Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN20_11a_P: General Issues in Qualitative Research II
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Florian Elliker, University of St. Gallen
Location: PC.4.22
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 4.

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Collective identity and anti-austerity protest: Graffiti from Athens’ city-center

Dimitris Serafis1, Dimitris Kitis2, Argiris Archakis3

1University of Neuchatel, Switzerland; 2University of the Witwatersrand, Johannersburg; 3University of Patras, Greece

This paper examines the way that collective identity was discursively constructed during the anti-austerity protests of June 28 and 29, 2011 on the environs of the Greek parliament. Drawing on the framework of Critical Discourse Analysis, we study the interrelation between macro-level of dominant values and views (e.g. austerity), and micro-level of individual positions as expressed in graffiti slogans, which appeared during the protests. We conduct a systemic functional (SF) analysis to scrutinize the transitivity structures of graffiti slogans and we employ the notion of anti-language as central at the micro-level. We draw on the notion of collective identity, as this is examined in studies of collective action and social movements, to frame the graffiti at the macro-level. Among our main findings is that the writers of graffiti slogans construct their collective identity on a two-fold oppositional axis: the first consists of the dominant institutions (e.g. government, IMF) or “others”, which are negatively represented, while the second consists of a positively represented and inclusive in-group or “we”. We provide representative examples to illustrate the aforementioned findings.

Emotional encounters in research: some reflections on childhood and public sphere

Vinnarasan Aruldoss, Sevasti Melissa Nolas, Christos Varvantakis

University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Drawing on recent scholarship and theoretical developments in the study of ‘emotions’, we consider how a focus on emotion offers us valuable insights and new perspectives on understanding the relationship between childhood and public sphere. Children and emotion have long been ignored in the public sphere literature as well as in public life, because both have been presumed to lack reasoning and thought. In this presentation, we try to unpack this argument and identify ways in which emotion can mediate childhood and public sphere. Our analysis reports on findings from ERC funded Connectors Study, a longitudinal comparative ethnography that employed creative methods (photography, drawing, mapping among others) with 45 children aged 6-9 years in three cities: Athens, London and Hyderabad. The analysis draws on our multimodal data that was created over a period of 18-months spent hanging out, playing and doing research activities with the children in the study. We operationalised ‘the relationship between childhood and public life’ using sociological (Sturdy, 2010) and political science (Flyvbjerg, 2001) literature that asks us to conceptualise our relationship to the public sphere as one of the concern for the things that matter to us. We map out emotional encounters in which children’s embodied personal feelings on what matters to them are made public by inter-subjective interactions, bodily performance, art work and speech acts. The contribution will focus on the sociality of emotion, the meanings attributed to those emotions by children, and how that matters to developing a context sensitive understanding of children’s relationship to public life.

Researching institutional culture: a tale of two universities

Liz Jane McDonnell1, Alison Phipps1, Jessica Taylor2

1Sussex University, United Kingdom; 2Independent Consultant

Using a combination of integrated qualitative research methods (document analysis, observation, interviews, focus groups and open text survey) and the organisational development tool Action Inquiry, Grounded Action Inquiry (GAI) is designed to facilitate cultural change within universities. The challenge of ‘lad culture’, sexual violence, bullying and harassment, the shortage of academics from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and the persistent under-representation of students from less privileged socioeconomic situations, has necessitated the development of more sustainable and in depth approaches to equality and diversity in universities. This paper explores how this innovative and intersectional approach worked in two very different university settings – an elite and a 1960s university. We will reflect on how GAI evolved in each context and the adaptations we made as a result of institutional realities. GAI brings into relation, research data that describes culture and, organisational development tools that facilitate a deeper exploration of the data in a dialogic setting. Linking these two processes, within an intersectional framework, are core to facilitating meaningful cultural change within varied university settings.

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