Relating narratives - Society for Research into Higher Education

Choices, Decisions and Transitions: The
politics, practices and possibilities of
understanding transition as becoming.
Dr Carol Taylor
Jean Harris-Evans
Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion
This presentation
We want to unsettle established or ‘commonsense’ notions of
transition as induction or development
Propose the concept of transition as becoming
Present some empirical data from two transitions projects
Use some ‘tools for thinking’ from Deleuze and Guattari (1987)
and Cavarero (2000) to theorise transition as becoming
Think about the implications of this for transition practices
Consider some implications for research practice
Transition: activities and practices
Course information days
Clearing open event
E Countdown campaign
Fresher's week
Course Induction week
Society fairs
Library tours
Academic tutorial system
Transition: practices and norms
Temporal logic
Time bounded
One off
Institution ↔ Student
Student engagement: ‘fitting in’ vs student voice
Student Transitions and Experiences
Project (STEP)
Higher Education Transitions Project
This project is designed to investigate
Education Studies students’ perceptions
and accounts of their decision-making
processes in relation to university activities
and strategies for conversion to full-time
undergraduate study.
students’ perceptions
influences on students
decision and choice-making processes
T1, T2, T3 Gale & Parker (2012: 5)
Rethinking transition as Becoming
‘All concepts are connected to problems without which they would
have no meaning and which can themselves only be isolated or
understood as their solution emerges’ (1991: 16)
Concepts are themselves emerging events which enable us to think of
new possibilities
Stagoll (2005: 50) ‘A concept is created or thought anew in relation to
every particular event, insight, experience or problem, thereby
incorporating a notion of the contingency of the circumstance of each
Concepts we are interested in:
– Rhizome, Assemblage, Becoming
Selina's Narrative
Yeah, it was horrible and like my dad lives in Wolverhampton now and so going there
was a bit more like I might get to see my dad a bit more often, so that was quite
where I was wanting to go with that, but then when I went to the open day I was like “I
am not going here”, but then I applied for the course, because the course sounded
quite good, so I applied for the course anyway and then I went to [university]s open
day and the course sounded really good, but like the accommodation wasn't very
good and I didn’t really like the idea of staying at home. I didn’t really want to do that
but the accommodation was horrible. Yeah, it was horrible, and I applied for
[university] and I went to their open day and I really liked it there. Yeah, because my
boyfriend goes to [university] so I kind of knew quite well the area and things like that
and so that was one of my options. And I didn’t come to [university’s] open day
because at first it wasn’t really, or I hadn’t really thought about it as an option. I had
just kind of put it on my UCAS form because I needed to fill it, I just put it on because
I had never been to Sheffield before but I kind of knew of it. ermm, and I just, yeah, I
just read the bits on the website and stuff and I kind of put it on because I needed to
fill my spaces. And then after I had applied I looked in to it more and realised that I
liked it more than I thought I had. And then I came to the post invite day … And when
I came then, that is when I really found out that I liked it.
Quotes from data x 3 and more explanation of concept
Assemblage: Hazel’s Storyboard
Becoming: And, and, and
I nearly, nearly – and they wouldn’t let me and I was so glad
– changed courses after the first couple of weeks, because
just initial workload and … we used to get a big booklet to
read every week and I’m like, ‘I just can’t do it,’ and I didn’t
understand a lot of it at the beginning and I got to the point
and thought I just don’t like it and I went down to Student
Services … and I nearly changed courses and they said,
‘that course is full, so you can either come back next
September, but we recommend you just stick your course out
for a bit and then if you still want to change’ … And I was like
‘fair do’s’ because there was no way I was not going to be at
university anymore, it never even crossed my mind that I’d
just quit … And then after the first couple of weeks, it was
just like, I was just so pleased I didn’t change because I
really enjoy it … Everyone else were like sort of treading
lightly around it and my sister was just like, ‘stop being soft
and just get on with it.’ Michael.
Cavarero: Narratable selves
Desire for narration
Narratable selves
Telling and hearing our story is about becoming a narrative
‘who’ not an abstract philosophical ‘what’ – our narratives
constitute each of us as a ‘living singularity’ not an abstract
Relational ethic within the collective
Implications for transitions practice(s)
Recognizing singularity and multiplicity
Relationship focused approach?
Social justice
What is learning?
What is the idea of the University?
Rethink what is fixed and established about an institution
Implications for researching transition
Transition is a moving concept, constituted differently within
each event and singularity
Ethics: Entanglement of researched-researcher-data
Need to seek new ways of representing and writing about
Contact details
Dr Carol Taylor
[email protected]
Jean Harris-Evans
[email protected]
To find out more about the Department of Education,
Childhood and Inclusion:
Cavarero, A. (2000). Relating narratives: Storytelling and selfhood.
trans. Paul A. Kottman, London, Routledge.
Delanda, M. (2006). A New Philosophy of Society. London,
Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1987). A thousand plateaus:
Capitalism and schizophrenia. London, Continuum.
Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F. (1994) What is philosophy? New York,
Columbia University Press.
Gale, T. and Parker, S. (2012). Navigating change: A typology of
student transition in higher education, Studies in Higher Education,
Coleman, B. and Ringrose, J. (2013) (eds.) Deleuze and research
methodologies. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press.

similar documents