Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eggs and the Technology/Aesthetics Divide in Qualitative Research

This morning when I was working on my journal, I came up with an image for how I conceptualize the technology/aesthetics divide in qualitative research history.  This image is tied to the ideas in the Chapter that I've written (with Silvana diGregorio) on the history and future of qualitative computing for the Handbook on Qualitative Research (Denzin and Lincoln, 4th ed.  coming out soon).  This chapter compares Denzin and Lincoln's 8 moments in qualitative research with the stages we identified in the development of qualitative computing. 

I am thinking of the first two moments--emergence of qualitative research and its solidification in the golden age--as the period when the egg was still whole.  Hence this image:

This period makes up about the first 75 years of qualitative research.  It represents the period before computer-based or digital technology use in qualitative research.

Then, in the early 70's...the eggs broke.  Qualitative computing begins AND the reflexive moment, post-modernism, and a new understanding of the social justice issues in qualitative research come to light.

Yep...this represents the last quarter of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century in qualitative research. 

As we move solidly into the 21st century, I am hoping that these broken eggs are going to be cooked, meaning that qualitative research will be able to take advantage of the numerous strands of thought that divided in the last quarter century.  In my talk at Bogazici University I referred to this as the Technology/Aesthetics divide in qualitative research. 

 This is where I hope it is going--the cooked egg, something that causes the cracked egg to cohere and create a new form for itself.  I've been calling this new thing "Transactional Inquiry". 

I'll be talking about issues related to these concerns at the upcoming International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Istanbul: Qualitative Computing: Sharing Photos

There were a couple of us taking pictures at the conference...and now we've begun to trade them with each other.  My thanks to Mauri Laukkanen of Finland for these two photos of my presentation.

Istanbul: Qualitative Computing: Thinking about what it means to be international

Turkish wall hangingImage by ali eminov via FlickrI continue to think about the great experience of the Qualitative Computing conference in Istanbul.  The memories linger on...

One thing I particularly liked was that it was a small conference, and this gave me the chance to hear the papers of everyone who participated.  This meant that everyone was talking and thinking about the same material, and there was  a common curriculum I guess you could say.  Stronger or weaker papers, we all had the experience of hearing and responding to them, and this pushed us further in our discussions, I think, then if we had only gone to sessions as we chose them--cheery picking what we thought we would like. 

But in those sessions I found that "internationalism" emerged in a variety of ways.  First, there were participants from a range of countries (I was the only U.S. citizen there)...and each presentation couldn't help but give a flavor of that culture/language/context when we spoke.  This flavor was also present in the questions we asked and the information we used as evidence in our discussions.  It comes with us regardless of how neutral we think we are in our presentation. 

For instance, I was surprised at how much these discussions about qualitative computing were also teaching me about higher education in different contexts.  Over lunch or dinner, in the bus to and from the conference, we were also sharing about the ways our different positions were organized, how disciplines were represented in different political contexts, etc.  All of this was hugely international in content. 

And, of course, the studies were conducted in specific locations--a land use discussion in Barcelona, churches in Brazil, immigration in Mexico, nursing care in Germany.  Each paper presented a case that was embedded in a different context that was international in its full scope.

I greatly valued this component of the conference.  I know that the conference planners had sought to make this a truly international gathering...and I think it was, and in more than name only.  There was a real sense of making and doing together across a broad range of settings.  I think this was a very successful component of the conference.  I will certainly carry what I learned here to other things I want to do that would come under the label of international.

Enhanced by Zemanta