Paper_notes_2_pa_ellis | Narrative | Cognitive Science

Paper_notes_2_pa_ellis Ellis writes wonderfully about narrative and stories , connecting these to research methods, primarily to autoethnography as research

methode Ellis touches on NARRATIVE and MEMORY , and RESEARCH METHODS – I can do a link to technology thinking about blogs, but I can’t link it in with COMMUNITY yet (or???...are all those fancy Bev tools like social bookmarking, RSS feeds etc. ways not to forget single persons stories, do TAGS help to build COMMUNITY MEMORY?? Now that I got caught up into Carolin Ellis „The ethographic I“: A methodological novel about authethnography I suddenly understood Bev’s blog entry: >picture of Bev’s famous sofa!) The Internet was down most of today so there was no getting away from it. I got stuck into the CIRN Prato conference where I'm co-writing a paper with Patricia Arnold and John Smith about "Memory and Forgetting: a review of narrative and technologies". The conference theme is: "Constructing and sharing memory: community informatics, identity and empowerment". The deadline was today, but although we meet regularly on Skype (PT, DE, US) to talk about it and take notes, things didn't really start coming together until last night - and we got our request for an extension. It clicked once we framed memory in terms of voice and power. Who's voice is being heard? Whose story is being told? And whose is being left out? So whose memory is it? My favourite quote from today came from Robin Usher et al (who clearly don't know my local universe): “The quest for a ‘God’s eye view’, a disembodied and disembedded timeless perspective that can know the world by transcending it, is no longer readily accepted. What has taken its place is a loss of certainty in ways of knowing and what is known. What we are left with is not an alternative and more secure foundation but an awareness of the complexity, historical contingency and fragility of the practices through which knowledge is constructed about ourselves and the world.” (p. 210) And these were some of my reflections on memory with this post-modern lens: • Memories are produced through a process of languaging. Language is not a mirror held up to past experiences, it’s not a transparent vehicle for conveying memory. Memory can’t be separated from language, discourses and texts at work within culture. Language, discourses and texts are both the carriers and creators of memory.

• Memory is always partial and perpectival; it’s always shaped by language and discourse; it’s always situated within specific cultures which provide meaning and significance. ******************************

Not only that what is in her blog she doesn’t forget ( and it meets the “technological correctness” that John and particularly me are lacking, still having boring HTML pages and using e-mail as the top application on the Internet….. Bev gives me an example of authoethnographic writing, or research inquiry by writing , starting fro a very personal context Brillinat, there I was , sitting in a fast train, crossing Germany once again, but also crossing different insights: what I interpreted for weeks as a 1 sudenly tuned out to be an obviuos I in the title of ellis book as ellis novel caught me in completely, I found it hard to go analytical about it and try to find the most important pieces on narrative – I sort of forgot that we are writing a paper and I should be efficient timewise – but even though again ther eis no draft text I can show things have fallen into place narrative is so deeply connected with human experience and memory that it seems hard to separate these issues and a surprose: stories hrlp to remember but also they can make you forget the actual world you are in to temporirily be in Eliis’ses world if then AFTER reading ellis book Bev’s entry made so much more sence to me it the felt the twor worlds (reading ellis novel on authoethnography and trying to write a paper with a set deadline, so always feeling hurried..suddenly faded into one another wild ideas: blogging as a tool to do autoethnography – can we take Bevs blog – or CPSquareblog as a communitie”s memor as exeamples of tehcnologically supported story-telling and collective remembering? y OK, this is definitively not an autoethnographic story but perhaps it is approachung aethnographic field notes Here is what Ellis(2004, 125ff) writes on narrative and stories & memory refering to lots of other authors : how true needs a story to be for being autoethnographic? • • if you are trying to hard to be factual or accurate you might be losing the heart of the story (123) : Zinsser 1987, 25: “[F]idelity to the facts is no free pass to the readers’s attention” (in a story) Plummer (2001, 401): what matters is the way in which the story enables the reader to enter the subjective world of the teller – to see the world from her or his point of view, even if this world does not ‘match reality’

So if we are not judging on accuracy what are we judging on then: usefulness?

• • •

Questions that are important: What do narratives do, what consequences do they have, to what use can they be put? Narrative is the way we remember the past, turn life into language and disclose to ourselves and to others the truth of our experiences (Bochner 2001) Plummer(2001, 401): stories need to have rhetorical power enhanced by aesthetic delight

Ellis, 194ff what is NARRATIVE • • • “There is nothing more theoretical or analytical than a good story” as stories help us understand our lives” (194) Narrative refers to the stories people tell – the way they “organize their experiences into temporally meaningful episodes” Richardsen 1997, 27 Narrative is present in short stories, poems, myths, history, paintings, dance, cinema, novels, social sciences, comics, conversation, music, art, and autoethnography. Narrative can be both a “mode of reasoning and a mode of representation” (richardsen 1997, 28): ”the logico-scientific mode looks for universal truth conditions, whereas the narrative mode looks for particular connections between events” • • As a mode of representation it uses plot, character development and scene setting There ways in which analyss takes place in stories: Narrative analysis (with a story), thematic analysis of narrative, structural analysis of narrative (about a story)

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