The emergent researcher: One woman's journey into the Academy

Year: 2009

Author: Zavros, Agli

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Race, ethnicity, language, class, and gender are all markers of identity which define individual life pathways and experiences. This paper explores these markers as informing and shaping my lived experiences and subsequently my journey into the Academy. As a Greek-Cypriot, working class, woman I have been engaged with and have participated within the Australian education system as a student, teacher, teacher educator and educational researcher. My lived experiences as an individual from a non English speaking background have informed:"that which I was","that which I am","that which I am not"and"that which I am becoming". Self is socially constructed, reflecting lived experiences and a network of relationships. Drawing on my lived experiences and observations I construct my personal notions of the researcher and of academic efficacy, agency and care. This parallels the co-construction of my PhD research participants' narrative understanding of these concepts.

I engage with storytelling (a narrative way of knowing and being) because it reflects a way of life, a way of being, and a means through which I make sense of the world around me. In the stories that I share, the Academy represents the social, historical and political. It is also a vantage point from which I reflect backwards and construct the narrative of my lived experience. I juxtapose the allegory of the Academy to Plato's allegory of the cave. Both are a comportment of the self with"????????(??the unhidden"(Heidegger 2002 p20). The significance in doing this is to represent a learning journey, from being a young person, to that of the researcher 33 years later. In cases such as this we accept the idiosyncratic nature of story telling and embrace it rather then colonising it and pushing it to the margins. Each of us, including our students and research participants has a story to tell that is an individuated comportment with ????????(??

This paper represents a world view which may sit at the boundaries of other's realities. The significance of this is that in acknowledging narrative accounts of lived experiences, constructed at the boundaries, we are able extend essentialist constructions of such key terms as: efficacy, agency and care.