Organising as Practice Research Group Seminar
Where is your I? Reflecting on the relationship between research and the researcher’s personal id
This seminar aims to explore critically the situated and dynamic fusions of identity and researching with the help of leading scholars. In dealing with an elusive and complex process, and an all-too-often silenced component of our intellectual endeavours, our speakers will not only reflect upon their conceptualisations of identity and ways of theorising, but also seek to provide us with glimpses of their own processes of researching and their personal becoming (Watson).
- From: Thursday 24 March 2016, 9.30 am
- To: Thursday 24 March 2016, 3.30 pm
- Location: N45, Newton building, Main Entrance, Nottingham Trent University, City Campus, Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU
Research on 'identity' has grown considerably over recent years (Alvesson et al, 2008; Ybema et al 2009; Coupland and Brown, 2012). Yet, to date, little attention has been paid to the ways in which our own 'identity' shapes our research, giving rise to questions such as: In what ways do our backgrounds influence the research we do (if at all)? And, why is it that we undertake research infused with particular philosophical stances? Or, why do we seek answers to particular kinds of questions or gravitate towards particular fields of study? (Samra-Fredericks, 2010).
Furthermore, in undertaking our research we not only re-shape those fields of studies but ourselves too. Taking seriously C Wright Mills' (1959) proposal that "craftsmanship is the centre of yourself", he also urged us to view ourselves as ongoing socially constructed products. Along similar lines too, Evans-Pritchard (1937/1976) asked his readers to note that "all I want to emphasize is that what one brings out of a field of study largely depends on what one brings to it". In this mould, who we are is potentially critical in fuelling the creative spark and to which Frost and Taylor (1996:419) asserted, "without the insights gained from our personal lives, our professional contribution to understanding and explanation of human behavior in organizations are certain to be less valuable". Similarly, Chia (2010:30) also warned of the dangers of overlooking personal experience in our scholarship and where, "paradoxically, the more we "know" in its formal intellectual sense, the more we are likely to mistake representations for reality and hence to lose the intimacy and richness of lived experiences".
There is also another important reason for revealing the two-way process in terms of the ways our identity work shapes our research and vice versa - it can help those beginning their research journeys too. For example, Samra-Fredericks (2010:536) noted that "as a beginning student, I would have welcomed autobiographical accounts….'unpicking' the knowledge generation process". Echoing this sentiment, Humphreys (2008) reflected that "in retrospect, the 'academic' papers ….would have been much more effective had they been enriched by personal, reflexive accounts of the research process". Yet, in bringing in the 'I' it would be naïve not to acknowledge "the hegemonic pressure of the Academy [which] continues to encourage aspiring career academics to aim for invisibility in their published work… thus propagating the myth that the researcher is but a rigorous mechanical instrument whose humanity must never impinge on the research outcomes" (Humphreys, 2008). Particular – still dominant – research approaches continue to privilege positivist and quantitative orientated methodologies which inherently consider identity influences as irrelevant (Yanow and Schwartz- Shea, 2006). Often, and in light of these normalizing pressures, a vulnerability emerges in our attempts to reveal ourselves in our accounts when we remove our 'academic armour' (Humphreys, 2005).
This seminar aims to explore critically the situated and dynamic fusions of identity and researching with the help of leading scholars. In dealing with an elusive and complex process, and an all-too-often silenced component of our intellectual endeavours, our speakers will not only reflect upon their conceptualisations of identity and ways of theorising, but also seek to provide us with glimpses of their own processes of researching and their 'personal becoming' (Watson). Opportunities for discussion are a central feature too with participants being invited to reflect upon the presence of an 'I' (or not) in their own research efforts alongside the challenges and opportunities of doing so.
There are then two aims for this seminar: To explore the intricate ways that our situated identity work relates to our research, in turn, shaping us and our contexts; And second, to add to our understanding of 'identity' as a conceptual resource.
Who should attend?
The seminar will be of interest to not only those working within the identity field, but also to those interested in the elusive processes and resources for theorising and where one's bundle of knowledges/experiences to-date constitute one such vital resource. Furthermore, and importantly, the seminar will be of interest to the 'beginning scholar' too.
Chia, R. (2010). Shifting paradigms through "letting go". On allowing Oneself to Become a Management Education Scholar. In C. Wankel & R. DeFillippi (eds.), Being and Becoming a Management Education Scholar. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp.11-41.
Coupland, C. and Brown, A.D. (2012). Identities in action: processes and outcomes. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 28, pp.1–4.
Frost, P. J., & Taylor, M. S. (Eds.). (1996). Rhythms of academic life: Personal accounts of careers in academia (Vol. 4). Sage Publications.
Humphreys, M. (2008). Turning yourself inside-out. Paper presented at Academy of Management Meeting, Anaheim, US, 8-13 August.
Humphreys, M (2005) Getting personal: Reflexivity and autoethnographic vignettes. Qualitative Inquiry 11 (6): 840-860.
Samra-Fredericks, D. (2010). Where is the 'I'? One silence in strategy research. Advances in Strategic Management Research, 27: 411-444.
Watson TJ (2007) Identity work, managing and researching. In A Pullen et al (Eds) Exploring Identity Concepts and Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Wright Mills, C. (1959). The Sociological Imagination. Middlesex: Penguin.
Yanow, D.and Schwartz-Shea, P. (2006). Interpretation and method – Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn. New York: ME Sharpe.
|9.15 am - 9.30 am||Registration and refreshments|
9.30 am - 9.45 am
9.45 am - 10.45 am
Christine Coupland, Loughborough University, ‘I am co-constructed therefore I am’
10.45 am - 11 am
11 am - 12 pm
Tony Watson, University of Nottingham, ‘Research work and identity work: keeping a proper balance’
12 pm - 1 pm
1 pm - 2 pm
Robert Chia, University of Glasgow, ‘We are not, though we live: Research as Re-searching!’
2 pm - 2.15 pm
2.15 pm - 3 pm
Discussion – participants will be invited to reflect upon nature of their personal becoming and research work, alongside the challenges and opportunities which arise.
3 pm - 3.30 pm
Plenary discussion, closing comments, and future directions
For further details and to book please contact Lianne Hannigan.
Find out more about local hotel accommodation.