Working in the Umbra - methodological uncertainty and affective flows

Fairchild, N. (2016) Working in the Umbra - methodological uncertainty and affective flows. In: Gender Work and Organization 9th Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference, 29.6.16 - 1.7.16, University of Keele.

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In 1992 Gilles Deleuze argued, in a brief essay, that we are witnessing a transition from societies of confinement to 'societies of control'. In societies of control power operates through a process of 'continuous modulation': a regime of 'perpetual training' and assessment. The focus of my doctoral research is to use Posthumanist theorising to explore how Early Years Teachers modulate their practice within their organizations following the introduction of the Teacher Standards (Early Years) (DfE, 2013) in England. This will allow me to provide an alternative lens on the understanding of professional identity formation and (re)imagine professional becomings (Fairchild, 2015) as a means of charting affective flows in and between Early Years Teacher assemblages.

Drawing on St. Pierre (2011:613) my productive engagement with the work of Deleuze and Guattari has allowed me to consider a ‘reimagination of social science inquiry’. I have been grappling with how to creatively embrace a Posthuman onto-epistemology of difference and have been working in the umbra (shadows) as I challenge the traditional views of qualitative research practice. Early Years Teachers work in human and material organizational contexts as they engage with children, policy, practice, the nursery/school environment and spaces for play and teaching. Posthumanism allows for an attention to materiality and affectivity and gives a new articulation of the concept of identity leading to the individual emerging as an assemblage. The assemblage as methodology provides the vehicle to explore the affective flows and their relations to Early Years Teacher assemblages. Additionally the assemblage as methodology provides a ‘commitment to thinking with materials and incorporating them as forceful agents in the formation of the social world’ (Meiches, 2015: 479).

In charting affective flows I will explore and be entangled within machinic assemblages at a number of levels - material, affective, embodied, corporeal, political and neoliberal. Being part of the research assemblage my methodology is (re)emerging and I currently am enmeshed in a series of rhizoaffective multidimensional events which have (re)(e)volved around my desire to engage with the perceptual, experiential and sensory nature of affective flows. This engagement has led me to question what data will be revealed, what it might want and how might I move away from representation to mapping and charting and reconfiguring and reimaging data (Koro-Ljungberg, 2016). This paper will present the affective flows of five Early Years Teachers as I consider their experiences both spatially and temporally. Data will be revealed using a range of methods including discursive (interviews), visual, material, and political. There will be visits to Early Years Teachers in their workplace and we will engage in an ongoing co-constructed multidimensional dialogue about their experiences, their affects and percepts (Deleuze, 1995) as they fold and unfold. In this way I can attend to social justice by decentring the role of the Early Years Teachers within their organization as I critically analyse materiality and affect within the new regime of modulation. The resultant data analysis is, as yet, unknown – an immanent methodology becoming.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1139 Early childhood education
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Childhood
Event Title: Gender Work and Organization 9th Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference
Event Location: University of Keele
Event Dates: 29.6.16 - 1.7.16
Depositing User: Nicola Fairchild
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 11:13
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 12:33

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