Ar lorg na slí


O'Neill, Jerry (2015) Ar lorg na slí. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the possibilities of narrative approaches for adult educator growth. It is written and presented as a conversational walking tour between myself and a dialogic other through landscapes of personal, conceptual and occupational significance. This creative confluence of writing and walking is not merely a device to enhance reader engagement, but, after Richardson (1994); Speedy (2005); Gale & Wyatt (2006); Hall (2009); Ingold (2010); Shepherd (2011); McCormack (2013); and Gros (2014) is used here as a method of inquiry. Furthermore, these processes of embodied and contextualised dialogic practice perform a pedagogic function (hooks, 1994; Freire, 1997; Connolly & Hussey, 2013) which suggests our walking and talking tour can be seen as a research and learning text. Interpretive (Denzin, 2014) and polyphonic (Bakhtin, 1984) fragments from a fictional tutor anthology of educational and occupational biographies are interspersed with four creative, autoethnographically-infused walks which take place over the four parts of the text. Part One (Ways in) commences with tutor stories of their ways in to adult education before our first walk takes take us to Belfast to explore the theoretical ways in of this inquiry. On this walk we talk our way through the intersection between poststructuralist and postcolonial theories (Barthes, 1977; Kristeva, 1986a; Cixous, 1976; Bhabha,1994; Said, 1995) and cultural practice (Joyce, 1968, 1992a, 1992b; Morrison, 1992; Gilman, 1993; Duffy, 1994; Heaney, 1998; Welch, 2001) which reveals, for this inquiry at least, the significance of the discursive subject. In Part Two (Values, Struggle and Growth) fragments from tutor narratives on values, struggles and growth are interspersed with our walk through the western suburban and industrial landscapes of Edinburgh. It is here that we start to see the emergence of the educator subject and bear witness to an ever-emerging adult educator knowledge and practice (hooks, 1994; Freire, 1996; Brookfield, 2005; Connolly, 2013). Our third walk, Part Three (A Clearing), considers the possibilities of the convergence of the cultural and educational concepts and practices, which the first two walks have rehearsed, in a methodological space which is ethically and epistemologically consistent with our endeavours to explore adult educator experience (St. Pierre, 1997; Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Ryan, 2001). Our final, culturally-cautious (Enright, 2015) walk in Part Four (Paths travelled; paths ahead) takes place in an autobiographically-resonant, unmapped valley in the west of Ireland. As well as reflecting on the worth and the significance of this inquiry, personally, methodologically and for adult educators, the inquiry subjects consider occupational futures in education and care within a broader socio-cultural backdrop of precarious and, often, invisible work. At one level this inquiry produces a troubled text – a messy product, or maybe, more accurately, a draft, of a theoretical, methodological and pedagogic practice which reveals itself from the slow process of the inquiry itself. And what does emerge, eventually, is, a ‘writerly text’ (Barthes, 1992), a textual something that sets the reader to work in the creative, playful, critical and perambulatory performance of knowledge and practice of a dialogic and intertextual adult educator subject in hard times: times of occupational and contractual precarity (Sennett, 1998; Standing, 2011; Courtois & O’Keefe, 2015) and times of significant structural, ideological and discursive shifts in adult education in Ireland and further afield (Connolly, 2013; Murray, et al., 2014). The journey comes to a pause in the end in, quite possibly, a post-qualitative space (Lather & St. Pierre, 2013; St. Pierre, 2013; 2014), which resists demarcations between research, personal and professional development and creative acts. And in this space there may just be some hope for adult educators struggling to exist and to grow in these hard times of educator precarity and professional invisibility – a hope that lurks around critical and creative acts of narrative reflexivity which draw from triskelion flows of personal, theoretical and communal epistemologies to produce more plural, polyphonic and politicised texts - texts which unashamedly sing the fractured and unstable occupational ontologies in their very form and style.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: narrative; adult educator growth; convensational record; critical companion; textured personal landscape; voices in a clearing; triskelion reflections;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
Item ID: 7587
Depositing User: IR eTheses
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2016 14:29
URI:

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