Emotivity and Ephemera Research
This chapter reports on a two-day experimental workshop in an arts-led interviewing technique using ephemera to elicit life stories and then reporting narrative accounts back using creative means of presentation. Participants told each other stories from their pasts based on objects that they presented to each other as gifts. Each partner then reported the shared story to the group using arts-led presentation methods.
Narrative research and the qualitative duologue are discussed. Through interviewing, scholars are often astonished to find their own narratives in the stories that people tell them. Time and time again, when given the opportunity, academics long to connect emotionally with the people whom they encounter in their investigations. There is a new “emotivity” emergent from such connectivity worth exploring. A big part of “Neo Emotivism” (a phrase coined to mimic the grand theories of the past, but with an ironic and profound emphasis on the post-modern and the personal) is embracing this phenomenon, instead of backing away from it as we may have done in the past.
The conclusion is drawn that academics yearn to express the more emotive connections generated by listening to the stories of strangers. The procedures followed in the two‐day workshop are outlined in order that others may also organise their own experiments in eliciting narratives using personal objects and retelling stories creatively. The first step in reporting emotive encounters in research, therefore, is moving away from concepts that have evolved from positivist procedures and measurement; the second step is to find our own individual languages to report our experiences of “Neo Emotivism.”
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