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NOVELLA: Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Analyses

NOVELLA: Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Analyses
Speaker: Professor Ann Phoenix # University of London; Hosted by: Sociology # University of Edinburgh
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Date and Time
17th Feb 2016 11:00 - 17th Feb 2016 13:00
CMB - 6th floor common room

Since the 1980s, the ‘turn to language’ has been marked by an upsurge of research and analyses drawing on narrative analysis. In recent years this growth has led to a proliferation of methods and theories in narrative research. This seminar shows some ways in which narrative methods can be used to address substantive issues. It discusses the NOVELLA research node, which is concerned with the everyday habitual practices of families. These are frequently taken for granted, but impact on people's identities and what they do in their social worlds. Of course, how people understand what they do (their everyday practices) is not necessarily what they actually do. This is particularly the case since family practices are frequently habitual and so not always conscious. Since this is the case, it might seem that what people say about what they do is of little interest to policymakers and practitioners or researchers. This is, however, not the case, since any 'disconnection' between people's understanding and action tells us a great deal about their identities, values and their possible future actions. In addition, narrative researchers are increasingly showing that policy is frequently influenced more rapidly by stories than evaluations or other forms of evidence.

Family practices are of particular interest since orientation to the social world and what people do are (at least partly) negotiated within families. These issues are, therefore, of central importance to anybody concerned with behaviour change or with supporting families and children in ways that do not make stereotypical assumptions about particular kinds of families. The NOVELLA (Narratives of Varied Everyday Lives and Linked Analyses) research node aimed to provide new knowledge about families' practices by asking new questions of already-existing data. It consisted of three research projects on family practices that are socially relevant and of concern to policymakers and practitioners in the UK and internationally. The studies are: 'Parenting Identities and Practices', 'Families and food in hard and 'Family lives and environment: Cross-national perspectives on habitual practices' (in India and the UK). Each of these projects drew on different secondary qualitative data sets and linked data across different data sets.

This talk first introduces current thinking on narratives, then gives examples from each of the studies to show the fruitfulness of secondary qualitative data analysis and the utility of analysing narratives for understanding family lives from different generational perspectives and engaging with disconnections between what is said and what is done.


Click here to download Prof Ann Phoenix's powerpoint slides for the talk


Here's the video of the talk:


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