seminars post graduate psycho-social study group. University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. Hollway, W. & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently. London: Sage Publication. Hunt, J. C. (1989). Psychoanalytic Aspects of Fieldwork. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Joseph, B. (1983). On understanding and not understanding: some technical issues. International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 64: 291–298. Kundera, M. (1985). The Unbearable Lightness of Being. London: Faber and Faber.

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Lawrence, W. G. (1998). Social Dreaming @ Work. London: Karnac. Lawrence, W. G. (2003). Social dreaming as sustained thinking. Human Relations, 56(5): 609–624. Mackenzie, A., & Beecraft, S. (2004). The use of psychodynamic observation as a tool for learning and reflective practice when working with older adults. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67(12): 533–539. Main, T. (1957). The ailment. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 30: 129–145. Menzies Lyth, I. (1988). Containing Anxiety in Institutions. London: Free Association. Nicholls, L. E. (2000). Working with staff groups; containment as a prelude to change. Unpublished MA thesis, Tavistock and Portman Clinic Library, London, UK. Nicholls, L. E. (2003). Occupational therapy on the couch. Therapy Weekly, 30(2): 5. Ogden, T. (1979). On projective identification. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 60: 357–373. Pillow, W. (2003). Confession, catharsis, or cure? Rethinking the uses of reflexivity as methodological power in qualitative research. Qualitative Studies in Education, 16(2): 175–196. Popper, K. (1966). The Open Society and its Enemies, Volume 2. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Reason, P. (1988). Human Inquiry in Action. London: Sage. Segal, H. (1973). Introduction to the Work of Melanie Klein. London: Karnac. Segal, H. (1986). The Work of Hanna Segal: Delusion and Artistic Creativity and Other Psychoanalytic Essays. London: Free Association/ Maresfield Library. Sinding, C., & Aronson, J. (2003). Exposing failures, unsettling accommodations: tension in interview practice. Qualitative Research, 3(1): 95–117. Skogstad, W. (2004). Psychoanalytic observation – the mind as a research instrument. Journal of Organisational and Social Dynamics, 4(1): 67–87. Steiner, J. (1993). Psychic Retreats. London: Routledge. Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and Reality. Hove: Brunner-Routledge.

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CHAPTER NINE

Autobiography as a psycho-social research method Rumen Petrov

The author and his context

I

have been a PhD student in the Centre for Psycho-Social Research Studies at the University of the West of England since 2002. Perhaps the first assignment my supervisors gave me, after I described the problem that I wanted to study, was to write my autobiography. I did not know why I had to do it, but still I took the assignment readily. Looking back through the years of my PhD studies, I feel amazed by the very experience of writing my personal autobiography. It is this amazement that led me to write this text. I wish to understand the “magic” of the autobiographical experience in the course of my PhD studies. In my research project, the critical and reflexive autobiography is, on the one hand, a means to generate information and hypotheses for my research as well as part of the general process of mourning and working through, something I actually consider the whole PhD study to be like. The research object of my PhD studies is actually a part of my personal biography. Recently, when writing a letter of recommendation, I was surprised to call this period an “experience that changed my life”: a transformative one. It concerns a period of time 193

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during which I was working on a project in Bulgaria, funded by the World Health Organization. The goal of the project was to involve and train young people for the role of community mental health volunteers. I graduated in Medicine in 1993. At that time, I was already part of a small community of specializing psychiatrists and psychotherapists, joined together by their interest in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. During the time before the fall of communism, these practices were considered by most of the people here to be among the benchmarks of democracy and the “western” culture, just like the English language, rock music, the supremacy of private property, and the strong interest in football. Studying and practising psychotherapy was controlled by the apparatus of the Communist Party. That control was also exercised over all other products of the strictly-monitored exchange through the “Curtain”: goods, cultural exchange, technological know-how, sport, etc. After a special resolution of the highest-ranking management of the Communist Party (Politburo) and under the patronage of the daughter of the party leader, the 1980s saw the creation of a programme for “neurosciences and behaviour”. In the form of research studies and trainings, that programme introduced the knowledge of the modern neurosciences, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. Some of the people involved in that programme were the first systematically trained psychotherapists and reformists of psychiatry in the country. Led by my interest in psychotherapy, I became part of that group as a kind of apprentice. I was not very fond of psychiatry; I was considering it as a transition and a helpful tool towards psychotherapy. I had intuitively felt that psychiatry had more power than psychology and promised a more reliable “entrance” to psychotherapy (I called it psychoanalysis at that time), and, although medicine was not my personal favourite for a career, I chose it despite the opposition of my confused parents. Apart from that, some of the people involved in the programme had a lasting interest in the radical modernization of psychiatric health care in Bulgaria. I was not striving for that. The psychiatric institution scared and repulsed me more than the other hospitals which I was visiting as a student. The reform in psychiatry was an agenda for which I was not prepared, and it took me a long time to find my place in that. Perhaps I have not, even now. It was a

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political agenda (I did not realize it then) and it presupposed a level of competence, which I was to reach at a much later time. With time going by, my personal agenda of striving for the “forbidden fruit” of psychoanalysis was beginning to broaden with the notion of community psychiatry, which was at the time making its first steps in the form of a single dispensary unit (called the Department of Social Psychiatry with Dispensary) in Sofia. Just like many other things in the totalitarian state that were privileged, this was no exception. The unit was part of the leading university psychiatric hospital in Sofia, and it was managed and protected by the same people, who had the trust of the communist authority to handle other “imported” products such as psychodrama, group psychotherapy, psychoanalytic theories, art therapy, etc. It was in that dispensary and under those circumstances, during the decade between the mid 1980s and the mid 1990s, when phenomena like “case work”, “team work”, “clinical social work”, “mental health nursing” and “patients’ clubs” took their first steps. It was totally different from anything else that had been done in psychiatry: it was special, it was modern. It looked very privileged, especially in the eyes of the other psychiatrists from my generation, and inspiring. Its manager was one of the founders of the new psychiatric association; it was he and (only) a few other people from his generation that set the agenda of the reforms of psychiatry in Bulgaria. He was the head of the Psychiatry Department in Sofia, the department that would set the trend for everything in the field of psychiatry in Bulgaria. Like almost all top psychiatrists and top medical professionals at that time, he was also a member of the totalitarian intellectual nomenclatura, a background of which I felt twice deprived (having neither communist nor intellectual origins) and possibly much coveted. My parents were not members of the communist party. Their own parents had been either slightly (in the case of my father) or heavily (in the case of my mother) distrusted by the regime. My father’s widowed mother’s reluctance to immediately join the newly established rural co-operative after 1944 resulted in an “unfavourable mark” in his “biography file”, which did not allow him to study shipping . . . something he seems to be regretful about even today. My mother’s father spent nine years in a jail in the 1950s. He had been given one of the lightest sentences in a big

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communist chistka (political purges) in the agricultural ministry where he was serving as a janitor. Thus, approaching psychiatry and psychotherapy turned out to be a double or even triple challenge: ● ● ●

to my own “class” and family origins which did not provided a “good enough” background’’; to my social and political experience, because the period I am referring to (1988–1992) coincided with the fall of communism; to my intellectual, personal, and cultural achievements, because I had to struggle with quite novel theories, concepts, and even foreign languages.

Now, looking back, I see that time and space in a way as a “big bang”: in the small shed in the yard of the psychiatric clinic many new practices rapidly emerged as if out of the blue; practices unknown to our culture, which gradually “stuck with” people, and those aggregates started to live their own separate lives. Some 10–15 years ago, everybody was everywhere, and in everyone’s project. Today, distances between us and our projects, services, and centres increase, boundaries become elaborate and “professionally managed”, competitiveness is frank and often ruthless. The age of enthusiasm and innocence has gone. The New Bulgarian University (NBU) emerged alongside the post-totalitarian birth of the supernova called “Department for Social Psychiatry with Dispensary”. The senior psychiatrists and professors from our circle actively participated in it. They had seen in the University the appropriate environment for introducing a much wider basis for the development of professions and practices such as psychodynamically-orientated clinical social work, family and marriage therapy, and psychoanalytic research. I graduated in medicine in 1993, and I had already been actively working with this circle of people when I was invited to join both of these projects (the Dispensary and the NBU), something I wanted at the time. I was about to live a few stormy years of meeting many new, interesting people, people of authority from the Tavistock mileu in the UK, who provoked not just my intellect, but aroused something else, something which I still find it hard to define, a hunger for a certain type of relationship with people of reputation. Human, perhaps, who knows?

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In the mid 1990s, following models from MIND and the Hamlet Trust in the UK, first the Sofia Association for Mental Health and then the National Mental Health Association were established in the dispensary. The organizations were far from being big or representative, despite their accurately translated (and therefore bombastic, in the context of their actual scope and membership) names. The focus was more on the “trademark”, on the name and the form, rather than on the content. These were civil associations claiming to stand for public action in support of the rights of the mentally ill. In fact, they were run and managed by professionals. The mentally ill people recruited in these organizations wavered between blind dependency and idealization, or sporadic outbursts of paranoid claims of mischief on the part of the psychologists and psychiatrists that presided over them. Possibly they were right. Possibly we—the new generation of professionals—were too unconvincing politically and selfish. Although unwillingly, I took part in these initiatives; I became involved in their management, and I even became the chairman of Sofia Mental Health Association. There, I had the strong feeling of being out of place. I felt that actually I was doing a favour for the “founders” of those organizations. I felt painfully inauthentic in this role, as inauthentic as I felt these same organizations were. I felt that we somehow had to have a mental health association, a social workers’ association, a psychiatric association, and a psychotherapists’ association. The thrill was in the experiment with the role rather than in its usefulness in relation to some identifiable end. I had experienced these organizations as part of some invisible catalogue of democratic prerequisites, “envelopes” without their proper “stuff” of a voluntary civil/political upheaval. Someone had said we should establish them and we just followed. Nobody had experienced this kind of political activity before. Neither the National Mental Health Association nor The Sofia Mental Health Association exists today. They collapsed as soon as those that had established them moved on to other things. After a few public conferences, their existence just faded away, their leaders quarrelled, and stepped down from the “stage”, the next generation did not embrace the cause as their own, and now nobody even remembers them, although the problems of those with mental health difficulties in Bulgaria have not been particularly relieved during the past ten years.

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Post-totalitarian arrogance of the newly born democrats and the hidden assets of communism The “West” was funding the emergence of civil participation in the former communist countries. Practically all the financial resources with which those new forms and practices were being created came from external sources. I do not know how, but this fact is an important part of that metabolism of social change, part of which is the object of my research. At that time we did not think or talk about politics, except for the “great” politics of the frequent parliamentary elections and about the retreat, the revenge, and the metamorphoses of “them”: that is, of the “communists”. Everybody around me distanced themselves from “communism” and “communists”. It seemed natural that we all would have voted for the so called “right”, which meant we voted for the post-totalitarian freedoms (of speech, of thought, of travel, of associations) we enjoyed so much. Despite this, we never discussed socialism between us. Even today, we tend not to speak about those times as something experienced and lived through. Very strange . . . for most of the twenty years since 1989 I have participated in very, very few personal conversations with people I know about our own common socialist experience. I believe that everybody with some conscious socialist autobiography should consider him/herself as a co-author of this regime. The number of scientific investigations of our totalitarian past increases, yet the time spent on (dedicated to) personal reflections about it and its meaning for the individual is still insignificant. We founded radically different NGOs and participated in a radically different political culture, but we never communicated this novelty between us. I am afraid we could have left the impression of a kind of post-totalitarian arrogance, as if this kind of (democratic) behaviour has always been available to us, and as if it was English fluency that was the only prerequisite for the new identity and competences. As new converts to democracy, we quickly realized what we had known all along: that despite that fact we were all sakooperatori (a Russian/Soviet term for people living in one kooperatzia, a block of flats, usually small and ugly, which became one of the cultural epitomes of urban communism for me), “shareholders” and members of the monolithic, homogenous, and victorious class of workers

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and peasants when the regime fell, some people turned out to have a quite different number of “shares”. The zenith of the “redistribution” of state property into selective private ownership corresponded to the economic crisis in the mid 1990s. The banks turned out to be empty. They were emptied by privileged businessmen, reared by the former regime. The State, lead by successive governments of ex-communists, went bankrupt. Then we lived through hyper-inflation and impoverishment. The government fell. A coalition of pro-western orientated parties came to power. A currency board was introduced. The new government provided an air corridor for NATO aircraft during their attacks against Belgrade. It opposed Russia. The impoverished Bulgaria began the journey towards Europe: NATO first, and then the EU. The poverty and the opening of the borders have made us an object of international help and interest. The processes of “project writing” and “project winning” directed by the international donors or their local representatives (e.g., Open Society) began to speed up. The already democratic Bulgarian State was not allocating funds for such things. This is, of course, strange and very important, but then, thrilled by the opening of the borders, we did not seem to think about that. We were rushing to win projects, we deeply envied each other for each “acquisition”, be it training, a book, travel abroad, or just being close to a bearer of the cherished knowledge: psychotherapy. The word that could best summarize all this is unauthenticity. A democratic unauthenticity.

The Vrabnitza project It was then my turn to win a “project”. There was not too much competition. In the Netherlands, during one of the many meetings between the sponsors (they were more like “guardian angels”) and the infant mental health reformists from Eastern Europe, I was invited to apply for some funding by simply filling in a form. There was no competition; we were invited to spend money. Money that was not ours. And we could spend it on things that were “interesting”, things we did not especially strive for. But there was excitement. At least, I was very excited. The era of the “dispensary” was coming to an end. Private psychotherapeutic

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practices were beginning to emerge, additionally supported by big pharmaceutical companies. With the considerable financial support of an international organization for reforms in psychiatry in Eastern Europe, the Institute for Human Relations was set up at the NBU. Each of us—some recently graduated psychiatrists with a psychoanalytic orientation and some newly recruited assistants in the university—got “his/her” project together with the funding coming from the West. It happened just like in the fairy tales, when you wait for your fairy godmother to ordain what you can do and what not. My “fairy godmother” presented me with a project called “Adolescents as Community Mental Health Volunteers”. Its main activities had been tested in Latin America (Costa Rica?). The objective was to win young people over to the cause of mental health and get them involved in non-formal activities within the neighbourhood they lived in. I developed a team and started leading the project in a suburb of western Sofia called Vrabnitza. I went through contacts with various important people from ministries and schools. I managed to get the required number of “highest” permissions (yes!) and recommendations, something I had never done before. It felt different from all the things I had seen so far. I was feeling as if I was an author, a leader. The health care and social system at that time (1998 onwards) was just beginning to awake from the totalitarian model. The government of the democratic forces was writing a new law, which constituted the Health Insurance Fund, inaugurated general practice in medicine, the Child Protection Act, and local offices for child protection. All that started not earlier than 2000. Soon came the first disappointments: we did not manage to win over young volunteers to my project. We were not accepted as “locals” in Vrabnitza, we were doing “piecework” in between our many other commitments and ambitions (medical examinations, therapeutic sessions, administrative jobs in the university, lecturing, conferences on group relations, etc.). We could not and did not want to afford more time, perhaps because the project paid very poorly. We were foreigners and newcomers in the western end of Sofia, an area full of ugly panelled blocks of flats from the last years of socialism, which had destroyed the village houses and had attracted migrants from the country to serve in the industrial production facilities around the enormous police and military

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apparatus of the State, already shrinking and making a number of its officers redundant. I gave up the project (Petrov, 2000) after I consulted with the Director of the Institute, who was responsible for all the links with our Western partners, and I was granted permission and given encouragement to start again. What I now wanted to do was to test in practice non-formal mental health care for local people and then to train adolescents to do it. The people from my first team had left me. I drew in my students and started to invite colleagues to contribute their own mental health projects in the area. Step by step, I became more “local”. I used to spend much more time in Vrabnitza and less and less in the Institute. I got to know the neighbourhood more closely, and made many friends. We liked each other. I worked with my colleagues on preparing their own projects; we set up an NGO of local enthusiasts and external “experts”, newcomers like us. The first project brought forth a second generation of three other projects. A network of potential partners and local specialists emerged; a system for social work with children was created, a local psychiatrist, sharing our vision appeared. I was dreaming of a community and a network of local and non-local people and institutions. It seemed that my efforts for sustainable development—out of the frame of the usual project’s range—might still turn out successful. However, the project, which I had managed and which led to the creation of that network, came to the end of its funding. I was no longer in the centre of the things. The second generation of projects did not embrace the aims of my initiative or the model. The enthusiasm faded with time going by, tension and dislike developed into open resentment. The project and the relations that sustained it just died. That was the case, in brief: my version of the story.

The PhD study I was very engaged with all this. Some people suggested that I make this experience a subject of a doctoral thesis. I wanted to combine that with my interest in psychoanalysis. I already had experience with the practice of Group Relations, gained in conferences, which our newly-established Institute used to organize in

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Sofia with the co-operation of our English partners from Sheffield and London. I envied my colleagues who could find funds and started private analysis in the nearby countries, or managed to “enter” the quota of the analysed in Bulgaria with the assistance of the European Psychoanalytic Association. I wanted to open my own connection channel with the “promised land”. I was already outrivalled in the “queue” for a Master’s degree in group relations in Bristol, or at least, that was the way I felt about it. When I knew that “Bristol” was opening a PhD programme, I saw in that a new opportunity. Somehow, I was going to transcend the disappointments and the envy there. I had a new plan for myself: first, I was going to study Group Relations, and then I would start my personal analysis. I was “back in the game” again. I had found self-confidence. But somehow, without even knowing how, I had gained this confidence in the course of my work in Vrabnitza. During that period, I married, I left the neighbourhood where I grew up, near my parents, I was leading for the first time a group for personal analysis, I was a director (for the first time) of a conference on group relations. It sounds like a story of growing up. Perhaps it is. The title of my thesis passed through several stages. In 2001, it was “Institution-in-the-mind (D. Armstrong) and its reflections on the inter-institutional co-operation in the community”. I abandoned that title even before applying to do the PhD. In 2002, when I enrolled on the doctoral programme, the title of my thesis was “Collaboration and vulnerability. Psychodynamic exploration of interagency collaboration in mental health and child welfare fields in Bulgaria”. In 2004, the title was “Collaboration and vulnerability. Individuals, groups and institutions within community working for the benefit of community mental health and child welfare reforms. A Bulgarian case.” Step by step, the separate subjects emerged: individuals, groups, and institutions. Then I started to comprehend and to slowly grasp the notion of “community development”, which was really matching the spirit of the projects we were developing and the vision that was penetrating them. The occasions for making comparisons between the two cultures—Bulgaria and the UK— were becoming even more regular. A distance was created, a kind of space for more objective assessment of my personal context, my projects, and assessment of myself in that context. The last (for now) title is: “Collaboration and vulnerability. The emerging

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concept of community development. A Bulgarian case.” It best reflects my journey in this dissertation. All three sentences have one keyword each. And one still stays unclear. ●





Collaboration—why did we fail to collaborate in Vrabnitza? Why did frustration prevail so that leaving the neighbourhood became just a matter of time? Community development—that was one of my biggest discoveries in the course of the project. I understood that I was doing and not doing community development at the same time. I knew that the specific way I related to that community provoked “by itself” community development, regarded as a way of enhancing human links and managing social changes in specific democratic communities. At the same time this was a project that was not planned or initiated by anybody within the existing public institutions, local or “central”.This is why I consider community development as an emerging phenomenon in my case. I had come across it without looking for it, perhaps because it was something completely missing in the culture of my country, not only since the establishment of the Socialist Republic in 1994, but perhaps since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and emergence of modern Bulgaria in 1878. A Bulgarian case—the research is a single case study. But what the title does not say is that the researcher is also an agent: an agent of change. That actually puts the research in the genre of “action research in the past” (Chandler & Torbert, 2003). Thus, I soon became a subject of my own research. The focus of my attention was on the influence of the different contexts on the project and the possible relations between these contexts and its results. The exact research genre is psycho-social action research. My role is that of a participant in a case of practical action with unknown ends. From the perspective of my role, what I am studying is the meaning that people I have involved in working in Vrabnitza ascribe to their experience in this joint endeavour. What I am discovering through this research are ideas about possible internalized cultural/social models that govern Bulgarians’ public (civil, political) selves, including my own and that of my colleagues. And my reflexive autobiography was the first source of possible psycho-social hypotheses I later checked against the data from the interviews.

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Vulnerability—why, in Bulgaria, are public co-operative endeavours so vulnerable and fragile, and why do they so easily fall apart after the withdrawal of figures who seem to be like “founding fathers”? Why do groups do not provide for the security and confidence needed for a prolonged and sustaining political action?

In my personal autobiography, I detected moments of a strong need for close relations with a figure of authority while in professional and political roles. My point is that this need is a need of my generation, and not only a personal need. I reckon that, in various forms, the problem manifests itself in the thinking and behaviour of many of my colleagues in the fields where I have operated. I would associate this sentiment with a kind of orphanage: an almost palpable feeling of longing for something like a parent, especially in the social field in which I was operating, that of psychotherapy and of social change. Very often we seemed to be preoccupied not so much with social change and reform, but, rather, with our own personal position (of survival?) in relation to the “parents” that appeared to be trying to accomplish this same social change whereas “democracy”, “democratization”, “social change”, “liberalization” were and still are concepts seldom mentioned in our discourses. I assume that my personal authority in situations such as Vrabnitza provided is an expression of my own relationships to the figures of authority I have established and sustained. Our collaboration faded before it was born out of an insufficiency of our own authority. In trying to explain this, I was looking for the possible social and cultural “factors” for it. What cultural traits could impinge upon our trusting relationships to authority that inhibit the development of our trust in our own authority? In the course of my work I have found reasons for this weakness, both in my relations with my own father and also in two powerful social and cultural features of my context. ●



The exposure of a totalitarian culture, which does not allow an intersubjective (Fonagy & Target, 2007) relation with authority, one through which everyone can develop his/her own subjective authority. The provincialism (Lounsbery, 2005), the endless pursuit of, and deference to, an elusive “centre”, a culture which is invoked

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and maintained by the regimes of the super-centralized government and authority and cultural construction of relations between the vast, envious, deprived, and suppressed rural “periphery and the arrogant, young, fragile, anxious, and bureaucratically merciless urban “centre”.

What is authority? When in groups, institutions, or communities, we are subject to multi-directional pressure(s) on our minds, minds which are constantly in the process of elaborating a relational “map” within which we can orientate ourselves to others. We need something that can help us override the heterogeneity of the “data” we receive, of the pieces of knowledge we work with, in order to overcome uncertainty when making decisions. In the case of authority relations, the thing that connects these pieces of knowledge is not “rational”. It is a faith, a trust in our capacity to create such maps and to edit them. We acquire this faith in relation with a specific Other. In this relation, we believe in the knowledge of the “knowing Other” and we follow it not because we have tested it (this would take too long), but because we trust it. In order to exercise our own authority (to be able to make decisions and to learn from the experience), we need to feel a primordial trust in the benevolence of those who are masters of the power/authority/knowledge. These may be individuals as well as groups and institutions. Feeling trustful of knowing Others enables us to learn. A reliable personal authority means a capacity for learning from experience (Bion), and such a capacity requires trust in the not-knowing, in the asking, in the trial and error that will bring not pain, but joy and benign excitement instead. When we feel we are the authors of our own thoughts and choices we can feel we are the agents (authors) of the actions we take. Then we can bear responsibility for them, because we are their authors. The capacity to be authors of our own actions, to accomplish them with authority, is developed through trial and error in the “company” of an “author” (someone whose knowledge and power we trust and follow) (Sennett, 1980). This experience of “first-person” authority means that I trust my own not-knowing and that I believe in my own learning. This belief in

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my own learning capacity is built into my relations with the knowing Other(s). To be an author requires relatively trustful relationships with other authors. The healthy trust in authority (as a prerequisite for democratic leadership and followership) differs from the slavish dependence on authority (which is no doubt also very ambivalent) by the level of intersubjective recognition it allows for. Personal authority is manifest in the course of learning from the experience, which, when successful, helps us to risk with a personal, idiosyncratic picture of the world. The trust in the knowledge of the knowing Other and in our ability to learn in his/her presence leads to the ability to trust our own knowledge and learning. I think Lev Vygotsky speaks of the same process through his concept of the “zone of proximal development” (Vygotsky, 1978). Thus, we can be open to the authorship of others, because they would promise us learning and not just survival, or traumatic imprinting. Our capacity to exercise this type of authority here in Bulgaria is low. The relation of trust in the power/knowledge of the knowing Other is often desecrated by the usage of the power, which does not leave room for trust and creative followership. Many of our institutionalized and public authority models imply that we must either assume the “mighty” (imposing power) or the “weaker” (subordinate and distrustful) side of the relationship, but not the equal one. In a world that is built and experienced in this manner, there is only a place for an aggressor, for a victim, and for a saviour (Karpman, 2007). In such a world, groups are difficult (Lawrence, Bain & Gould, 1996) because every group implies authority over its members: collaboration, too. That was the picture that emerged before my eyes after the analysis of the interviews (individual and group) at the second stage of the research work. In the case of our communal project, our Civil Association for Community Mental Health failed to sustain the emerging mixed group of “locals” and “foreign” citizens and appeared to be stillborn. I think we failed to acknowledge the political, the public–civil side of our activities, and to exercise our personal authority in the “open” and much less protected scene of the community and/or of the potentially collaborative space between different projects as a political act. We all knew that, with separate projects, piecework, and work “from the outside”, we could not make a lasting change

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in the culture of the local community in the direction of increased trust in mental health issues such as child welfare, good family relations, and elderly people’s care. Nor could we encourage people to volunteer for the benefit of the vulnerable, or to be sensitive to the victims of violence in the family or at school, and to trust possible collaboration with a university such as the NBU. We felt we had to go beyond the expert position and to enter the field of politics, and we avoided this choosing to dissolve the whole into several well defended and suspicious-towards-each-other parishes: the social work one, the family therapy one, the local child welfare department, the local psychiatric cabinet, and school parents’ associations. Attachment theory indicates that past relations of reliable attachment to a security-providing figure allow us to build reliable attachment to others in our mature life. The victims of violence often do not succeed in building this. Our political past also comprises experience of relations with public figures of authority. A “secure” attachment to these public figures allows us to be authentic and authoritative public actors: citizens. Secure attachment (as described by John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth, and Peter Fonagy) to the public/political knowing Other is, in my opinion, a prerequisite for reliable personal authority when undertaking a public/political act. This creates the possibility of learning through experience and being confident that we can act politically (to challenge and change the public authorities) without this leading to a mortal threat. To protest against the “system” under conditions of democracy also means to trust that the authority system, which I am part of, accepts my protest as a legitimate dimension of our relations. It is a relation of trust, a space that is safe enough for both parts to belong to and to change each other. Our totalitarian experience is the exact opposite of that. Additionally, provinciality is strained to the end by the existing deep inequalities between the industrialized and urbanized “centre” and the poor and often ultra-traditional countryside. In Bulgaria there is only one “centre” (Sofia), to which the provinces have always existed in a relation of subordination. When the “rules of the game” are totalitarian, provincial reciprocity with authority is unachievable. Civil participation is then nonsensical; “political” is then an empty word, a non-concept. Individuals are doomed to live inside someone else’s authority and this “captivity” makes

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them feel and behave inauthentically and in isolation from each other, a kind of cultural production of false selves (Winnicott, 1971). My point is that, in Vrabnitza, our group of some ten enthusiastic, newly-converted social workers, family therapists, and psychologists became victims of our own past and internalized culture. We were unable to generate the leadership that Vrabnitza required. We, somehow, simultaneously admitted and denied the need to engage with the local community as citizens with citizens (instead of as professionals with “recipients”) and invest in these engagements in as many ways as we could imagine. A kind of “belief” that we must not do the obvious: a case of “bad faith” (Santoni, 1978)? When analysing the interviews, I came to the conclusion that we look at the world mainly from the positions of the “aggressor”, the “victim”, the “saviour”, rigid and limiting roles, described by Stephen Karpman in traumatogenic families. These “roles” or “perspectives” especially dominate the way my colleagues and I comprehended the public, the political, and the group experience. I think that our collaboration failed because it required us to make a political and civil commitment to local citizens. This, I think, scared most of the professionals involved and the moment I stepped out of the role of the (over-)active promoter of our engagement with the local community they withdrew inside the safe frontiers of their projects and institutions, which gave them their sense of legitimacy. Everyone felt safe there, in a position from which to be patronizing or patronized. When the funding of the projects ended, the practitioners either left the community, returned to their institutional roles, or established their “own” NGOs, which rapidly faded away. And I was not able to see things through the eyes of those who were not in the privileged position of being visionaries or prime movers. Having once been the “saviour”, there was nothing left for me but to be the one who “leaves the scene last and switches off the lights”. And that is what I am doing in my PhD studies.

What is the place of my autobiography in this process? How did it help me? My autobiography is critical (Bullough & Pinnegar, 2001) and reflexive (Powers, 1998). Apart from the critical and reflexive auto-

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biography, my methodology also included my reflexive diary, the description of the case (the project background, as seen through my eyes), interviews with my Vrabnitza colleagues, and a group discussion with them of my emerging findings. My autobiography helped me to learn from the case I was researching. Research, based on single cases, has the power to raise context dependent knowledge (Flybjerg, 2006). According to Flybjerg, it is the only knowledge suitable for studying human relations. Being Bulgarian, and studying (part-time) in a British university, I met academic supervisors who are not part of my culture. My autobiography helped them to understand better the dilemmas I face, but it also surprised them. That surprise of the outer observer raised naïve questions, the answers to which helped to critically evaluate some of my own personal myths. For example, the question “Why were you occupied with administrative work such a long time?” made me look through really different eyes at a period of my life in the Institute that until then I had accepted utterly positively. I tried to look from aside, and I saw the many secondary benefits which that position had given me for a (perhaps unnecessarily) long time: avoiding ignorance and incompetence in many knowledge fields, feeling protected and privileged, powerful, and safe at the same time. And not alone, of course. Jurgen Habermas differentiates three types of knowledge, which correspond to three human interests: ●





the instrumental interest to control and manipulate (put under one’s own power) the non-human (non-living) environment to which corresponds the technical/instrumental knowledge; the communicative interest: to involve (oneself) with other people in the tasks of the instrumental interest. It corresponds to practical knowledge; the emancipatory interest: to be able to examine the two previous processes (types of knowledge), to reason on their nature and on their results. It corresponds to emancipatory knowledge.

My autobiography gives me the opportunity of developing mainly the third type of knowledge. Emancipative knowledge is a kind of knowledge that changes the form of communication with others

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and casts doubts on our personal beliefs and attitudes. The first such challenge came from my supervisors. The autobiography was not just a text about me written by me. The autobiographical process had a flesh-and-blood third party. That third party gave me the opportunity to experience what Ronald Britton calls “triangular space” (Britton, Feldman, & O’Shaughnessy, 1989), a space to reflect on myself as an author, reader, and interpreter of my own autobiography. The achievement of that “third position”, in the case of my autobiography, becomes possible if I can identify with and accept the viewpoint of the Other, the third, the “audience”, that is looking on me in the process of writing and making sense of my autobiography. That is why, in this case, I cannot separate my autobiography from the live situation of sharing it with specific others in the context of academic supervision. It has transformed the “twoparty” relation between me and my history into a “third party”, myself observing me in relations with others in the case. Perspectives were born. A kind of mental space (Young, 1994) was beginning to emerge. I think this found expression in the moment when, to my surprise, I came up with the idea of interviewing the protagonists in the Vrabnitza events. I could remember how, while I was writing the descriptions of the case, I was struck by the idea not to “interview” respondents, but to go and ask my fellows in that story for their point of view on what was going on there. What surprised me at that time was my inner conviction that I was doing exactly what I had to do in that particular moment (I hope this is not a confabulation, I think that I was writing my reflexive diary at the time). I did not need to check that feeling or the correctness of my decision. After that, I was no longer the person who “knew”. From then on, I had the need and the desire to ask. I was curious. Not knowing. I needed to hear the other as a separate, personal point of view. I think that this was made possible from the “third position”, as I understand Britton’s idea. Recently, one of my supervisors pointed out that many Doctoral theses are various forms of working through (Rosenblatt, 2004). I did not forget that. The original idea of Sigmund Freud is that if the psychic processing and the process of remembering are not performed, the individual stays captive to the repetition and to the symptom. Insight is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for the psychic working through. According to Rosenblatt, it is the process

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of transforming the insight into action that must be regarded as working through. Just like any other change related with brain structures, it also requires time and practice so that the new neural “chains” consolidate in the context of appropriate human relations, in the transfer of the therapeutic situation, in the first place. In this sense, I regard the present text as another part of the continuing and continuous process of working through. Rosenblatt points to the fact that another element is also required: applying the insight in a context similar to the psychic conflict, so that “a new pattern becomes progressively more consistent, automatic, and resistant to disruption” (ibid., p. 197). Lansky (2001) reminds us of the relation between working through and the process of forgiveness. It relates to the rebuilding of the connection with the other after the hurt caused by the feeling of betrayal. It is about handling the narcissistic rage and the feelings of shame that this rage defends against. I must admit that I am quite familiar with these feelings in the context of my experience from the work in “Vrabnitza”. I am also sure that those feelings are not completely gone, although I keep on hoping. The whole thesis, as well as the present text, may be considered also as an attempt to process certain experience through creative work (Barone, 2005) and work in the “transitional space” (Winnicott) between my version (fantasy) of things and the personal truth of my partners in those events. This process is yet to develop: my PhD work is still not completely finished and my final text has still not returned to its heroes in order to resonate with their “truth” for those same events. In any case, that provides even more opportunities for continuing the connection and the discussions between us. Clewell (2002) assumes that, practically, the process of grieving never stops. She describes the evolution of Freud’s thinking on mourning and grief for the real or symbolic objects that have been lost. The loss is not overcome by forgetting it, but through the ability to live with it. Our personal subjectivity is constructed by letting ourselves be “populated by the otherness”. And loss is one of the key features of experiencing difference and otherness. Grief does not stop, it builds us, that is how I understand Clewell. I have not been to Vrabnitza for a long time. Perhaps many of the old people we have visited as part of our improvised befriending programme are no longer with us. I do not know why, but I still keep the

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address and the personal data for the ID card of one of those women: I think I needed them at that time in order to sort out some administrative formality for her. I realize that, apart from guilt, I also feel gratitude to that woman and the other older people from the neighbourhood for giving me the opportunity to develop myself in a role, for which I was neither prepared nor encouraged to take, and in which I was authoring myself in the only way I could. I hope that they have forgiven me and my colleagues for leaving them in a way which must have confirmed the pessimistic outlooks at that time. At least I know that this will not be my only expression of care for the people of their generation.

Conclusion Is my research psycho-social? I think so, because I was trying to relate my subjective experiences to the time and place in which they happened. I tried to search not just for “causes and sequences”, but, rather, for some isomorphism between “inner” and “outer”, between intersubjective and “intrasubjective”. I think I saw how, practically, research into one’s own subjectivity is not only a process of putting that subjectivity in its contexts, but also a process of reflection that inevitably leads to change and further evolution. Which are the “surfaces” that I am researching beneath? One of them is the surface between “personal” and “public”. Here—in Bulgaria—this boundary is rather rigid, to the extent that the personal is experienced solely as private. Another surface is that of some of the traditional concepts we are operating with in Bulgaria: e.g., what is “political”, “civil”, and what does “power” mean? I can feel how uncanny they are when I have to quit the comfortable position of an expert and to participate in the public space as a citizen. It is not inherent to me, I feel unsafe and uncertain in an unknown way.

References Barone, K. C. (2005). On the processes of working through loss caused by severe illnesses in childhood: a psychoanalystic approach. Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, 19(1): 17–34.

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Britton, R., Feldman, M., & O’Shaughnessy, E. (1989). The Oedipus Complex Today. Clinical Implications. London: Karnac. Bullough, R., & Pinnegar, S. (2001). Guidelines for quality in autobiographical forms of self-study research. Educational Researcher, 30(3): 13–21. Chandler, D., & Torbert, B. (2003). Transforming inquiry and action. Interweaving 27 flavors of action research. Action Research, 1(2): 133–152. Clewell, T. (2002). Mourning beyond melancholia: Freud’s psychoanalysis of loss. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 52(1): 43–67. Flybjerg, B. (2006). Five misunderstandings about case-study research. Qualitative Inquiry, 12(2): 219–245. Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (2007). Playing with reality: IV. A theory of external reality rooted in intersubjectivity. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 88: 917–937. Karpman, S. (2007). http://www.karpmandramatriangle.com/. Lansky, M. (2001). Hidden shame, working through, and the problem of forgiveness in the tempest. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 49(3): 1005–1033. Lawrence, W. G., Bain, A., & Gould, L. J. (1996). The fifth basic assumption. In: W. G. Lawrence (Ed.), Tongued with Fire. London: Karnac. Lounsbery, A. (2005). “No, this is not the provinces!” Provincialism, authenticity, and Russianness in Gogol’s day. Russian Review, 64(2): 259–280. Petrov, R. (2000). Adolescents as community mental health facilitators and the process of rejuvenating mental health in Eastern European countries. In: Rejuvenating Mental Health for Youth in Europe (pp. 31–35). Geneva: World Health Organisation. Powers, R. (1998). Using critical autobiography to teach the sociology of education. Teaching Sociology, 26(3): 198–206. Rosenblatt, A. (2004). Insight, working through, and practice: the role of procedural knowledge. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Assocication, 52(1): 189–207. Santoni, R. E. (1978). Bad faith and lying to oneself. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 38(3): 384–398. Sennett, R. (1980). Authority. London: Secker & Warburg. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Winnicott, D. W. (1971). Playing and Reality. London: Routledge. Young, R. M. (1994). Mental Space. London: Process Press.

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CHAPTER TEN

Managing self in role: using multiple methodologies to explore self construction and self governance Linda Watts

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his chapter examines the psycho-social research methods used for a research inquiry into a “corporate” role in a local authority in the UK, in the period 2000–2002. This corporate role involved the design and dissemination of “modernizing” policies and carrying out a range of projects. It involved joint working with managers who had a number of professional and technical roles throughout the organization. The research inquiry was carried out by myself as the practitioner who fulfilled the corporate role: the inquiry was, therefore, an in-depth exploration of “self in role”. My research inquiry examined macro political and organizational influences on cross-organizational relations in a local authority, a highly segmented, bureaucratic organization. My “uncritical” question at the outset of this inquiry was to ask whether there were effective means to foster more integrated ways of working across the organization. No doubt this question was derived from my management role, which promoted the discourse of integrative cross-organization working. The national political context was highly significant in that the government’s local government modernization agenda was headlining the rhetorical discourse of integrated, or “joined up”, thinking and working in governmental 215

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agencies at national and local government levels. The implications of this political agenda at both these central and local levels needed to have a significant place within the “frame” of my inquiry, as did the impacts on self-governance in my role as a corporate manager. The method employed for the inquiry needed to enable these multiple dimensions and interactions of macro politics, organization, and governance of self in role to be explored. After embarking on my research inquiry, I inevitably became more deeply curious about the dualities of my managerial position. I exercised power, or, more accurately, power was exercised through my acting in role, and I also experienced myself as being subject to power. So, was I merely a subject, a “transmitter” of organizational power, or did I demonstrate agency in my role? Or, in acting out my multi-faceted role, was I both a subjugated subject and an active agent? Structurally, my organization was in the ambiguous position of exercising power in terms of local governance and yet being substantially subjugated to central government within central/local relations. How was this structural imbalance exemplified in my role? I had a corporate role, but was the organization “corporate”? My intuition, or tacit knowledge, was that these questions caused my role to be a potentially fruitful site for an in-depth inquiry. But it was also clear that “conventional” research methods were not going to excavate this particular research site in any depth. Probably the most significant ontological assumption that has influenced my approach is the belief that, in most human interaction, “realities” are the results of prolonged and intimate processes of construction and negotiation deeply embedded in the culture (Bruner, 1990, p. 24). This ontological position is reflected in hermeneutics, and it follows from this assumption that the epistemological project is to make interpretations of the subjective world (Greenwood & Levin, 1998, p. 68). This assumption has been a “golden thread” through my adult life, engendering a rejection of rationalist, authoritative meaning or “objective standards of belief”, and a developing acknowledgement of the “interpretive turn”. So, Kirkwood’s observation is resonant for me: Intellectual knowledge is vital, but it is partial. It contributes knowledge from the standpoint of the observing thinker, but it is

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incapable of generating the knowledge that can only be achieved by persons as agents through cultivation of their senses and their emotions, and through their encounters with other persons. [Kirkwood, 2003, p. 190]

So, the assumptions underlying the epistemological approaches to my inquiry were, put simply, that we can achieve an increased understanding of other’s experience by interacting with them and by empathically listening to their expression of their experience. Interpretive approaches such as ethnomethodology (see, for example, Cicourel, 1964; Garfinkel, 1967), phenomenology (see, for example, Schutz, 1996), and symbolic interactionism attempt to understand the nature of social reality through people’s narrated accounts of their subjectively constructed processes and meanings, as opposed to the measurement of quantity, frequency, and distribution across a given population (Morgan & Drury, 2003, p. 4). Hence, a governing principle for the selection of my research methods could be expressed like this: a fundamental quality of the participative world view is that it is self-reflective. The participative mind articulates reality within a paradigm and can in principle reach out to the wider context of that paradigm to reframe it. A basic problem of the positivist mind is that it cannot acknowledge the framing paradigm it has created. [Heron & Reason, 1997, p. 275]

My research process was specifically situated in local government in the UK during a period within the development of the New Labour agenda. More specifically, my inquiry took place in a period when “performativity”, or performance monitoring, controls were rapidly escalating, when “corporate management” was a discourse in local government that was required by central government inspection regimes, and also when the discourse of “network” management or governance through partnerships was rapidly developing. I was aware that these discourses were experienced by managers as being irrational in part, in contention and in many aspects, lacking any sense beyond the rhetoric, in terms of their day to day management roles. Therefore, I anticipated that my inquiry would be highlighting issues related to interpretation and sense-making of contended discourse. My struggles as a local

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government manager with policy issues and value conflict well illustrated Hoggett’s view that the public sphere is the site for the continuous contestation of public purposes and this means that questions regarding values and policies saturate all public organizations (Hoggett, 2006). So, in summary, my inquiry explored self-governance in role and the workplace as an institution within a social, historical, and political context. In this chapter, I now briefly examine the selection of my psycho-social research methods before I go on to set out some of the research findings that were generated by the methods chosen.

Selecting psycho-social research methods “Fitness for purpose” was the principle used to guide the selection of the methods for my inquiry, rather than a positivist position, where the epistemological approach may constrain creativity in the research process (Morgan & Drury, 1997, p. 4). Hence, methods needed to promote challenging reflection, to catalyse revealing insights from myself and managerial colleagues, and to place myself in role in a social and historical context: a tall order, indeed. One method would not suffice for these purposes; what was needed was a number of methods that could, in effect, intersect with each other in relation to some of the data that they generated. Another consideration was that the selected methods must be pragmatic for me, as a part-time doctoral student with a full-time job. In the event, the multiple research methods used in my inquiry were of substantial benefit in generating useful knowledge. Put simply, the value of the combination of methods was greater than the sum of its parts. The methods used, after some dialogue in supervision sessions, were interactive interviewing, reflective journal working, and autobiographical exploration. Texts on qualitative researching may caution that the use of multiple methods is a strain on the researcher’s resources (Mason, 2002, p. 60), but I experienced the reflective journal and the autobiographical exploration as adding significantly to my “reflexive capacity”, an advantage which has not been explicitly reflected in the literature on qualitative research methods. The iterative process of reviewing the data

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produced by the research methods had a “multiplying effect”, for example: ● ● ●



observations noted in the reflective journal were shared in interviews; the autobiographical work generated reflection that contributed to the reflective journal; comments made about me in role in the interviews contributed to my sense-making of aspects of the autobiographical exploration; the interview content stimulated entries in the reflective journal.

The key benefit of the use of multiple methods was the use of the differing perspectives or prisms that were intrinsic to the differing methods. These perspectives were especially useful in periods when the data appeared to be relatively unstructured (Henwood & Pidgeon, 1993, p. 22). In combination, they could often provide a “bearing”, in the sense of metaphorical navigation, on a specific research issue. This is not a reference to “triangulation” as such, as triangulation is assumed to be associated with more positivist research methods. In the following section, I set out aspects of my research findings in relation to “experiencing self and organization” before going on to discuss the research methods more fully.

Experiencing self and organization Images of organisations as solid, permanent, orderly entities run through many textbooks. But, in our view, they only tell half the story. They obscure the other half: the chaos which looms behind the order, surfacing from time to time. [Sims, Fineman, & Gabriel, 1992, p. 1]

The opening question to the managers who participated in the interactive interviews was: “How do you see the council as an organization, or what sense do you make of the council as an organization?” An immediate supplementary question concerning sensemaking was important in facilitating responses because of the reaction of all interviewees to the word “organization”. The term

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“organization” had no resonance with most interviewees in their process of making sense of their experience. There was no generalized recognition of the council being an “organization”. The only common view of the council, as expressed by the interviewees, was a view of a substantially segmented or fragmented “entity”. The term “entity” was introduced after the early interviews, as it was more resonant with the interviewees than the term “organization”. During the period in which these research interviews took place, there was an emphasis on defining and maintaining corporate identity across the local authority. Seivers rightly observes that The obsession with corporate image, with constructing a glowing identity for the enterprise, serves to suppress its internal chaos, ugliness, madness and unrelatedness. Such organisational meaning conceals the actual experience of fragmentation, contempt, instrumentalisation and meaninglessness. [1990, p. 129]

The research interviewees used the interviews to construct and express their subjective realities. In a number of the interviews, the interviewee responded to my query about their view of the organization by saying that they needed to tell me about their life history instead of, or before, responding to this question. They gave me a narrative account of their life, focusing on their working life. The narrative would be interspersed with a theme as expressed through a type of role, the theme being identified by the interviewee as being a continuous thread of meaning within their lives. So, some managers were concerned in the interviews to make sense of their current experience and working lives by having recourse to their life stories. In the interactive interviews, managers consciously or subconsciously made a connection between their relation to their working environment and their relation to the world as they had framed it in their life story narrative. In one interview, an image of a desired organization was shared with me in the form of an ideogram: the idea of a striking building, having visual power and impact. The interviewee referred to her ideogram as being a significant concept in shaping her world view, dating back to her early childhood. She referred to herself as having a strong “visual and spatial” sense. Visual and spatial themes, combined with a high value being placed on visual history, were

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expressed as influencing her professional career and being of central importance in her current working life. She expressed her difficulty in “seeing” the Council as an organization, as being caused by the lack of “physical expression”, or a clear single visual and spatial image. Her outline life narrative and metaphorical references gave me some vivid insights into her organizational world view (Frost, Moore, Louis, Lundberg, & Martin, 1985, pp. 145–156). In this case, the metaphor was emotionally significant, and yet it was also subject to reasoning in the interview; there is a notable difference here with the reductionist metaphor often used in a managerialist context. This interview led me to further explore my own ideogram/ metaphor for a large organization. I am conscious that I have held this metaphor for some considerable length of time. This is a city at night, a constellation of lights, blurred and obscured movements, a mosaic of dynamic activity and inertness/sleeping. Linking this back to my autobiography, on reflection, I had a powerful relation to the city that I was brought up in. In times of constraint or distress I would distance myself from family or other immediate surroundings by thinking of the city at night. For me, the city, especially the city centre, had a great life force. One of my manager colleagues also referred to a metaphor of the organization as a constellation where the stars were individual people, or souls. The metaphor of lights or stars representing people may have deep associations in the sense of light representing a spirit. On further reflection, it struck me that perhaps I, too, had been looking over the years for the vibrant heart, or the spiritual light, in organizational life, to no avail. In the case of this interview, both myself and the interviewee had sought “deeper meaning” from the organization without consciously questioning why that meaning would necessarily be accessible to us from organizational experience. Another twist on this perception of organization is the attribution of personal qualities as a way of making sense of the experience of organization through lending it a character or, indeed, a “self”. Two managers interviewed described their perception of organization wholly in terms of projected personal attributes that then shaped their relationship with that organizational “character”. Other managers used personal attributes on occasion when seeking to describe the organization.

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These research findings give us some additional insights in relation to the rather crude observation that “Organisations get likened to many things—machines, armies, rubbish bins, theatrical plays, the human body, and so on—there is even a ‘garbage can’ model. We find the analogy of a river helpful” (Sims, Fineman, & Gabriel, 1992, p. 2). My research process illustrated how the self, an idealized self and spiritual metaphor, might also be projected into the experience and subjective representation of organization. An example of a deep metaphor is the form where the organization is represented as a human thinking entity (Grant & Oswick, 1996, p. 7). My view was that the metaphors of organization that surfaced in the interactive interviews tended to be deep metaphors. My explanation for the use of deep metaphors would be that the organization was, on an experiential level, too fragmented and uncertain an entity to generate cultural metaphors derived from organizational paradigms. The “irrational” experience of performativity and other workload stresses compounded this experience. So, managers generated their own “making sense” metaphor derived from their life history narratives because they needed to create a sense of meaning for themselves about their “being at work”. Thus, in summary, idiom needs can become more significant in the relationship between self and an uncertain organizational environment that lacks sufficient cultural symbols. Life story narratives take on a greater significance in making sense of the self at work by generating meaningful metaphors specific to individual selves: We consecrate the worlds with our own subjectivity, investing people, places, things and events with a kind of idiomatic significance. The objects of our world are potential forms of transformation. We are continually meeting idiom needs by securing evocatively nourishing objects. [Bollas, 1993, quoted by Phillips, 1994, pp. 155–156]

Another manager interviewed chose to draw his image of his working environment. It consisted of a roughly circular shape, with the boundary of the circle representing the boundary of the local authority structure. In the centre of the circle was a heavily inked and emphasized shape that, as we agreed, looked just like an eye. This centre/eye was described as being half hidden. It represented powerful figures at “the centre”. I shared my understanding of

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Foucault’s “panopticon”, and we also concurred that the “eye at the centre” could well represent, for him, the forms of corporate control that were developing in that period. Many managers discussed the “breaking down of boundaries” between the local authority and other organizations that was catalysed, in their view, by increased cross-organizational working at middle manager level on issues where there were substantial affective bonds, such as support to older people or environmental issues. To my mind came the metaphor of an “undefended border”, and thus a boundary that exists more in the imagination than in fact, thereby exposing the “taken-for-granted boundaries established between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ as an act of representation” (Inns & Jones, 1996, p. 118). Working at the boundary suggests a need to be able to manage the internal strengths and weaknesses of the local authority and, at the same time, lead in the midst of the dynamics that inter-agency work provides. This means being able to hold several capacities simultaneously: buffering and boundary spanning, “knowing” and “not knowing”, and leading and managing (Broussine, 1999, p. 6). Or, to put it another way, “The boundary has been drawn but it is always in danger of being erased, which means that the researcher’s task is to describe how boundaries are constructed and maintained, rather than taking them for granted” (Czarniawska, 1997, p. 26). Many managers expressed anxiety in the interviews about the accumulated demands on management of the range of major development projects: too many “spinning plates”, operational demands, increasing performance management stresses, the government’s accelerating change agenda for specific services, etc. Looking at the “bigger picture”, it has been suggested that, although changes in accountability, speed of decision-making, and flexibility have been similar across the public-private divide, the public sector has faced a far higher collapse in morale, motivation, sense of job security, and loyalty (Worrall & Cooper, 1999). It has been observed with greater insight that managerialist reforms might generate the type of fear that would engender “counter-productive, pathological responses, notably, paranoia, a siege mentality, turf protection” (Dixon, Kouzmin, & Korac-Kakabadse, 1998, p. 173). So, managerialists expect public managers to improve organizational efficiency so as to reduce costs, while at the same time

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enhancing organizational performance by meeting the often competing needs of a variety of stakeholders within a politico– administrative environment that punishes mistakes and rewards risk-averse behaviour (ibid., p. 175). In this context, most managers that I interviewed referred to their “depression”, to “depressing situations”, or to their situation being “painful”, and one said that he felt “near to breaking point”. My experience and the research findings of my inquiry, as illustrated above, would indicate that psycho-social research methods are invaluable in exploring our “inner lives” and fostering a research climate where emotion can be expressed and held. These methods generated data for me on these and other issues that were not so likely to surface if relatively “positivist” inquiry methods were used: ● ● ● ● ●





projection of early experiences of authority on to managers and elected Members; countertransference related to management roles in groups within hierarchies of power; issues with containment in a setting where boundaries with other organizations are becoming blurred or being removed; anxiety and defensive behaviour associated with changing roles and structures; experience of loss of meaning in a setting where traditional values of public service have been challenged and there is a loss of autonomy vis-à-vis central government; anxiety and defensive behaviour arising from contact with the public that is based on regulation activity or on rationing welfare-based service provision; anxiety and defensive behaviour related to the experience of the audit/performance culture.

In the next sections, I examine more fully the research methods that I used in my inquiry: autobiographical inquiry, keeping a reflective journal, and interactive interviewing.

Autobiographical inquiry Naturally, I am in possession of my own subjectivity. I will reconstruct what I hear from the other and my hearing will differ from

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that of any other listener. My history as a subject makes me full of my own mental contents (Bollas, 1995, p. 25). Autobiographical work and the placing of my self at the centre of this action research inquiry challenge the convention that issues of identity, selfhood, and emotionality are often referred to, and thereby understood, in tangential and semi-detached ways in fieldwork (Coffey, 1999, p. 1). The work uncovered for me extensive and powerful links between my values as a public service manager and the values of my parents and social background. I found that autobiographical inquiry exposed patterns and connections within selfidentity that are not easily open to “radical reflection” (Taylor, 1989). In relation to this aspect of the inquiry alone, the use of qualitative research methods was justified, to enable the discovery of previously “unknown phenomena” that were related to recalled life experiences (Morgan & Drury, 1997, p. 5). My research perspective, put bluntly, is that people in organizations become mere cyphers if qualitative research is undertaken without reference to the interactive effects of individual personality development, personal history, socio-economic context, and political dimensions at a structural and personal level. Autobiographical exploration was initiated when the interviews were in their early stages, and this work on the researcher as a subject of the research was sufficiently advanced to inform aspects of the interviews, particularly when sharing life experiences with colleagues. Essentially, my own autobiographical work complemented the inquiry by exposing the basis of the construction of my self at work. I have been influenced by Goffman’s work, which incorporates the idea of each individual as having a moral career that incorporates an internal aspect involving image of self and felt identity and an external aspect involving social location, style of life, and “is part of a publicly accessible institutional complex” (Goffman, 1959, p. 127). Lacan explored the origin of these self concepts more fully in referring to a child’s self-recognition, where the perceived self, or “me”, in the metaphorical mirror is a unified self, whereas the inner experience is comparatively disordered or chaotic (Lacan, 1949). These ideas, with hindsight in the case of my inquiry, provide an accessible model for use in psycho-social research if a researcher initially or nominally locates research in the relatively

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“comfortable” external aspect by using open questions, thus stimulating reflective forays that offer insights into the internal experience of their interviewees and themselves. My inquiry has substantially illustrated for me “the role of narrative in development, of ourselves and others, and as a way of understanding issues which are complex, ambiguous yet critical” (Davies, 1992, p. 207). What is the power of narrative in this type of research context? One answer is to be found in the sequential drive of narrative, or its configuring plot (Bruner, 1990, p. 43). So, it might be the organization of the configuring plot that generates more research pointers for us rather than the specific components of the narrative. Sennett (2000) observes that “The institution provides in time what the sociologist Robert Michels called a Lebensfuhrung, which in English might be rendered as ‘life narrative in an institution’” (p. 165). Sennett’s view is understandable, although possibly over simplistic, that this institutional narrative should, in principle, solve the problem of anomie posed by Durkheim, by giving the individual a sustained place in the world (ibid.). My research findings showed how managers presented their life narrative in a way that illustrated their bonds of meaning to a profession or technical specialism in a highly differentiated working environment, as opposed to an identifiable institution. This principle applied to my own autobiographical work, in that I came to understand that my own “specialism” was driven by my struggle as a child to manage my fragmented family life on some level. It was to take a view of the fragmented organization and to work at that corporate level. Thus, my “place to be” was, untypically, carrying out a corporate role in the centre of a fragmented public service organization. These connections with childhood difficulty and developmental issues were thus more distinctly made during a research inquiry, after a forty-year interlude. So, work on my autobiography has served to reinforce the message for me that “We are all prisoners of our personal history. Repressed feelings do not disappear from the psyche, but are held in check through various mechanisms of defence which disguise the conscious presentation of the feelings” (Fineman, 1993, p. 24). A similar connection, made during the inquiry when reviewing my reflective journal comparatively late in the course of the research process, related to my concern with integrity and my deep

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attraction to tasks where I grapple with contended issues in the role of the “honest broker”. Lasch relevantly explores the relationship of the ego ideal to separation anxiety and identifies that The concept of the ego ideal thus helps to remind us that man belongs to the natural world but has the capacity to transcend it and, moreover that the capacity for critical self-reflection is itself rooted in the biological side of man’s nature in the fear of death, the sense of helplessness and inferiority, and the longing to re establish a sense of primal unity with the natural order of things. [Lasch, 1984, p. 180]

The research process and my resignation from my job, which was catalysed by the inquiry, brought about a distinct change in my “self recognition” and my corresponding emotional and psychological engagement with my work. I was very much aware of this change in experiential terms, but I had not identified a fitting theoretical approach until I was introduced, through doctoral supervision, to the work of Hochschild. She draws a vital distinction between surface and deep acting (Hochschild, 1983, p. 33). Surface acting disguises our true feelings and presents feelings that are false. The separation of a critical self from role is a “healthy” estrangement that avoids emotional burnout, and this maintains emotionality as a central means of interpreting the world around us (ibid., p. 188). As Hoggett identifies, this appears to parallel Goffman’s “front stage” presentation of self and “back stage” experience of our true feelings (Hoggett, 2001, p. 6). Deep acting is more akin to “method acting”, as developed by Stanislavski. The actor enters more deeply into role by imagining their way into the part. Stresses created by surface acting are lessened because the role becomes a part of their self, but not a conscious or “present” part of their self in the sense of “being present” in role. In my current working role in another local authority, I am far more aware and consciously critical of my self (or rather, fragmented selves) in role: I owe this development to my research inquiry. It could be argued that my inquiry could be seen as being such an “identity project”, although I would add that in my inquiry I sought to locate the “golden threads” between managerial identity and structural political conditions from a critical, modernist standpoint.

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Keeping a reflective journal One creative way through is to allow the experience of inquiry itself to speak thoroughly, to pay attention to dream and metaphor, to build fully on the representational knowing so that the words, logical or metaphorical, grow out of this deep experience (Reason, 1993, p. 282). Reflection is widely accepted as a learning tool, and is considered integral to professional practice. Journal writing is advocated in facilitating reflection, yet little is written about how to assess reflection in journals (Plack, Driscoll, Blissett, McKenna, & Plack, 2005), or how to use selected journal content as raw research data. Reflective journal working is, thus, anxiety provoking: it can trigger the “imposter syndrome” in terms of academic work. It can reflect a false voice rather than our authentic researcher’s voice (or, rather, “voices”), given our propensity to have fragmented selves with varying degrees of agency and a capacity to enter into internal dialogue (Hoggett, 2001). My own reflective journal was kept for over four years. I aimed to include at least one entry each week, exploring an issue that had interested or disconcerted me at work. I made a descriptive entry, sometimes in the form of a “vignette”, then returned to this entry after a few days and entered an italicized reflective note. Sometimes, I added a further reflective note at a later date. These iterations were essentials in giving “reflective distance” to events. The reflective journal was not assessed as such, but I provided updated journal entries to my doctoral supervisors in advance of, or at, each supervision session and we explored the content together. In my thesis, I drew on journal content as raw research data by quoting from it and giving a brief reference to the journal year as being the reference source. The journal content itself showed a distinct trajectory over time, from rather stilted entries with a “rationalist” standpoint describing incidents at work, through more critical comment on issues, to a deeper reflection on personal process. A sense of increasing agency or awareness of agency was demonstrated in fits and starts over time as the supported research process built my capacity as a reflective agent. I included dream content in the journal, where my interpretation made a connection between dream content and my working life.

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As an illustration of the “play” of the unconscious mind with conscious experience, a dream can be useful as an exploratory tool. I understand a dream to be bringing together unconscious ideas in a dream event, and then it is useful to look at the relations between those unconscious ideas, using free association, thus acknowledging the “necessary opposition between that part of us that finds truth by uniting disparate ideas (i.e. ‘condensation’) and the part of us that finds the truth by breaking up those unities” (Bollas, 1995, p. 3). I had a dream relating to the empathic experience of the interactive interviews. There was a very pleasant “feel” to this dream. I was wandering the corridors of the council offices and every now and then would come across one of my co-researcher interviewees. We immediately took up the type of discussion that we had in the interactive interviews; in other words, characterized by more informal interaction and greater “disclosure” than was demonstrated in other settings at work. This also involved some empathic contact, such as placing a hand on the other person’s arm or some expression of warmth.

I initially interpreted this dream as being a wish-fulfilment dream about making my “working” life generally more akin to the “life” of my research process. However, on further reflection, I see this dream as saying something about my experience of the development of deeper empathic relationships with the colleagues who participated in my research, although these deeper relationships were not acknowledged openly. I experienced (consciously and unconsciously) the interactive interviews as relatively increasing my attunement with my interviewee colleagues. In another dream, I was bemused to find myself wearing a complex feminine garment with a series of cuffs progressing from wrist to elbow, a characteristic metaphorical play on the word “cuff”. On reflection, I saw that this dream could have a feminist interpretation, as the cuffs were on a feminine style of dress and, thus, were a metaphor for gendered role. This led me to carry out more analysis of the gendering of my role at work, and I came to share Hollway and Jefferson’s concept of an anxious, defended subject as being simultaneously psychic and also social (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 24).

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So, I developed my practice in using the journal as a tool to examine role and process. It became more political, not in a partypolitical sense, but in the sense of a place where the interface between political issues and self-governance could surface. I frequently reflected on contention, irony, and the “madness” of some political rhetoric. If we accept the notion that we have an “inner politician”, then our political self-awareness means understanding how our political attitudes and commitments have been affected psychologically by family, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, and socio-economic status, and, conversely, how our personalities have been irradiated by the political times in which we live (Samuels, 1993, p. 1).

Interactive interviewing My interactive interviewing method was to pose open questions to open up a dialogue. The interviews in my inquiry took place with fifteen managerial colleagues on a self selected basis: they responded to my email invitation to participate in my research process. The striking point for me was the speed and passion of the responses, followed by the immediate depth of trust that was given to the interview process: I could barely suggest the “ground rules” for our interviews before my co-researcher managers plunged into candid revelations of their feelings and views about their experiences at work. However, while many managerial colleagues described without prompting the interactive interviews in this action research inquiry as being “therapeutic”, the purpose and boundaries of a research process need to be carefully observed and respected, given the very different purpose and skills involved in identifiably therapeutic interactions. In my experience, the interviews provided a capacity for a relatively higher degree of intersubjectivity or mutual recognition (Benjamin, 1995). The therapeutic effect appeared to arise from the rare opportunity to speak out and to be emotionally expressive. In addition, there is a common cultural association that correlated such a private, emotionally expressive exchange with manifestations of the “therapeutic culture”. I had understood, prior to this inquiry, that research was a “therapeutic” process for the researcher. What I had not acknowledged

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was the potential therapeutic effect of even one single interactive interview for those participants engaging with the researcher in a collaborative process. Interestingly, Baum has remarked that most psychoanalytic views of organizations are written by action researchers (Baum, 1987, p. 29). As stated above, the managers participating in my inquiry tended to plunge into open discussion, with very little or no recourse to my introducing the niceties of ground rules. Their prior knowledge of my potential capacity to acknowledge and hold feelings, and, conversely, my knowledge of their potential capacity, shaped our assumptions about our jointly created capacity. The essential shift in the nature of pre-existing relationships (Coghlan & Brannick, 1992, p. 41) occurred very rapidly between myself and all managers who participated in the interviews. My tacit understanding that this openness was related to the previously existing level of trust between myself and the interviewees is borne out by the work of Andrews and Delahaye (2000), who found in their case study research that perceived trustworthiness—based on perceptions of what colleagues were likely to do with sensitive information—was the factor that influenced knowledge-sharing decisions. In interactive interviewing, both parties can create the capacity in the sense of a container to hold the generation of greater understanding. Capacity is a “portmanteau” term in that “to hear the message accurately requires the ability to pay attention to all aspects of one’s experience and depends on many things i.e. having sufficient energy and emotional capacity” (Moylan, 1994, p. 53). It is not always unconscious thoughts and feelings that need to be understood, but also the implicit: what is not being said. “Thoughts conscious in some people or even shared in twos and threes, are not openly shared with everyone in a work situation where they could be realistically and constructively used” (Menzies Lyth, 1989, p. 29). The interactive interviews heightened my sense that the capacity of the interviews for “holding” or “containing” was a deeply sensitive quality, related to Heron’s definition of the participatory pole of feeling (as compared to the individuating pole of emotion). The capacity to participate in wider unities of being, to become at one with the differential content of the whole field of experience. This is the domain of empathy, indwelling, participation, presence, resonance and such like. [Heron, 1995, p. 16]

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The concept of “negative capability” speaks of the reality of the power of the ego in personal interaction. It describes the capacity to experience emotion, one’s own and others’, but also to contain it for the sake of the work and, by doing so, to learn from and to use emotion to inform our understanding of the work. The “negativeness” of this capability does not indicate negativity, deficiency, or insignificance. Instead, it is a measure of the human capacity to contain emotion, the ability to hold enough to be able to hold something for another as well as for oneself (French, 2000, p. 1218). This research process has significantly developed my capacity to “hold” emotion that is “getting in the way”, and also it has freed my expression of assertive feeling on issues where previously I might have “professionally” contained my feelings. In the context of negative capability, my experience was that the closing stage of an interactive interview was a delicate stage in dealing with the emotional access that had been opened by the interview. In each case, I found that I was seeking to express in a few words that I would “hold” the process which had been initiated until the next time that I met with the co-researcher. There was a sense of something being mindfully held in suspense. My understanding was that this “something” was a manifestation of their identity, or a fragment of their “selves”, that had not previously been voiced in a workplace setting. It was, thus, important for me to demonstrate a “sensibility” or emotional delicacy in handling the closing stage of the interview. My intuition was that the sensitivity was related to the switch of roles, from our being co-researchers to our return to “business as usual” in our management roles, entailing the possibility of damage or loss of trust in a research process that was jointly valued. I have outlined above how the value of working with narrative in my inquiry was illustrated by interviewees resorting to their life story narratives in order to explain or explore their links to their fields of work. This was a move away from facts and theories to stories, enabling ambiguity to be “on the table” and facilitating serendipitous learning (Fineman & Gabriel, 1994, p. 375). More profoundly, the value of narrative in a therapeutic context has been recognized as a means of facilitating self expression in relation to sensitive issues (White & Epston, 1990).

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“Deep” metaphor was used frequently by managers in the interactive interviews. Deep metaphor was drawn from interviewees’ life narrative, not from common organizational metaphors. Deep metaphors are of substantial value in phenomenological research. In this case, they illustrated how interviewees related to, or were alienated by, the organization. Primarily, they were an expression of continuity of individual meaning, whether conscious or subconscious, as opposed to a more “surface” metaphorical expression of immediate emotion. A “relaxed” narrative is illustrated by metaphor. Metaphor as a “language” focuses on processes rather than structures, and enables us to see how “organization” is a state of mind rather than simply an external “state” (Czarniawska, 1997, pp. 18–19). An effective way to focus the subconscious is through imagery and visualization (Senge, 1990, p. 165). The use of metaphor in inquiry is recognized as a form of “knowing”, or, in other words, “presentational knowing” (Reason & Heron, 2001, p. 5). Thus, metaphor has a clear relationship to phenomenological methodology. So, in this inquiry, I found that metaphor was useful as an intersubjective “clue”, promoting a deeper understanding of the experiential inner world of myself and others. Hollway and Jefferson use the notion of the “defended subject” to indicate that people will defend themselves against any anxieties in the information they provide in a research context. They suggest that to interpret interviewees’ responses should entail developing a method in which narratives are central, as should a strategy of interpretation in which interviewees’ free associations are given precedence over narrative coherence (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000).

Empathic inquiry The contribution of empathy or emotional communication is underplayed in accounts of qualitative research methodology. It is the case that to a large extent the quality of the research experience (for all involved) and the quality of the research data is dependent upon the formation of relationships and the development of an emotional connection to the field. [Coffey, 1999, p. 57]

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Further, our experience develops the capacity to recognize and understand the manifestations of the unconscious mind “in the conscious thoughts, feelings, speech and behaviour of the people one is working with—and in oneself” (Menzies Lyth, 1989, p. 28). But empathy is not often recognized as being a political issue. Power permeates all of our relationships and, in the case of this inquiry, perceptions and experiences of power were present in the interactive interviews. I placed a particular value on establishing relationships of trust, and the previous existence of such relationships at work enabled engagement in the interviews. Throughout my working life, I have had a drive to explore the meaning of relationships of trust because trust is, for me, a “golden thread” running through interpersonal relations into the socio-political context. Sennett has articulated this concept for us by linking the expression of loose bonds of informal trust at a micro-political level to a wider emancipatory purpose vis-à-vis a macro-political context (Sennett, 1999).

Concluding reflection on my research methods We can, perhaps, begin to discern the cracking of our once secure space of interiority, the disconnecting of some of the lines that have made up this diagram, the possibility that, if we cannot disinvent ourselves, we might at least enhance the contestability of the forms of being that have been invented for us, and begin to invent ourselves differently (Rose, 1998, p. 197). Research on perceived problems of modern life in a general sense indicates that the most common answers to “What do you see as the main problem of modern life?” include the decline of certainty and belief, unfulfilled expectations, and meaninglessness (Sloan, 1996, p. 9). Success, on the other hand, is equated with the illusory achievement of coherence and unity, of the “integrated personality” which ego psychology identifies with mental health (Barglow, 1994, p. 27). What underlies this drive to achieve integration that I experienced as a “corporate manager”? Integrity can be described as being an expression of a desire for wholeness and integration of the self in the face of incompleteness and irresolvable dilemmas. Miller rightly identifies that this internal struggle

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involves “a debate about thought and feeling, desire and action, structure and agency, and the publicly concerned versus the privately concerned self” (Miller, 1993, p. xiii). My research findings finely dissected my role in its various parts, including corporate fixer, honest broker, empathic interpreter of power structures, critic of political discourse, etc. These parts were distinctly relational and contrasted with other parts, such as corporate policy maker and disseminator and corporate projects manager. So, this inquiry has been an effective catalyst in enabling me to move on by bringing to the surface, acknowledging, and processing the powerful contradictions that I experienced in my working life. In the lessening of this burden of paradox, the capacity for thought develops, allowing a more openly reflexive interpretation to emerge. What is this burden? A useful definition is that one of the purposes of reflection is to become aware, through inquiry, of the many layers of culture woven into experience which might prevent adequate and contemporary action (Elkjaer, 2003, p. 137). Our conscious awareness of the “frontiers” of our knowledge is vital, to avoid limiting prior assumptions about the outcomes of our inquiry and to give us enough conceptual freedom to follow up on what may seem to be the “red herrings” in our mapped out research streams. This awareness and capacity to learn is Bion’s “not knowing” (French & Simpson, 2000, p. 55). This takes us away from a narcissistic knowingness into a risky terrain of potential surprises, some of them not necessarily very pleasant in the sense of their not being self-supporting for our contended and contingent managerial identities. Thus, this form of psycho-social inquiry greatly enhanced my capacity to be “surprised” or enlightened as a researcher/manager. Bion, following Klein, develops the concept of the epistomophilic instinct, or the desire to “know”: this he calls “K”, being one of three human imperatives, alongside love and hate (Bion, 1962). This is very pertinent for my inquiry, as I can identify in myself a deep curiosity that has driven this research process. Critical inquiry may serve to expose for us fragments of our “selves” that had hitherto been concealed by the limits of our understanding or suppressed effectively by a “false consciousness”. The challenge to our selves associated with such critical inquiry may be counterbalanced by its liberating impact: the increased

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freedom to investigate, analyse, and then to understand in a way that enhances our vital capacity for active agency.

References Andrews, K., & Delahaye, B. (2000). Influences on knowledge processes in organizational learning: the psychosocial filter. Journal of Management Studies, 37(6): 797–810. Barglow, R. (1994). The Crisis of the Self in the Age of Information: Computers, Dolphins and Dreams. London: Routledge. Baum, H. (1987). The Invisible Bureaucracy: The Unconscious in Organizational Problem Solving. New York: Oxford University Press. Benjamin, J. (1995). Recognition and Destruction: An Outline of Intersubjectivity, in Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Bion, W. (1962). Learning From Experience. London: Karnac. Bollas, C. (1993). Being a Character. London: Routledge. Bollas, C. (1995). Cracking Up: The Work of Unconscious Experience. London: Routledge. Broussine, M. (1999). The Chief Executive at the Boundary—New Perspectives Created by “Joined Up Government”. Bristol: Bristol Business School, University of the West of England. Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Cicourel, A. (1964). Method and Measurement in Sociology. London: Free Press. Coffey, A. (1999). The Ethnographic Self. London: Sage. Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. (2001). Doing Action Research in your Own Organisation. London: Sage. Czarniawska, B. (1997). A four times told tale: combining narrative and scientific knowledge in organisation studies. Organisation, 4(1): 7–30. Davies, J. (1992). Careers of trainers: biography in action, the narrative dimension. Management Education and Development, 23(3): 207–214. Dixon, J., Kouzmin, A., & Korac-Kakabadse, N. (1998). Managerialism— something old, something borrowed, little new: economic prescription versus effective organizational change in public agencies. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 11(2–3): 164–187. Elkjaer, B. (2003). Perspectival review. Management Learning, 34(1): 136–137.4).

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Fineman, S. (Ed.) (1993). Emotion in Organisations. London: Sage. Fineman, S., & Gabriel, Y. (1994). Paradigms of organisations: an exploration of textbook rhetorics. Organization, 1(2): 375–399. French, R. (2000). Negative capability, dispersal and the containment of emotion. Unpublished paper, http://www.ispso.org/Symposia/ London. French, R., & Simpson, S. (1999). Our best work happens when we don’t know what we’re doing. Journal of Socio-Analysis, 1(2): 216–230. Frost, P., Moore, L., Louis, M., Lundberg, C., & Martin, J. (Eds.) (1985). Organisational Culture: The Meaning of Life in the Workplace. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage. Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday. Grant, D., & Oswick, C. (Eds.) (1996). Metaphor and Organisations. London: Sage. Greenwood, D. J., & Levin, M. (1998). Introduction to Action Research: Social Research for Social Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Henwood, K., & Pidgeon, N. (1993). Qualitative research and psychological theorising. In: M. Hammersley (Ed.), Social Research: Philosophy, Politics and Practice (pp. 14–32). London: Sage. Heron, J. (1992). Feeling and Personhood; Psychology in Another Key. London: Sage. Heron, J., & Reason, P. (1997). A participatory inquiry paradigm. Qualitative Inquiry, 3(3): 274–294. Hochschild, A. (1983). The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Hodgson, J. (1993). Childhood in Autobiography and Fiction Since 1940. Sheffield: Academic Press. Hoggett, P. (2001). Agency, rationality and social policy. Journal of Social Policy, 30: 37–56. Hoggett, P. (2006). Conflict, ambivalence and the contested purpose of public organisations. Human Relations, 59(2): 175–194. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. Inns, D., & Jones, P. (1996). Metaphor in organisation theory: following in the footsteps of the poet? In: D. Grant & C. Oswick (Eds.), Metaphor and Organisations (pp. 110–126). London: Sage.

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Kirkwood, C. (2003). The person-in-relation perspective: towards a philosophy for counselling in society. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 3(3): 186–195. Lacan, J. (1949). Le Stade du Miroir. Zurich: XVIe International Congress of Psychoanalysis. Lasch, C. (1984). The Minimal Self. London: Pan. Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative Researching. London: Sage. Menzies Lyth, I. (1989). The Dynamics of the Social. London: Free Association. Miller, T. (1993). The Well-Tempered Self. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Morgan, A., & Drury, V. (2003). Legitimising the subjectivity of human reality through qualitative research method. The Qualitative Report, 8(1), retrieved from www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR8-1/morgan.html. Moylan, D. (1994). The dangers of contagion. In: A. Obholzer & V. Roberts (Eds.), The Unconscious at Work (pp. 51–59). London: Routledge. Phillips, A. (1994). On Flirtation. London: Faber and Faber. Plack, M., Driscoll, M., Blissett, S., McKenna, R., & Plack, T. (2005). A method for assessing reflective journal writing. Journal of Allied Health, 34(4): 199–208. Reason, P. (1993). Reflections on sacred experience and sacred science. Journal of Management Inquiry, 2(3): 273–283. Reason, P., & Heron, J. (2001). A layperson’s guide to co-operative inquiry. Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice (CARPP), University of Bath. www.bath.ac.uk/carpp/publications/ coop_inquiry.html. Rose, N. (1998). Inventing Our Selves: Psychology, Power, and Personhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Samuels, A. (1993). The Political Psyche. London: Routledge. Schutz, A. (1966). The Phenomenology of the Social World. London: Heinemann. Seivers, B. (1990). The diabolisation of death: some thoughts on the obsolescence of mortality in organisation theory and practice. In: J. Hassard & D. Pym (Eds.), The Theory and Philosophy of Organisations: Critical Issues and New Perspectives (pp. 125–136). London: Routledge. Senge, P. (1990). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organisation. New York: Doubleday. Sennett, R. (1999). The Corrosion of Character. New York: Norton.

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Sennett, R. (2000). Respect: The Formation of Character in an Age of Inequality. London: Penguin. Sims, D., Fineman, S., & Gabriel, Y. (1992). Organising and Organisations. London: Sage. Sloan, T. (1996). Damaged Life: The Crisis of the Modern Psyche. London: Routledge. Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the Self. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. White, M., & Epston, D. (1990). Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. Adelaide, SA: Dulwich Centre. Worrall, L., & Cooper, C. L. (1999). The Quality of Working Life: 1999 Survey of Manager’s Changing Experiences. London: Institute of Management.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

Analysing discourse psycho-socially Leslie Boydell

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n this chapter, I describe an approach to psycho-social research which combines discursive psychology, a form of discourse analysis, with a psychodynamic approach, to identify what I have termed the Partnership-in-the-Mind, based on Armstrong’s conception of the Organization-in-the-Mind (2005). I use discursive psychology to link the imagery conveyed by metaphor, as used by members of an inter-agency partnership concerned with improving health and reducing health inequalities within a geographical area, to the concept of the defended subject, using data generated by the Free Association Narrative Interviewing method (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000). I applied this methodology to a case study of a Health Action Zone in Northern Ireland, which is described below.

The case study This case study is an inquiry into what happens when people from different organizations and sectors decide to collaborate to pursue a common goal orientated towards the public good. Multi-sectoral partnerships have become central to government’s approach to 241

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tackling complex policy issues, for example, neighbourhood renewal, social exclusion, community safety, child poverty, and other “wicked issues” (Newman, 2001). This is based on the need for partnership between those involved in shaping policy and those affected by its delivery. As part of the Labour government’s emphasis on stimulating integrated local action, a wide range of areabased initiatives requiring partnership have been established since 1997. An example is the Health Action Zone, set up to reduce inequalities in health through the co-ordinated activity of different agencies (Barnes & Sullivan, 2002, p. 81). Health Action Zones (HAZs) were set up in England and Wales from 1998, and from 1999, HAZs were set up in Northern Ireland. They were to “explore mechanisms for breaking current organisational boundaries to tackle inequalities, and deliver better services and better health care, building upon and encouraging co-operation across the NHS” (DoH, 1997, p. 145). They were to set up partnership boards and engage local communities in deciding and implementing policies. This case study is based on research funded by the Research and Development Office of the Health Personal Social Services in Northern Ireland, as part of their New Targeting Social Need research programme from March 2003 to February 2006. The research led to the development of a conceptual model showing the relationship between the context within which a partnership is working, the benefits of partnership working, and inequalities (Boydell & Rugkäsa, 2007). The case study consisted of in-depth interviews, group inquiry, observations of meetings, and document analysis. The analysis in this chapter is based on data derived from interviews with ten partners in one Health Action Zone in Belfast.

Interviewing The primary approach to interviewing used was the free association narrative method described by Hollway and Jefferson (2000), who base their method on their theory of the “defended subject”. It is explicitly based on a psychoanalytic understanding that threats to the self create anxiety, which in turn precipitate defences that operate largely unconsciously. They argue that “conflict, suffering and threats to self operate on the psyche in ways that affect people’s

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positioning and investment in certain discourses rather than others” (ibid., p. 19). They do this to protect vulnerable aspects of themselves. Hollway and Jefferson draw mainly on Melanie Klein’s theories of psychoanalysis, and use her two developmental positions, paranoid–schizoid and depressive. In the former, splitting of objects occurs so that bad parts can be projected outwards and good parts preserved within the self. In the depressive position, it is possible for the subject to integrate these two aspects and to see the good and the bad in the same object. People alternate between these two positions throughout life, depending on the threats to their psyche. This approach to research depends on eliciting narrative from the research interviewee. Generally, people arrange their stories to give coherence. One of the key skills in this form of interviewing is to elicit stories, and several guidelines are presented to assist this: using open-ended questions, avoiding why questions, and following up interviewees’ ordering and phrasing. This is an unstructured form of interviewing, and free association is seen as central to analysis of the defended subject. This is the narrative of the psychoanalytic session, “the kind of narrative that is not structured according to conscious logic, but according to unconscious logic; that is, the associations follow pathways defined by emotional motivations, rather than rational intentions” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 37). In this way, the coherence of the narrative may be compromised, and it is by examining the contradictions and avoidances that the researcher might be able to discern the interviewee’s concerns, or, in other words, the presences and absences in the narrative. Kvale (1996) highlights the importance of Freud’s term, “evenly hovering attention”, for picking up these nuances within the interview. A key to eliciting this form of free association narrative is for the researcher to keep intervention to a minimum. Wengraf (2001, p. 113) suggests that what is required is giving up control and maintenance of maximum “power-asymmetry against yourself”. The advantage of narrative is that “precisely by what it assumes and therefore does not focus upon, narrative conveys tacit and unconscious assumptions and norms of the individual or of a cultural group” (ibid., p. 115, original italics). The free association narrative interviewing method involves two interviews. The first interview is used “to interrogate critically what

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was said, to pick up contradictions, inconsistencies, avoidances and changes of emotional tone” (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000, p. 43), while the second interview allows the researcher to follow up and “seek further evidence to test . . . emergent hunches and provisional hypothesis. It also [gives] interviewees a chance to reflect” (ibid.).

While free association narrative interviewing, as developed by Hollway and Jefferson (2000), is based on the biographical–interpretative method as described by Rosenthal and Schutze, and depends on eliciting narrative, what makes it distinctive is the idea of the defended subject and the psychoanalytic method of free association. What is important is not the coherence of the narrative, but the unconscious dynamics used to avoid or master anxiety and which lead to contradictions and avoidances within the narrative. The interpretation of this narrative requires sensitivity to emotional experience, and to transference and countertransference.

Metaphor As I was carrying out the interviews in this case study, I became intrigued by the range of metaphors used by interviewees when talking about their experiences of working in partnership. While some of these metaphors were highly individualistic and idiosyncratic, others seem to touch on recurring themes. Interviewees used metaphors frequently, without evident awareness that they were speaking metaphorically. Metaphors are pervasive in our language, thoughts, and actions, and underpin all our conceptual thought (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980). Thus, it is not surprising that talk about partnerships is rich in metaphor. Lakoff and Johnson define metaphor as “understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another” (ibid., p. 5). Morgan (1997) refers to metaphors as a way of thinking and of seeing. He also refers to them as a way of not seeing. Lakoff and Johnson (1980, p. 10) explain this in that “allowing us to focus on one aspect of a concept, a metaphorical concept can keep us from focusing on other aspects of the concept that are inconsistent with that metaphor”. Grant and Oswick (1976, p. 10), who studied metaphors in organizational discourse, refer to the application of metaphors as either

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deductive or inductive. “The deductive approach involves taking a metaphor, imposing it on a particular organisational phenomenon and then seeing if it offers something of value”. Morgan’s wellknown work, Images of Organizations, results from this approach (Morgan, 1997). In this book, he identifies eight metaphors based on organizational theories, which he maintains “lead us to see, understand, and manage organizations in distinctive yet partial ways”, for example, organizations as machines, organisms, brains, or psychic prisons. While recognizing the originality of Morgan’s work and its contribution to highlighting the value of metaphors in understanding organizations, Mangham (1996) criticizes Morgan for not developing metaphor as ways of thinking and refers to his metaphors as idiosyncratic, suggesting that, as such, they are unlikely to become conventionalized into our thought. The inductive application of metaphors “seeks to discover those underlying metaphors that are already in use and which influence our ways of thinking and seeing” (Grant & Oswick, 1996, p. 10). It is this approach to metaphor that I have used in this research, helping to identify the “partnership-in-the-mind”. The notion of a partnership-in-the-mind is derived from the concept of the organization-inthe-mind, which is described in the next section.

Organization-in-the-mind In this research I have used the concept of the organisation-in-themind as described by David Armstrong (2005). The term was first used by Pierre Turquet in relation to an experience at a group relations conference, as a way of understanding members’ behaviour “as reflecting and being governed by unconscious assumptions, images and fantasies they held about the conference as an organization” (ibid., p. 3). Armstrong and the staff of the Grubb Institute used the concept widely in their organizational consulting work. By the time Armstrong left the Institute, the idea was formulated as follows: “Organisation-in-the-mind” is what the individual perceives in his or her head of how activities and relations are organised, structured and connected internally. It is a model internal to oneself, part of

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one’s inner world, relying upon the inner experiences of my interactions, relations and the activities I engage in, which give rise to images, emotions, values and responses in me, which may consequently be influencing my own management and leadership, positively or adversely . . . “Organisation-in-the-mind” helps me to look beyond the normative assessments of organisational issues and activity, to become alert to my inner experiences and give rich meaning to what is happening to me and around me. [Hutton, Bazalgette, & Reed, 1997, quoted in Armstrong, 2005, p. 4]

This description focuses on what Armstrong refers to as “mental constructs” held by individual clients. In terms of my methodology, I envisaged being able to explore the organization-in-the-mind suggested through the metaphors that partners used about the partnership during interviews. However, Armstrong, in his own practice, has taken the concept further. He began to develop the idea that the organization-in-the-mind might be something belonging to the organization as a whole, as one “psycho-social field”. “From this perspective, each individual’s internal model or construct, conscious or unconscious, might perhaps better be seen as a secondary formation, a particular, more or less idiosyncratic response to a common, shared organizational dynamic” (ibid., p. 5). Within this frame of reference, “processes of projection in organizational settings [can be] seen as a response to something elicited by the organization and not something simply imposed on it” (ibid., p. 5, original italics). Attending to the organization-in-the-mind involves attending to the emotional experiences which occur between the consultant (or the researcher) and the client (or organizational research interviewee). As well as thinking of a partnership-in-themind in terms of the mental models individuals partners hold about the partnership, Armstrong’s development of the concept allows for consideration of my emotional experience in relation to the partners I interviewed or observed in groups, and what this might reflect about the “inner world” of the partnership.

Discursive psychology As my interest was in the implicit, what is beneath the surface, that which is not easily available to conscious thought, I decided to use

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the imagery offered by the metaphors used by the partners I interviewed as a way of going beyond the immediately denotative aspects of language. This in turn led to the decision to use discursive psychology, a form of discourse analysis, as a theoretical framework for analysis using metaphor. Discursive psychology began to develop in the 1980s with the work of Potter, Wetherell, Edwards, Harré, and Gillett (Wetherell, 2001, pp. 188–189). It draws on a number of strands. One is social constructionism, which provides the context for discursive psychology. Social constructionism developed as an alternative to experimental and other quantitative methods of which it was highly critical, and led to new thinking on subjectivity and the self. A second strand draws on critical psychology and Foucault’s work on subjectivity. Wetherell (1998, p. 394) refers to genealogy, a term introduced by Foucault, as requiring the analyst “to render strange, usual or habitual ways of making sense, to locate these sensemaking methods historically and to interrogate their relation to power”. In fact discursive psychology is not a single strand of study, but a complex field informed by a range of different and sometimes contradictory ideas and arguments (Edley, 2001, p. 189). Wetherell (1998, p. 388) proposes that a clear distinction is often made between “a discursive psychology offering a fine grain analysis of the action orientation of talk” consistent with ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, and “investigations concerned with the imbrication [overlap] of discourse, power and subjectification” according to a Foucauldian analysis. Wetherell and her co-workers have developed a more integrated approach to discursive psychology, which is the main method described in this chapter. Wetherell (1998, p. 393) draws on Laclau and Mouffe, who regard discourse as “an unceasing human activity of making meanings . . . from which social agents and objects, social institutions and social structures emerge configured in ever-changing patterns of relations”. Meaning is never finally fixed, but is always in flux, unstable and precarious. Within this view, power is seen as “the capacity to ‘articulate’ and to make those articulations not only ‘stick’ but become hegemonic and pervasive” (ibid.). Laclau and Mouffe appear to allow for both the active and passive role of social agents in that they are actively involved in meaning making, but, at the same time, may become decentred, and not the authors of their own discursive activity.

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We can . . . conceive the social agent as constituted by an ensemble of “subject positions” that can never be totally fixed in a closed system of difference, constructed by a diversity of discourses . . . the “identity” of such a multiple and contradictory subject is therefore always contingent and precarious, temporarily fixed at the intersection of these subject positions . . . it is therefore impossible to speak of the social agent as if we were dealing with a unified, homogeneous entity. [Mouffe, quoted in Wetherell, 1998, pp. 393– 394]

This is consistent with Hollway and Jefferson’s view of the defended subject, combining the psychic and the social. Two key underpinning concepts in discourse analysis come from Wittgenstein and Austin. Wittgenstein said that “language is itself the vehicle of thought”, rather than a description of some inner mental state (Wittgenstein, quoted in Potter, 2001, p. 42). For him, meaning does not originate in some private space in the mind. Discursive psychology does not involve the study of discourse as a way to develop understanding of internal attitudinal systems, but focuses on the way in which phenomena are constructed through social interaction and utterances. Wittgenstein referred to language games, in that people learn how to use particular words by observing how these words are used. This applies to psychological words, such as “remember”, “feel”, or “see”, as well as to words for physical objects such as “chair” or “table” (Billig, 2001, p. 211). “These words are used in various ‘language games’ and their sense must be understood in terms of the practices of their usage”. Wittgenstein used this to argue that these words do not refer to some internal private state. Based on this, Billig argues that if we want to study memory, perception, or emotion, we can do so by investigating the use of language. According to Billig, psychology is constituted in language and it is possible to study processes of thinking directly (Billig, 2001). This provides a possible link between discursive psychology, which is a study of language in use, and analysis informed by psychoanalysis, in which we are concerned with emotional experience. Austin introduced the theory of speech acts, based on the idea that language is used to do things. He talked of utterances having illocutionary force, which depends on the choice of words, the way in which they are spoken, the context, and who speaks them (Potter,

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2001). Discourse analysis focuses on the function of language and speech, and recognizes that when people use language to persuade, request, accuse, or influence, they often do so obliquely. This means that, as well as the looking at the actual words used, it is also important to understand the context of use in that the meanings of expressions change with their context of use (Potter & Wetherell, 1987). A key function of language is self-presentation, which may include presenting oneself in a favourable light or someone else in a less favourable light. Thus, descriptions of people, events, or things will vary according to the purpose of the person who is speaking of them. People use language to “construct versions of the social world” (Potter & Wetherell, 2001, p. 199). Accounts of events are constructed from a variety of pre-existing linguistic resources. This implies active selection on the part of the person doing the constructing. This process is not necessarily performed consciously, but is the result of the speaker trying to make sense of the phenomenon about which they are speaking or engaging in social processes of blaming or justifying. The person offering a description will offer one that seems right for the occasion and are just “doing what comes naturally” (Potter & Wetherell, 1987, p. 34). Accordingly, all language is constructive and consequential (Potter & Wetherell, 2001). The importance of this for research is that language use is highly variable and cannot be taken as a realistic or unambiguous account of the phenomenon being described. For my research, this means that the descriptions provided by interviewees cannot be taken as a definitive description of the partnership, and that each partner is using language to perform some function in relation to the partnership or themselves. Thus, in discourse analysis, the topic of study is language use and the function performed by language, rather than language as an accurate reflection of something else. This appears to point to contradiction in my intended use of language to explore the unconscious. However, I believe a key word here is the rejection of language as an “accurate” reflection of what the speaker is describing. Both discursive psychology and analysis of the defended subjects or groups use interpretation to speculate about the purpose or motivation of the speaker from their choice of words and the way in which they speak, and both approaches seek to understand underlying motives of which the speaker might be unconscious. My choice of discursive psychology

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over other forms of discourse analysis is, in part, based on its acceptance of individual agency; in other words, that there is a subject who uses language to achieve certain ends. Edley (2001) identifies interpretative repertoires and subject positions as key concepts in discursive psychology. These are explained in the next two sections.

Interpretative repertoires The concept of “interpretative repertoire” was adopted by Potter and Wetherell (1987, p. 138) to mean “a lexicon or register of terms and metaphors drawn upon to characterize and evaluate actions and events” Wetherell (1998, p. 400) describes them as “culturally familiar and habitual line(s) of argument comprised of recognisable themes, common places and tropes”. They comprise the methods used for making sense in a particular context, organizing accountability, and they “serve as a backcloth for the realization of locally managed positions in actual interaction” (ibid., pp. 400–401). Interpretive repertoires provide “a range of linguistic resources that can be drawn upon and utilized in the course of everyday social interaction” (Edley, 2001, p. 198). This does not rule out the construction of something original in conversation, but it is more usual to draw on what is already available. This places conversation within a historical context, building on what is taken to be common sense. Potter and Wetherell give the example of a “community repertoire”, based on an analysis where the category “community” involves a cluster of terms and metaphors which were selectively put forward to provide evaluative versions of the events under study (1987, p. 138). The terms included in the community repertoire described a certain style of cohesive social relationships, such as “closeness”, “integration”, and “friendliness”, and metaphors such as “close-knit” and “growth” (Potter, Wetherell, Gill, & Edwards, 1990, p. 212). There is no simple guidance to recognizing interpretative repertoires. Edley (2001) suggests that this comes with practice and is made easier by familiarity with one’s data. Of interest to my research is the suggestion that common metaphors may emerge. “By interpretative repertoire, we mean broadly discernable clusters of terms, descriptions and figures of speech often assembled

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around metaphors or vivid images” (Wetherell & Potter, 1992, quoted in Phillips & Jørgensen, 2002, p. 107). With regard to the partnerships in my research, I am interested in exploring what interpretive repertoires are being used and what functions these repertoires appear to perform.

Positioning This concept plays an important part in discursive psychology. Davies and Harré (2001) state that “an individual emerges through the process of social interaction, not as a relatively fixed end product but as one who is constituted and reconstituted through the various discursive practices in which they participate” (ibid., p. 263). Who one is depends on the positions made available within either one’s own or others’ discursive practices. Davies and Harré use the concept of positioning to explore the discursive production of a diversity of selves. They define positioning as “the discursive process whereby selves are located in conversations as observably and subjectively coherent participants in jointly produced story lines” (ibid., p. 264). Interactive positioning occurs when one person positions another, and reflexive positioning when a person positions him or herself. In either case, this may occur unintentionally or unconsciously. One person can position others by adopting a story line which incorporates a particular interpretation of cultural stereotypes to which they are invited to conform, indeed are required to conform if they are to continue to converse with the first speaker in such a way as to contribute to that person’s story line. [ibid., p. 50]

Positions are identified from autobiographical aspects of conversation, exploring how each person appears to conceive of themselves and of others by what position they take up and in what story. The speaker assigns roles within the episodes described, which other conversants can either take up or reject. Of particular relevance to my research is the recognition that words used to position others “inevitably contain images and metaphors which both assume and invoke the ways of being that the participants take themselves to be involved in” (ibid., p. 265). These images may be

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very powerful, and yet individuals might not be conscious of how they are using them.

Analysis of the defended subject The concept of positioning provides a valuable link between discursive psychology and a psychoanalytically informed analysis of the defended subject, since both approaches are concerned with subject positions and positioning of others. In psychoanalysis, the splitting of objects into good and bad, so that the good object can be internalized and the bad object split off and projected on to someone else, performs a defensive function and is the mechanism by which positioning is explained in psychoanalytic theory (Hollway & Jefferson, 2000). Unconscious intersubjective dynamics, including transference and countertransference, affect the research relationship. As such, positioning in psychoanalysis is achieved through processes such as projective identification. In this way, the two approaches I am using, that is, discursive psychology and a psychoanalytically informed analysis of the defended subject, are complementary, because both allow for disavowed experiences to be placed in objects. Through developing a reflexive approach, I looked at how I positioned myself as a researcher and tried to become aware of my own countertransference and experience of projective identification to help me develop a psycho-social understanding of the partnership (Boydell, 2005). I tried to understand what it is about the partnership that makes people take up certain positions and what this says about their “partnership-in-the-mind”. Analysis of free associate narrative interviewing as used by Hollway and Jefferson involves looking for evidence of defensive organization to give clues to underlying anxieties which might help explain motivation, positioning, and actions. Hollway and Jefferson are critical of what they refer to as a “tell it like it is” approach to research interviews committed to representing interviewees’ voices (2000, p. 58). Through their use of the theory of the defended subject, they explore the motivation for investment in particular discourses as a means to defend against feelings of anxiety. They emphasize the importance of using one’s own subjectivity to assist in analysis as part of a reflexive approach.

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Analysis of interpretive repertoires Having described my methodology, I will now illustrate the approach using two examples of the interpretive repertoires identified from this case study based on the use of metaphor. These have been developed through analysis of interviews with ten partners of the Health Action Zone described earlier.

“On the ground” This term was used with reference to what happens locally and appears to be closely associated with talk about “community”. It was used over fifty times by eight partners. Terms such as “delivery on the ground”, “down on to the ground”, “down on the ground”, “people on the ground”, “what happens on the ground”, “community at ground level”, “message from ground up”, “reality on the ground”, and “issues on the ground”, are all used. A manager, describing the pressures on the partnership to develop their first action plan, talked of the imperative to be seen to be delivering something tangible for local people. “We have to show delivery on the ground.” Similarly, another partner expressed his frustration about whether they were “making a difference on the ground”. A partner from a statutory sector organization highlighted the perceived distance between decision-making and the ground where communities are, and referred to their “attempt to get sort of further out down on to the ground . . . to make the downon-the-ground connection”. A partner who was a civil servant expressed his concern about the distance between the ground and the partnership, referring to this as one of the fundamental measures of partnership working: “The Health Action Zone will not be able to address inequalities in health, inequalities in unemployment, or anything else, unless it gets the message from the ground up.” The need to deliver something “on the ground” is a form of words commonly used. However, more explicit references to the need to connect to people on the ground, to get the messages up from the ground, and, particularly, to reach down to communities on the ground, emphasizes the distance between the community

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and those working in statutory bodies. I interpret this as representing a great perceptual distance between the community and the statutory sector and the view of community as something other than “ourselves”. It highlights a perception of statutory bodies and professionals as not grounded, not on the ground or of the people. Inevitably, this means that they are always in the position of doing something to and for others, despite the aspirations of engaging the community fully in the process. For me, it mirrors the idea of getting down on the ground to be at the same level as a child, and is perhaps even a place where one might get dirty. There is a short step from there to tacitly assuming that “the community” is at an inferior level and is infantilized. As one aspect of a repertoire of community, there was very frequent reference to community by partners. The terms “community” and “communities” were used over 400 times, and were used in many ways. The term “community” was juxtaposed to a range of other terms: community sector; community networks or forums; community participation or involvement; community representation; community organizations or groups; community ownership; community level; community based; community perspective, opinion, or point of view; community infrastructure or capacity; community partners and partnerships; communities of interest; community workers; community people or folk; community voice; and community action. It is as if, by adjoining various relational and doing words to the word community, the partners can gain greater legitimacy. One of the things which is striking is the disconnected way that some partners referred to the community. The following quote from a statutory sector partner conveys an idea of working with communities as being very difficult: “I think we are . . . not wonderful on really connecting with the community, really, really connecting . . . and that’s a difficult thing to do anyway, it’s difficult to get past the spokespeople for the community and it’s difficult just generally.”

The following quote from another partner conveys the exhausting nature of working with communities: “I mean, the whole community gets [to be a] very exhausting thing for people to do.”

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“Community” is a complex area in which a plethora of terms are used. The topic is emotionally charged and politically challenging. It seems that a sharp distinction is drawn between those who understand about communities and community development, and those that are dismissed by those who do understand for not understanding. Nobody wants to be perceived as not understanding the concept. It is important to demonstrate, by use of language, that one embraces a community development approach. However, in the case of some partners, the language used is abstract and disconnected from experience and the “community” is talked about in a depersonalized way. There does seem to be a strong tendency to talk about the community as a homogenous group, which is inconsistent with the expressed goal of encouraging diversity and inclusion. Community is seen as “other”. Although several of the partners come from the communities in which they work and some of the statutory sector partners have grown up in local communities, there was a strong tendency to talk about the community as an “other” group to which none of the partners belongs. In summary, what is portrayed here is a community repertoire that sees community as “other”, as a homogenous and disembodied group with whom they must engage, reach down to, and give voice to. That this group can be difficult is recognized, but it is also idealized. Their involvement is seen as key to the success of the partnership.

Partnership as what happens “round the table” In talking about the partnership, interviewees very frequently referred to the partnership “table” and what happens there. It was used in virtually every interview, although with varying frequency, up to sixteen times in one particular interview. Reference to the partnership table seems to be pervasive in talk about partnerships. The implication is that when partners think of the partnership, they think of what happens at meetings which take place around a table. The most frequent reference is to “round” or “around” the table, having been used approximately forty times in seventeen interviews.

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There were many references to people or partners coming round the table to discuss issues: “The possibility and potential of the range of people who would come round the table to talk and share about those issues.” “I think the difference is that on a . . . six-weekly basis, because we are all sitting round the one table, what the Health Action Zone does is give a new context for those connections.” “But the real value, I think, of it has been very much in the discussions that take place, the analysis of the causes of health inequalities, the analysis of what needs to be done, in terms of how the partners around the table need to change how they do their business.” “The Health Action Zone has . . . tried to make sure that it’s taking every opportunity to use the fact that people are around the table, to bring people together, and there has been a lot of debate about it being a kind of marketplace for these transactions going on.”

Although the above four quotes are similar, they signify several different qualities in relation to partnerships and partnership meetings. This first quote evokes an image of a place where people from diverse perspectives meet with a common interest in place, the table providing a place for conversation, of possibility and potential. The second quote refers to the “one” table, and conveys the idea of equality. The third refers to action, and how partners around the table might change what they do. The last refers to the opportunity provided by having people around the table to engage in transactions. Interviewees also referred to agencies or organizations sitting around the table, rather than individuals: “There were no other resources other than the agencies sitting around the table.” This is a strangely depersonalized view of the partnership, in that, rather than people representing their organizations, it is the agencies themselves that sit there. Of course, thinking of an organization-in-the-mind, each person comes as a person in role representing their organization, and, therefore, can be expected to reflect the psycho-social field of their organization. So, in one sense, the organizations are all around the table, creating a new and complex psycho-social field for the partnership.

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Reference was also made to bringing “voices” to the table. Frequent references were also made to bringing “community voices” to the table. While this was raised to emphasize the importance of having different perspectives at the table and all the necessary knowledge and expertise, it suggests a disembodied voice, that partners come to the table to communicate a “voice” for an absent group, rather than as individuals. Issues can be brought to the table or put on the table: “Suicide is a very big issue for us here . . . so, you know, those kinds of issues we would like to see brought to the table.” “We weren’t really sure why we were there . . . there’s nothing really on the table here for us to deal with.” “I’m sure if we all took our fifty most difficult cases and we set them all on the table . . .”

This conjures up the image of the table being not just a bare table around which people sit and talk, but one that has things on it, which may or may not be of interest to individuals around the table. It does convey an instrumental attitude, in which people go to the table to put things on it, or to find things on it that are of relevance, or, failing that, question whether they should be at the table. The last quote, suggesting that they put fifty cases on the table creates an image of fifty sets of case notes, or even that the clients themselves are placed on the table. Metaphorically, the table is laden, with expectations, values, topics, and ideas. People come to the table to share not food, but ideas, values, priorities, and strategy. Two partners, when asked a question about the partnership, were evidently viewing a mental image of the partners sitting around the table in considering their answers: “I am kind of, you know, I am just thinking around the table.” “Just sort of mentally, sort of looking around the table, as it were.”

This highlights the fact that the main forum for connection is at partnership meetings, and for several partners, this may well be their main mode of engagement with the partnership. One partner very eloquently expressed what I think several partners would have said if specifically asked about whether they

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saw the partnership as what happens at the table. This was in response to a question I had asked using the term “around the table”. However, he had already used the term several times: “But, you know, this is so much more than, when you say around the table, I think immediately of a Health Action Zone Council meeting, you know, which is a set piece thing every six weeks or something, where there’s an agenda. It’s what happens in between that’s important.”

This could be viewed as a defensive statement, since, having spoken frequently in the interview about the partnership as the partnership table, he quickly contradicted the idea that this is all there is to the partnership when I used the term. The use of the term “table” in talking about partnerships is so commonplace that it was used with little awareness. I was not aware that I was using the term myself until I started analysing interview transcripts. Things can be put on the table but, presumably, it is not acceptable to do things under the table (although perhaps it is permissible away from the table). Having a place at the table also implies that some people do not have a place at the table, and can therefore be excluded. If you have nothing to put on the table, can you be a full partner? If there is nothing on the table for you, is there any reason for you to be there?

Anxiety and psycho-social defences In the preceding section, I have provided just two examples of the interpretative repertoires indentified from this partnership. In what follows, I provide a brief overview of what is anxiety provoking about the partnership, and in what way individuals appear to defend themselves against their anxiety. While the anxiety experienced by any individual will be determined in part by their own biography, I have interviewed them in their role as partners and am interested in what it is about that situation that causes anxiety and requires defence. Using Armstrong’s conception of organization-inthe-mind, I am looking for how individuals in role express something about the collective psycho-social field in which they all

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participate: the partnership. In brief, the anxieties and psycho-social defences identified are summarized as follows. Anxiety. There are several indications of what causes anxiety for those working in the partnership. One of the most marked of these is the concern about whether they are making any difference to people living in North and West Belfast, in other words, fears about effectiveness and failure, which can be viewed as depressive anxiety in Kleinian terms. Impact of the conflict in North and West Belfast. Several interviewees talked with strong emotion about the way in which Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” have affected people living in this area, as well as expressing indignation about inequalities and the deprivation experienced by local people. This pain and suffering appears to be reflected by the partnership. Ambivalence towards community. The community was mostly treated as a depersonalized, homogenous entity, and I suggest that there is strong idealization on the one hand and enormous fear of community on the other. Splitting and projection. There is some evidence of splitting and projection. One partner has been seen as unsupportive of the partnership based on several decisions made by his organization regarding funding for some initiatives. There is considerable anger towards this partner, and I consider what is being projected into him. In addition, there were many criticisms of government departments, particularly the department responsible for health, for their silo mentality and their lack of appreciation of, and responsiveness to, the work of the partnership. I consider what might be being projected into the Department. Positioning. I am aware that, in undertaking these interviews, I positioned myself as researcher and interviewees as researched. This gave me legitimacy to ask questions that I would not normally have the opportunity to ask people in senior positions and which they were expected to answer, even though these are questions they are not normally asked. While this created an unusual and potentially anxiety-provoking situation for both parties, I was struck by the extent to which interviewees positioned themselves, for example, in terms of their roles within their own organizations, their past experiences, or how they wanted to be seen.

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Identification. Several partners drew on their own backgrounds, either having grown up in the area and/or coming from workingclass backgrounds. I understand this as an attempt to express some identification with the people of the area. Projective identification. I am aware of the pressure I have felt to produce something of value for the partnership out of this research and to identify with the struggle of the partners. It is hard to describe in words what this felt like, but it was brought home to me just what it feels like to work with this partnership when I reengaged with the partnership in 2006 to undertake some further work at their request. Optimism as a defence. Several partners expressed incredible optimism and hopefulness about the ability of the partnership to achieve change. There is something magical about this. I interpret this as evidence of basic assumption pairing.

The partnership-in-the-mind Based on the interpretive repertoires identified, I developed my analysis of what these said about the partnership-in-the-mind, focusing particularly on the apparent assumptions about the purpose of the partnership, its ways of working, and what is rarely openly challenged or questioned in partnership discussions. I would suggest that these are “unthought” assumptions rather than unconscious ones. It is possible that they are a reaction to the primary process of the partnership, which I propose is related to dealing with the “awfulness” of working in North and West Belfast. A brief summary of the implications for a partnership-in-the-mind based on the two interpretative repertoires described above follows. ●





The purpose of the partnership is to work for the benefit of the community. What matters most is having an impact “on the ground’ The partnership should engage “the community” and should not address issues affecting communities without involving them. Communities give the partnership legitimacy. The community is “on the ground”. The partners are not.

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The community should respond to that by accepting the help offered and by helping themselves. Communities should be grateful, or, at least, not ungrateful. The community is powerless and partners want to empower the community, but also fear the power of community representatives to harm them. The community should be offered the opportunity to speak and be heard. Partners embrace the idea of diversity, but expect the community to speak with one voice. Partners know that communities should be able to call them to account, but do not like it when they do, if it seems like an attack on the good intentions of the partnership. Engaging the community is hard work. Not just anyone can represent the community; that person must be legitimized and accepted by the community. The history of conflict in North and West Belfast gives communities a particular legitimacy in terms of their victim status and their neediness. It is important to acknowledge the awfulness of it. Meetings are central to partnership. They follow familiar conventions and take place around a table.

This sample of the partnership-in-the-mind is an exploration of what appears to be taken for granted and is unchallengeable. Alternative ways of thinking are not given much consideration, and thinking that is unaligned must be repressed, if not totally, at least it cannot be freely expressed. The implication is, for example, that certain things are given, such as the desirability of community engagement. It would not be considered necessary to discuss why these are desirable, and, if anyone were to try, they would probably be considered to be defending traditional ways of working. They are accepted as relatively unproblematic and unambiguous concepts. This partnership-in-the-mind represents a form of primary process thinking, with its inherent inconsistencies and paradoxes. This example of the partnership-in-the-mind focuses on individual models or constructs as reflected in the interpretive repertoires identified from interviews. These models, although they have been identified largely based on individual interviews, appear to be

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shared, and, as such, can be viewed as a secondary formation, a response to a “shared organizational dynamic”, a form of group thinking (Armstrong, 2005, p. 5). This provides a useful link between the two theoretical approaches behind the method used, that is, a discursive and a psychodynamic perspective. The concept of organization-in-the-mind, or “shared organizational dynamic”, however, also encompasses emotional experience as reflected in mechanisms such as projection or projective identification, for example, and the analysis of the defended subject digs deeper beneath the surface to explore group dynamics.

Discussion and conclusions I have used organization-in-the-mind as a unifying concept. In summary, the partnership-in-the-mind encompasses a range of models, or constructs and emotions. I have described it based on the assumptions implied by the interpretive repertoires and have explored the role of anxiety, its sources, and the defensive functions that the partnership may be performing on behalf of organizations. The main question raised by the method used for data analysis in this analysis is the feasibility of combining a linguistic approach based on discursive psychology with an affective one based on psychodynamic theory. The choice of using discourse analysis in addition to a psychodynamic approach emerged during the research. This was stimulated by my growing interest in metaphor, which developed as data collection proceeded. As I progressed in the development of this combined methodology, however, it became apparent that I would be faced with a clash of paradigms: that discourse analysis is based on the idea that the focus is on language and that language is all that there is, while a psychodynamic framework is concerned with probing the unconscious. However, discourse analysis is a broad church, and there can be confusion between the term “discourse” as used in discursive psychology and as used by Foucault. For the latter, his interest was more in “how discourse constitutes objects and subjects than in the details of language use in social interaction” (Alvesson & Skoldberg, 2000, p. 224). While I am interested in how people position themselves and others, he was more concerned

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with “disciplinary power”, which circulates through discourse rather than being exercised by any individual; in other words, how people are positioned by discourse (Foucault, 1986). In discursive psychology, there is a greater acceptance of agency, although it is also recognized that people may be positioned by others either consciously or unconsciously, which implies a recognition of the unconscious, even if this is not explicitly stated. Frosh and Emerson (2005) have written about the combination of analytic methodologies based on discourse analysis and psychoanalysis. Their starting point is that psychoanalytic ideas about emotional investment and fantasy can offer a “thickening” or enrichment of interpretive understanding brought to bear on personal narratives, especially those arising out of interview situations. [p. 308]

They make reference to the way in which Hollway and Jefferson (2000) build on discursive psychology, using psychoanalytic notions such as the unconscious and defence. As they argue, psychoanalytic interpretive strategies may be able to throw light on the psychological processes, or perhaps the conscious and unconscious “reasons” behind a specific individual’s investment in any rhetorical or discursive position. [Frosh & Emerson, 2005, p. 308)]

While warning of the over-interpretation of texts, they conclude that the different approaches offer scope for collaboration. Hollway’s (2001) use of discursive psychology has been specifically developed out of an interest in extending methods used in social psychology into the study of discourse. It is set within hermeneutics, rather than postmodernism, allowing for consideration of defended subjects and the unconscious. The approach I have taken to using a linguistic approach has been to consider the interpretive repertoires or choice of linguistic terms used and what these tell us about the partnership-in-the-mind. I have used a psychoanalytically informed approach to look for evidence of defences. I consider both consistent with hermeneutics. I believe the real question is whether these two approaches have been complementary, whether they have provided something that neither could on its own. As Frosh and Emerson (2005, p. 323) conclude in their

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research, “all texts can be read in multiple ways warranted by ‘plausible interpretations’” and each approach may be warranted on its own. What has been the advantage of using the two together? One way in which I have made the link between the two analytic methods has been to use interpretive repertoires to explore the emergence of a partnership-in-the-mind, which has involved foregrounding some assumptions and ignoring ideas that are not consistent with this. This exploration of interpretive repertoires has highlighted some of the contradictions and paradoxes inherent in the interviewees’ perspectives on the partnership. I have then built further on this analysis, exploring sources of anxiety for partners and the defences developed to deal with them. I believe that this has added depth and understanding to the overall analysis.

References Alvesson, M., & Skoldberg, K. (2000). Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research. London: Sage. Armstrong, D. (2005). Organization in the Mind: Psychoanalysis, Group Relations, and Organizational Consultancy. London: Karnac. Barnes, M., & Sullivan, H. (2002). Building capacity for collaboration in English health action zones. In: C. Glendinning, M. Powell, & K. Rummery (Eds.), Partnerships, New Labour and the Governance of Welfare (pp. 81–96). Bristol: Policy Press. Billig, M. (2001). Discursive, rhetorical and ideological messages. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 210–221). London: Sage. Boydell, L. (2005). The defensive function of partnerships. Organisational and Social Dynamics, 5(2): 225–241. Boydell, L. R., & Rugkäsa, J. (2007). Benefits of working in partnership: a model. Critical Public Health, 17(3): 203–214. Davies, B., & Harré, R. (2001). Positioning: the discursive production of selves. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 261–271). London: Sage. DoH (1997). “Health Action Zones” envisaged as co-operative NHS partnerships. DoH Press Release 97/145, London: Department of Health. Edley, N. (2001). Analysing masculinity: interpretative repertoires, ideological dilemmas and subject positions. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse as Data: a Guide for Analysis (pp. 189–228). London: Sage.

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Foucault, M. (1986). Disciplinary power and subjection. In: S. Lukes (Ed.), Power (pp. 229–242). New York: New York University Press. Frosh, S., & Emerson, P. D. (2005). Interpretation and over-interpretation: disputing the meaning of texts. Qualitative Research, 5(3): 307–324. Grant, D., & Oswick, C. (1996). Introduction: getting the measure of metaphors. In: D. Grant & C. Oswick (Eds.), Metaphor and Organisations (pp. 1–20). London: Sage. Hollway, W. (2001). Gender difference and the production of subjectivity. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 272–283). London: Sage. Hollway, W., & Jefferson, T. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research Differently: Free Association, Narrative and the Interview Method. London: Sage. Kvale, S. (1996). Interviews: an Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: Sage. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mangham, I. (1996). Some consequences of taking Gareth Morgan seriously. In: D. Grant & C. Oswick (Eds.), Metaphor and Organisation (pp. 21–36). London: Sage. Morgan, G. (1997). Images of Organization. Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage. Newman, J. (2001). Modernising Governance: New Labour, Policy and Society. London: Sage. Phillips, L., & Jørgensen, M. W. (2002). Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. London: Sage. Potter, J. (2001). Wittgenstein and Austin. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 39–46). London: Sage. Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London: Sage. Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. (2001). Unfolding discourse analysis. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 198–209). London: Sage. Potter, J., Wetherell, M., Gill, R., & Edwards, D. (1990). Discourse: noun, verb or social practice? Philosophical Psychology, 3(2): 205–217. Wengraf, T. (2001). Qualitative Research Interviewing. London: Sage. Wetherell, M. (1998). Positioning and interpretative repertoires: conversation analysis and post-structuralism in dialogue. Discourse and Society, 9(3): 387–412.

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Wetherell, M. (2001). Editor’s introduction. In: M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. J. Yates (Eds.), Discourse Theory and Practice: A Reader (pp. 9–13). London: Sage.

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affect, 1, 3–4, 8, 10–13, 19, 75, 79, 81–82, 84–87, 90, 93, 95–97 attunement, 149 bonds, 223 Alford, C. F., 123, 142 Alighieri, D., 65, 76 Alvesson, M., 32, 46–47, 262, 264 ambivalence, 114, 146, 206, 259 Andersen, H. C., 171, 190 Andrews, K., 231, 236 anxiety, 7, 11, 41–42, 45, 47, 58, 104, 107, 116, 123, 142, 147, 150, 158, 160, 162, 170, 175–177, 188–190, 223–224, 228, 242, 244, 258–259, 262, 264 childhood, 163 depressive, 259 separation, 227 Ardener, E., 155–156, 163 Armstrong, D., 183, 189–191, 202, 241, 245–246, 258, 262, 264 Aronson, J., 182, 192 Atkinson, P., 75, 77

attachment, 61, 73, 86, 109, 114, 132, 207 affective, 10 secure, 207 theory, 207 Back, L., 140, 142 Bain, A., 206, 213 Banks, M., 15, 22, 52, 76 Barden, G., 61, 76 Barglow, R., 234, 236 Barnes, M., 242, 264 Barone, K. C., 211–212 Bateson, G., 29, 39, 47 Baum, H., 231, 236 Bauman, Z., 121, 123–124, 126–127, 138–142 Beck, U., 30, 47, 123, 125, 142 Beecraft, S., 174, 192 Beedell, P., 7, 12–13, 17, 24, 109, 119 behaviour, 4, 18, 140, 194, 198, 204, 224, 234, 245

267

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defensive, 224 human, 3, 81, 96 Benjamin, J., 43, 47, 184, 191, 230, 236 Beradt, C., 15, 22 Berger, P., 31, 47–48, 103, 118 Bergson, H., 15, 51–52, 55, 57–58, 60–76, 79, 84–86, 97 Bick, E., 174, 191 Billig, M., 248, 264 biographic(al), 2, 7–8, 10–11, 18, 41, 62, 104–107, 182, 193, 195, 258 auto-, 16–17, 193, 198, 203–204, 208–210, 218–219, 221, 224–226, 251 narrative–interpretive method (BNIM), 11, 244 see also: biographical, narrative Bion Talamo, P., 68, 76 Bion, W. R., 12, 15–16, 23, 39–40, 47–48, 51–52, 54, 57–58, 62–65, 67–69, 71, 76, 89, 147–148, 150, 156, 163, 179, 191, 205, 235–236 Bion’s “K”, 63–64, 235 “O”, 54, 58, 63–65 Birch, M., 183, 191 Blenkiron, P., 170, 191 Blissett, S., 228, 238 Bollas, C., 13, 16, 23, 170, 183, 191, 222, 225, 229, 236 Bolton, W., 179, 191 Bornat, J., 7, 10, 23, 166 Bourdieu, P., 107, 111, 113, 118, 125–131, 142 Boydell, L. R., 15, 242, 252, 264 Brannick, T., 231, 236 Britton, R., 156, 163, 180–181, 191, 210, 213 Broussine, M., 15, 23, 223, 236 Brown, J., 147, 149, 163 Bruner, J., 216, 226, 236 Buber, M., 36, 48 Buckner, S., 151, 155, 163 Bullough, R., 208, 213 Burgess, R. G., 75–76 Burr, V., 31, 48, 171–172, 191

Carpy, D., 146, 148, 163 case studies Alison, 183–185 Billy, 20 Emily, 112–113 James, 87–91, 93–97 Joanne, 158–163 Lowry, 114, 116 Sydney, 175–177 Casement, P., 150, 164, 172, 191 Chamberlayne, P., 7–8, 10–11, 23, 25 Chandler, D., 203, 213 Chaplin, E., 52, 76 Cicourel, A., 217, 236 Clarke, S., 2, 7, 9, 11, 20, 23, 30, 47–48, 75–76, 82–83, 97, 138, 142 145, 147–151, 155–156, 164 Clewell, T., 211, 213 Coffey, A., 75–76, 225, 233, 236 Coghlan, D., 231, 236 conscious(ness), 3, 5–8, 12, 21, 31, 58, 60, 64–69, 74, 83, 87, 90, 95, 103, 107, 111, 113, 115, 117, 122, 126, 129, 132, 152, 154, 178–179, 182, 186, 198, 220–221, 226–227, 229, 231, 233–235, 243, 246, 252, 263 see also: unconscious(ness) containment, 12, 89–90, 116, 151, 157, 178–179, 224 Cook, A. S., 103, 118–119 Cooper, C. L., 223, 239 Cornwall, A., 35, 48 countertransference, 2, 4–5, 8–9, 13, 17–18, 21–22, 43, 80, 117, 146–151, 156–158, 162–163, 177, 183, 188–189, 224, 244, 252 see also: transference Craib, I., 141–142 Crociani-Windland, L., 2–3, 14, 53, 63, 73, 77 Czarniawska, B., 223, 233, 236 Dare, C., 146, 150, 157, 165 Dartington, T., 16, 23

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data analysis, 2, 11, 17–21, 41–42, 83, 151, 262 collection, 82–83, 91, 183, 188, 262 empirical, 74 personal, 212 research, 4, 6, 145, 149, 154–155, 183, 228, 233 science, 4 social, 19, 82 Davies, B., 251, 264 Davies, J., 226, 236 Davis, E., 95, 97 Decartes, R., 40, 79–82 Deetz, S., 46, 48 Delahaye, B., 231, 236 Delanda, M., 72, 77 Deleuze, G., 15, 51, 55, 57, 60–65, 67, 69–73, 75, 77, 79, 81–82, 84–87, 89, 97 Denzin, N., 75, 77 Department of Health (DoH), 242, 264 depressive position, 123, 179, 243, 259 Dewey, J., 37, 48 dilemma(s), 2, 19, 101, 106–108, 209, 234 project, 101, 107, 109, 112 discourse, 1, 7–8, 13, 15, 19, 30–31, 33–35, 41–42, 117, 122, 126, 133, 204, 215, 217, 235, 241, 243–244, 247–250, 262–263 discursive, 2, 8, 12, 15, 34, 36, 247, 251, 262–263 psychology, 126, 241, 246–252, 262–263 Dixon, J., 223, 236, 246 dream(s), 14–16, 44, 68, 74, 83, 89–91, 93, 95–96, 170, 185–190, 228–229 Driscoll, M., 228, 238 Drury, V., 217–218, 225, 238 Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), 13, 17, 101, 104, 110, 125–126, 134

269

Edley, N., 247, 250, 264 Edwards, D., 247, 250, 265 ego, 67, 142, 227, 232, 234 Elkjaer, B., 235–236 Ellman, S. J., 146, 164 Emerson, P. D., 263, 265 emotion(al) 1, 6, 8, 12, 22, 39, 42, 45–46, 79–81, 95–96, 102–105, 112, 116–117, 123, 142, 146–150, 152, 154–155, 157–158, 161–163, 176, 179, 217, 225, 230, 232–233, 248, 262–263 engagement, 102–105, 107, 112 empathy, 4, 90, 107, 112, 129, 147, 149, 151–152, 154, 156–158, 179, 182, 187, 217, 229, 231, 233–235 epistemology, 22, 29–30, 32–33, 35–39, 40–41, 43, 45, 52, 61, 74, 85, 216–218 Epston, D., 232, 239 Erickson, R. J., 103, 118 ethic(s), 2, 20–22, 29, 32, 35–36, 38–39, 42–43, 81, 101, 108, 127, 131, 182 ethnography, 2–6, 14–15, 29, 44–46, 52, 75, 173, 178, 186, 190 European Psychoanalytic Association, 202 Fabian, J., 178, 191 Faimberg, H., 67, 77 fear, 7, 11–12, 20, 121–125, 131, 134–135, 137–142, 162, 176, 185, 223, 227, 259, 261 Feldman, M., 157, 164, 210, 213 Fineman, S., 219, 222, 226, 232, 237, 239 Finlay, L., 101, 103, 118, 170, 191 Flybjerg, B., 209, 213 Fonagy, P., 204, 207, 213 Foucault, M., 35, 48, 80, 84–86, 97, 122, 127, 129, 142, 223, 247, 262–263, 265 free association, 2, 9–10, 15–16, 18, 41, 60, 63, 83, 93, 113, 229, 233, 243–244

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narrative interview (FANI), 8–9, 11, 18, 145, 170–173, 177–178, 180, 241–244, 252 French, R., 16, 23, 63–64, 77, 232, 235, 237 Freud, S., 16, 80, 123, 146, 149, 156, 164, 185, 210–211, 243 Friere, P., 37, 48 Froggett, L., 147, 151, 164 Frosh, S., 2, 7, 23, 155, 164, 263, 265 Frost, P., 221, 237 Gabriel, Y., 219, 222, 232, 237, 239 Gadamer, H. G., 36, 48 Gardner, D., 121–122, 142 Garfinkel, H., 217, 237 Garner, S., 9, 23 Gaventa, J., 35, 48 Gay, P., 146, 164 Geertz, C., 44–45, 48, 190 Giddens, A., 30–31, 47–48 Gill, R., 250, 265 Gilmour, R., 12, 126, 143 Glaser, B. G., 75, 77 Goffman, E., 11, 24, 225, 227, 237 Goleman, D., 95, 97 Gough, B., 101, 103, 118, 170, 191 Gould, L. J., 206, 213 Grant, D., 222, 237, 244–245, 265 Greenwood, D. J., 216, 237 Grinberg, L., 150, 164 Guattari, F., 73, 77, 82, 97 Gutwill, S., 17, 24 Habermas, J., 36, 38–39, 48, 209 Hahn, H., 2, 23 Hamilton, N. G., 150, 155, 157, 164 Hamlet Trust, 197 Hammersley, M., 3, 24, 75, 77 Harper, D., 15, 24 Harré, R., 247, 251, 264 Harrison, B., 15, 24 Health Action Zones, 241–242, 253, 256, 258 Heimann, P., 146, 155, 164 Henwood, K., 219, 237

hermeneutic(s), 5–6, 14, 29, 31–34, 36, 39, 42, 44–47, 216, 263 Heron, J., 217, 231, 233, 237–238 Hinshelwood, R. D., 7, 14, 24, 149, 164, 174, 191 Hochschild, A. R., 12, 24, 103, 119, 227, 237 Hoggett, P., 2, 7, 16, 18–19, 23–25, 109, 119, 138, 142, 172, 181, 191, 218, 227–228, 237 Holder, A., 146, 150, 157, 165 Hollander, N., 17, 24 Hollway, W., 2, 7–10, 12, 14, 18–20, 24, 41–43, 48, 75, 77, 83, 91, 104–107, 113–114, 116, 119, 123, 126, 129, 131, 133–134, 142–143, 145, 147–151, 156, 160, 164–165, 170, 172, 177, 179, 191, 229, 233, 237, 241–244, 248, 252, 263, 265 Hunt, J. C., 3–4, 14, 24, 173, 191 Husserl, E., 61, 66, 73, 77 identification(s), 7–10, 12–13, 16, 21, 47, 83, 103, 110, 117, 129, 131–132, 147–150, 153, 156–157, 162–163, 172, 174, 178–179, 187, 252, 260, 262 identity, 1, 9–11, 14, 39, 41–42, 47, 65–66, 70–72, 87, 90, 92–94, 101, 116, 122, 125, 135, 137–138, 141, 220, 225, 227, 232, 235, 248 imagery 14–15, 84, 87, 90, 93, 97, 241, 247 visual, 79, 87, 233 Innes, B., 6, 24 Inns, D., 223, 237 integration, 6, 17, 36, 215, 234, 247, 250 interactive interview, 218–220, 222, 224, 229–234 interpretation, 3, 5–6, 18, 30–32, 34, 36, 41–42, 44–47, 73, 83, 86, 111, 134, 155, 170–172, 177–181, 216, 229, 235, 249, 251 intervention, 83, 87–88, 176, 243 intuition, 52, 60–63, 65, 69, 86

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James, N., 104, 119 Janesick, V. J., 75, 77 Jefferson, T., 7–10, 12, 18–19, 24, 41–43, 48, 75, 77, 83, 91, 104–107, 113–114, 116, 119, 126, 133, 143, 145, 147–151, 160, 165, 170, 172, 177, 179, 191, 229, 233, 237, 241–244, 248, 252, 263, 265 Jimenez, L., 7, 24, 109, 119 Joffe, H., 6, 24 Johnson, M., 244, 265 Jones, P., 223, 237 Jørgensen, M. W., 251, 265 Joseph, B., 148, 150, 162, 165, 178–179, 191 Karpman, S., 206, 208, 213 Keats, J., 16, 24 Kersten, S., 46, 48 Kessler, M. R. K., 103, 119 Kirkwood, C., 216–217, 238 Klein, M., 14, 21, 24, 117, 122–123, 142, 147, 156, 165, 178–179, 235, 243, 259 knowledge, 30, 32–38, 40–42, 45–46, 63–64, 71, 85–86, 111, 127, 129, 170, 179, 182, 186, 205–206, 209, 216 psychoanalytic, 41 relational, 36–37 representational, 36, 72 Korac-Kakabadse, N., 223, 236 Kouzmin, A., 223, 236 Kuhn, T., 33, 48 Kundera, M., 185, 187, 191 Kvale, S., 33–34, 37–38, 48, 243, 265 Lacan, J., 96, 225, 238 Lakoff, G., 244, 265 Lansky, M., 211, 213 Laplanche, J., 146, 165 Lasch, C., 227, 238 Lash, S., 30, 47 Lawrence, W. G., 15, 24, 89, 187, 192, 206, 213 Layton, L., 17, 24

271

Levin, M., 216, 237 life 5, 10, 18, 35, 58–59, 62, 69, 109, 124, 130, 140, 207, 216, 220, 225–226, 229, 234 Louis, M., 221, 237 Lounsbery, A., 204, 213 Lucey, H., 7, 13, 24–25, 123, 126, 143, 150, 165 Luckmann, T., 31, 47–48 Lundberg, C., 221, 237 Mackenzie, A., 174, 192 Main, T., 187–188, 192 Mangham, I., 245, 265 Manias, E., 15, 25 Manley, J., 15, 96–97 Manyoni, J., 5–6, 25 Martin, J., 221, 237 Mason, J., 218, 238 Mayo, M., 7, 18–19, 24–25, 109, 119 McKenna, R., 228, 238 Melody, J., 7, 13, 24–25, 150, 165 memory, 16, 61, 63–64, 67–68, 70, 75, 79, 85–86, 93, 248 Menzies Lyth, I., 14, 25, 169–170, 172–173, 181, 183, 192, 231, 234, 238 metaphor, 15, 52, 58, 64, 96, 219, 221–223, 225, 229, 233, 241, 244–247, 250–251 methodology, 2, 5, 8, 14–18, 22, 29, 31, 33, 38, 40, 42, 51, 61, 74, 79, 82, 101, 104, 125, 170, 186, 190, 233, 241, 262–263 Miller, C., 7, 18–19, 24–25, 109, 119 Miller, L., 13, 25 Miller, T., 15, 25, 183, 191, 234–235, 238 MIND (National Association for Mental Health), 197 Moby Dick, 82, 84 Money-Kyrle, R. E., 150, 165 Moore, L., 221, 237 Morgan, A., 217–218, 225, 238 Morgan, G., 244–245, 265 Morphy, H., 52, 76

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Morrow, R., 46, 48 mother, 1, 73, 107, 114, 139, 147, 159, 174, 184, 195 see also: parent(s) motivation, 5–6, 10, 84, 97, 109, 111, 223, 243, 252 Moylan, D., 231,238 narcissism, 178, 184, 187, 211, 235 narrative 10–11, 41, 53, 83, 104, 107, 129, 134, 153, 171, 220–222, 226, 232–233, 243–244 see also: biographic narrative– interpretive method (BNIM) interview, 8–9, 11, 145, 170, 241, 243, 252 method, 7, 9, 11, 145, 241–243 Nash, D., 56, 78 Newman, J., 242, 265 Nicholls, L. E., 12, 14–15, 173, 179, 192 Oakley, A., 147, 165 object, 30, 35, 39, 51, 70–72, 147, 156, 162, 177, 183–184, 211, 243, 252, 262 bad, 252 good, 252 relations, 16, 22, 157 objective/objectivity, 3, 10–11, 30, 33–34, 59, 70–71, 84, 96, 110, 216 separation, 3 observation, 2–3, 7, 13, 30, 60, 68, 72, 170–171, 173, 174, 190, 216, 219 infant, 2, 13–14 Ogden, T. H., 149, 165, 172, 179, 192 O’Shaughnessy, E., 210, 213 Oswick, C., 222, 237, 244–245, 265 Other, 22, 136, 138, 205–207, 210 paranoia, 129, 197, 223 paranoid-schizoid position, 123, 178, 243 parent(s), 104, 110, 138, 156–157 see also: mother

biological/birth, 89 -child relationship, 184 Park, P., 35–37, 48 participant, 3, 18–19, 34–35, 38, 42–43, 45, 109, 129, 131, 169–170, 173–174, 181–183, 231, 251 Pattman, R., 7, 23 perceptions, 6, 30–32, 34, 37, 40–41, 44–45, 51, 60–61, 63, 65, 74, 82, 84–86, 95, 114, 132, 140, 152, 172, 221, 231, 234, 248, 254 Petrov, R., 7, 17, 201, 213 Phillips, A., 222, 238 Phillips, L., 251, 265 Phoenix, A., 7, 23, 123, 126, 143 Pick, I. B., 150, 165 Pidgeon, N., 219, 237 Pillow, W., 170, 186–187, 190, 192 Pink, S., 52, 78 Pinnegar, S., 208, 213 Plack, M., 228, 238 Plack, T., 228, 238 Pontalis, J. B., 146, 165 Popper, K., 169, 192 postmodern, 33, 37, 45, 70, 263 Potter, J., 247–248, 249–251, 265 Powers, R., 208, 213 projection, 6, 20, 79, 91, 156, 158, 172, 178–179, 224, 246, 259, 262 projective identification, 8–9, 13, 21, 47, 83, 129, 132, 147–150, 157, 163, 172, 174, 178–179, 252, 262 psycho-social, 1–2, 7–8, 13–14, 18–19, 22, 29, 41–42, 46, 80, 82, 109, 116, 118, 203, 235, 241, 246, 252, 256, 258–259 approach, 2, 8, 15, 18, 29, 42–43, 83, 101, 116, 126 method, 8, 17, 101, 104, 133 research, 2, 7, 13, 16–21, 29, 32, 40, 42, 47, 52, 79, 81, 83–84, 86, 91, 95–96, 101-105, 118, 146, 151, 158, 212, 215, 218, 224–225

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qualitative, 20, 62–69, 72, 74–75, 170, 186 research, 2, 7–8, 32, 79, 105, 182, 186, 218, 225, 223 racist/racism, 4, 6, 47, 112, 128, 130–133, 135, 138, 186 Racker, H., 146, 156–158, 165 reality, 5–6, 30–31, 33–34, 37–38, 40, 43, 46–47, 51–52, 59, 62–66, 72–75, 96, 111, 126, 217, 232, 253 Reason, P., 183, 192, 217, 228, 233, 237–238 reflective, 35, 37, 47, 176, 217, 226, 228 journal, 218–219, 224, 226, 228 reflexive, 21, 29–30, 32, 35, 37, 45–46, 69, 72–74, 105, 110, 117, 145, 170, 186–188, 193, 203, 208–210, 212, 218, 235, 251–252 interviewer, 117 practitioner, 7 researcher, 3, 19, 109, 150 reflexivity, 8, 17, 43, 59, 61, 70, 74, 79, 86, 102, 109, 116–117, 146, 149, 170, 186–187, 190, 193, 203, 208 reification, 31, 47, 111 Riley, R., 15, 25 Roberts, V. Z., 179, 191 Roffe, J., 70, 78 Rorty, R., 33, 44, 48 Rose, N., 234, 238 Rosenblatt, A., 210–211, 213 Rugkäsa, J., 242, 264 Rustin, Margaret, 13, 25 Rustin, Michael, 7, 13, 23, 25 Samuels, A., 230, 238 Sandler, J., 146, 150, 157, 165 Santoni, R. E., 208, 213 Savin-Baden, M., 150, 166 Sayer, A., 30–32, 49 Schutz, A., 217, 238

273

Searles, H. F., 155, 166 Segal, H., 178, 187, 192 Seivers, B., 15, 25, 220, 238 self, 3, 11, 21, 32–32, 39, 44, 66, 69, 107, 111, 114, 116–117, 124, 127, 139–140, 147–148, 171, 175, 184, 186–187, 215–216, 218–219, 221–222, 225, 227, 230, 232, 234–235, 242–243, 247, 249 -analysis, 170, 187–188 aware(ness), 17, 117, 150, 230 -confidence, 124, 202 deceit, 43, 169 fundamental, 67, 69 referential, 44, 65, 187 reflection, 3, 7, 217, 227 Senge, P., 233, 238 Sennett, R., 139–141, 143, 205, 213, 226, 234, 238–239 Sherwood, R., 5, 25 Shuttleworth, J., 13, 25 Simmel, G., 134, 143 Simpson, P., 16, 23, 63–64, 77 Simpson, S., 235, 237 Sims, D., 219, 222, 239 Sinding, C., 182, 192 Skeggs, B., 13, 25, 132–133, 143 Skogstad, W., 7, 14, 24, 148, 151, 166, 174, 192 Skoldberg, K., 32, 46–47, 262, 264 Sloan, T., 234, 239 social defence, 14, 38, 169–170, 175, 182–183, 259 Spinoza, B., 79, 81, 98 Stanley, L., 16, 25 Steiner, J., 178–181, 189, 191–192 Stopford, A., 18, 25 Strauss, A. L., 75, 77 subject(s), 2–7, 10, 12–13, 17–18, 20–22, 32, 35–36, 39, 41–44, 82, 84, 102, 104, 106–107, 109, 117, 126, 135, 172, 177–178, 184, 187, 202, 216, 225, 243, 248, 250, 262

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defended, 8, 12–13, 21, 41–42, 106, 133, 170, 177, 229, 233, 241, 243–244, 248–249, 252, 262–263 position, 13, 248 -to-object, 36 subjectivity, 3, 18–19, 46, 79, 84–86, 91, 96, 108, 116–117, 126, 134, 147, 184, 211–212, 216–217, 220, 222, 224, 247, 251 inter-, 16, 43–44, 46, 79, 84, 91, 118, 170, 179–180, 204, 206, 212, 230, 233, 252 Sullivan, H., 242, 264 Symington, N., 150, 166 Target, M., 204, 213 Tatham, P., 89, 98 Tavistock, 196 Group Relations, 14 Taylor, C., 225, 239 therapeutic, 43, 62, 130, 172–173, 180–182, 199–200, 211, 230–232 Thompson, S., 138, 142 Torbert, B., 203, 213 Torbert, W., 35, 49 transference, 2, 4–5, 9, 12–13, 43, 79, 107, 244, 252 see also: countertransference transform, 10, 35, 37–38, 44, 46, 92–93, 147, 210–211 -ation, 29, 37, 65, 73, 82, 93, 113, 222 -ative, 14, 29, 32, 36–37, 39, 193 truth, 16, 33–34, 39–40, 42–44, 63–64, 72, 80, 86, 90, 129, 150, 160, 163, 170, 211, 229 unconscious(ness) 183, 186–187, 229, 231, 233–234, 243–246, 249, 252, 262–263 see also: conscious(ness)

communication, 182–183 enactment, 178 Urwin, C., 14, 25 validity, 5–6, 19, 30, 32–35, 37, 40, 44, 82, 155, 172 Vrabnitza Project, 199 Vygotsky, L. S., 206, 213 Walkerdine, V., 7, 13, 24–25, 150, 165 Warren, C., 11, 25 Watson, S., 65, 78 Wengraf, M., 7, 23 Wengraf, T., 7–8, 10–11, 23, 25, 147, 150–151, 164, 166, 243, 265 Werner-Wilson, 103, 119 Wetherell, M., 13, 18, 26, 247–251, 265–266 White, M., 232, 239 Whyte, W. F., 59, 61, 64, 78 Winnicott, D. W., 16, 159, 166, 184, 192, 208, 211, 213 Wise, S., 16, 25 World Health Organization, 194 world, 4–5, 14, 30–31, 34, 39, 46–47, 59, 61, 64, 72, 80, 92, 95, 121–124, 130, 177, 206, 208, 217, 222, 226–227, 249 external, 5–6, 82, 177 internal, 5, 41, 102, 105, 159, 177, 184, 186, 233, 246 Worrall, L., 223, 239 Yates, J., 123, 125, 142 Young, R. M., 47, 49, 146, 149, 166, 210, 213 Zˇ izˇ ek, S., 135–136, 143

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