Live Blogging: Stories, Texts and Technoscience (5)

Fleck – the process of discovering facts vs Facts aren’t produced! They are RECOGNIZED! / Wittgenstein – not to have breakthrough, but to clear up the mess by the last philosophy (ANT close to this with regards to science – we have ourselves with a misunderstanding of the claims of science and the goals of science – ANT tries to clean this up). “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.” Thought style/collective. What thought community does that come out of?

(Read: Polanyi – The Great Transformation). /Mol – the logic of choice (anything anyone does is choice), and there is always a technology, that if you align yourself with it correctly, it can get out of your rut.

Hacking – Taking for granted degrees of constructionism / Elevator words /a successful science could have developed along an entirely different path – ontologicaly objective/epistemologically subjective. Once it is entered into the framework, it becomes “real.” Once you accept capitalism, poverty only means one thing (anything else). What is getting organized / what contributing to what is getting organized today / Interactive kinds – two loops – interactive as the effects of people themselves of being grouped into a certain kind but also how people see them as belonging to that certain kind of autism.

Fleck leaves us with an idea of “facts” are developed (Latour’s “fact-ory”), but then stops there. Hacking picks up – now that everything is open to social construction 1) what is being constructed 2) what kind of constructionist do we want to be? Verran then moves to platonic things (length, numbers), which are the Kantian a priori, and gives us the systematic “working out” of this kind of Sociology.
Verran – multiplicity (multiple ontologies)/ Universalism/relativism / remembering Metaphors.

Hierarchy of gazes – children who are being surveilled, the teachers who are being supervised, Verran who is monitoring and being monitoring, and then the new Verran surveillance on the old Verran. Auto-critique. Pick it up as a method, or does it only work de-constructively. No initial question to start from, rather “where did you get that from?”
ANT – just because you can show it is a social construction, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. Sequence of relative certainties.

Political ontologoy

Mid century sociology: so many elevator words;

Where is Sociology? We have some habits of thought, core topics (race/inequality) that we have a stamp on, but there is just so much else happening right now.



After all of this, this is how Art puts together his method.

Having this problem about talking about stories right now. Take things like conversation analysis that describes the “truth” of what they are “really doing” – a narrative analysis that isn’t unmasking or ironic, but is rooted simply in understanding. If you want to do a narrative analysis, it is a mirror image of storytelling. How do we do sociology the way a scientist does good science? A matter of looking to the people themselves, not just as experts in their own lives (Ethnomethodology, D. Smith), but a locally situated skilled worker.

First, a recognition of “Slow-ciology” that begins with drawing out the stories in full. Slow people down, as it is the gaps of assumed knowledge that are the most interesting. Also, slowing down the analysis project (“how fast can I get it into the computer – qualitative sociology with software just isn’t as interesting).

How do we slow people down?

1. Fill in the story: Ask people to fill in the characters and the settings. In the interview, ask them to tell the full story. Expand the frame to get the before and after, recognizing that the story isn’t self contained. What makes the story an episode is what is interesting.

2. Important to ask who is telling the story (falling back on the notion of ideal type). Not “what kind of person” but “how does telling the story constitute the teller as this type of person”. The teller as dialogical personality inseperable from who the story is being told to. What are the resources that the story teller has available. What a person is what their narrative resources are. We don’t have resources, but we ARE narrative resources.

3. Important to ask about connections (network in ANT, hook-ups in IE). How did the person learn that story, both in content and narration. Words, tropes, plot types, metaphors – how does this way of telling reflect connections with what? Who would get to tell the story, and who would get it? The story – who gets it immediately, who would get it with coaching, and who would not get it no matter what (people can immediately group this). This is a connection – who tells the same story vs. those who would never get the story.

(at this point, this is just the gathering stage, before analysis). Not going too fast yet.

4. Every story has a evaluation component – what was a good thing and what was a bad thing? “They lived happily ever after” – they did something right here. Ask about how the story draws about who else’s notions of what is good and what is bad? Stories have a sense of evaluation, ask what this draws upon as it accepts other notions of good/bad or resists other notions of good/bad. Making live social – evaluation.

5 . People are trying to hold their own. Better than “coping strategy” which suggests an other “they who are coping” and a level of deficiency – psychobabble. Ordinary idiom – whatever people need to do to do whatever it is they are trying to do. In narrative – the content, the telling (as an action) – in both these levels, people are holding their own. In the act of holding on, they become the self that they hold onto. Holding ones own change, it is open. The key thing to think through – until there is an understanding of how they are doing this – until you can tell a story about the storyteller as being situated in their life and about holding their own. A narrative analysis that proceeds like telling a good story. Develop the character to the point that they have their own level of autonomy. Could be an analysis of them doing anything. People are holding their own. How do you understand this?

6. Ask the people themselves – when research hits an impasse, the way out is to ask “what are you trying to do yourself” – Reassembling the Social – social science asks too little of the participants, we want to take on the work for people. Asking people what they want. “What would you like me to do in response to your stories?” Ask how they want their stories represented; if nothing else, this just becomes good data, as it gives more on how they understand themselves, and what they thing we are able to do with the story. “What is the message you would like to get out?” – they do have a sense of message, and in the course of the interview, they possibly have something more. Very intense in that they can hear themselves talking in an unstructured way.

The Analysis (everything is before):

7. The key thing: teach yourself to re-tell the story; the way you would take someone else’s story and learn how to incorporate this into your repertoire. Tell it silently, taking the role of the other; both teller and audience. As we do this, as we re-tell the story, a curious thing happens is that the story doesn’t always hold together – inadequacies (why would they do that?) the cracks amplify as you re-tell the story to oneself. Just the same way as one would re-learn it for performance. The analysis begins where the story doesn’t hold together (like Latour’s controversies). Re-tell the story, discover the gaps, the places where the action could have gone very differently. Discover the places where the story could have been different. Story about going this way rather than all these other ways.

8.  As you retell the story, the beginning and ending is arbitrary. A less important, but important – what genre, what narrative type? How would the story teller tell this story. What other stories are like or unlike? Crucial to get a sense of different genres of stories within this same phenomenon?

9. At the end, what do you most appreciate about the story teller? “Appreciative inquiry” – something that is complementary to this. Until you have thought about the person you have talked to in a way that appreciates how they are telling their lives, you aren’t there yet.

And so ends my last ever regulation time seminar!!


6 thoughts on “Live Blogging: Stories, Texts and Technoscience (5)

  1. Just out of curiousity…and a dumb question…but do you liveblog your lecture while delivering your lecture? If so, is it just for a portion of your lecture?

  2. Oh, and for your liveblogging, do you work off largely prepared text, or is this kind of based off exchanges with your students…?

  3. Actually, it is neither; this is me sitting in the seminar of Arthur Frank (also my PhD supervisor), and the live blog is effectively my notes from his lecture “as they happen” – they are messy and all over the place, but reflect things as I hear them, and probably are suitable for myself only, but I know other people from the class use them, so here they are.

  4. What would be even more interesting is having your class liveblog your lectures to see how things are being interpreted and what rings through as important.

    I suspect liveblogging while lecturing would be very difficult if not impossible

  5. Pingback: Live Blogging: Stories, Texts and Technoscience (5)

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