Textualising your self in research: Some current challenges

Year: 1994

Author: Prain, Vaughan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Poststructuralists' attempts to question and dismantle the authority and unity of authorship have prompted a diverse range of new discursive moves and textualised narrators, especially in the field of educational research. The proposed death of the patriarchal, male, "objective" authoritative author has led to various new subject positions as the self-critical, self-reflexive "individual". However, there is a variety of problems and concerns with these new valorised moves.

One strategy, as Gallagher (1989) has noted, aims to produce a stable critical subject by discovering an essential consistency beneath a professed non-identity, raising the problem of whether the narrating subject can really be dismantled or reconstituted effectively within an identity-based model. Miller (1993) has argued that those subjects whose subjectivity has hitherto been denied should be exempt from the general case implied by the death of the author. At the same time, Biriotti (1993) has pointed out that it is difficult to attack authority, even one's own, without becoming a new authority figure oneself. This paper will explore these and other issues related to recent attempts by researchers to include themselves, their own self- conscious sense of authorship, in the analyses they make.