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Title: Language to the second degree : narratives of self and identification in the academy
Author: Watson, Cate
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis concerns institutional identifications. It starts from a premise that identities emerge in and through narrative and sets out to explore the links between narrative, identity and discourse from the point of view of someone embarking on a research career in the University. Not that it started out that way. To begin with I was interested in the professional identifications of teachers, having recently been a teacher myself. But following the move to a lecturing post in the School of Education it became apparent that I was losing my identity as a teacher and instead developing an identification as a researcher within what I have referred to as ‘the University at the time of the RAE' (Research Assessment Exercise). As this happened I realised I had been presented with an opportunity to investigate these processes of identification from the inside out as I moved from being a teacher, to becoming a researcher. In doing this I developed two main strategies: in one strand of the research I interviewed teachers to gather narratives of practice, because in that way I could investigate the processes involved in doing ‘being a researcher' — gathering and analysing data, writing research publications, presenting research at conferences (as well as applying the theoretical concepts I developed as part of this research to my own situation); and I started to gather data relating to my work within the academy, that positioned me as a researcher. This strand of the research made use of an autoethnographic methodology that I called ‘participant self observation'. In this way I observed what I did as a researcher and how I related to the discourse in which I was enmeshed. The structure of the thesis reflects this doubled approach: the findings from the research with teachers have been written up and presented as research papers; and this is set against texts developed from the autoethnograph research. I refer to this as an ‘anacoluthonic' structure i.e. a disjunction in the PhD which serves to open up a critical space for the examination of research and the PhD as text itself. The aims of the research are therefore: To explore processes of identification in the academy and the ways in which such identifications are narrated; Through the presentation and analysis of texts to evoke ‘a self in the academy. To examine, reflexively, the methodological processes involved in order to develop a critique of the research; The research draws on the approach to discourse analysis developed by Laclau and Mouffe (1985), which is linked to a Lacanian concept of subjectivity; and makes use of the theoretical notion of ‘interpellation' as set out by Althusser (1971). The thesis also draws on the work of Deleuze and Guattari (1987, 2004 [1979]). Narratives are posited as being the means by which individuals are linked to discourses and narrative is thus theorised as being an ideological process with reductive properties. Within this framework a theoretical concept of identification is developed which discusses resistance/complicity and agency/autonomy as key factors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Identity (Psychology) ; Discourse analysis