Investigating Subjectivity: Research on Lived Experience

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SAGE, Mar 10, 1992 - Social Science - 259 pages
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Much has been missed by social researchers in their attempt to understand the human experience as a series of rational, cognitive choices. What comes under the rubric of "lived experience" fits no researcher's model other than, in the words of one of the volume's contributors, "one damned thing after another." Human subjectivity in lived experience, both that of the subject and of the researcher, is the topic of Investigating Subjectivity, an important corrective to the cool, disdainful stance of most previous social research. The dozen contributors examine various aspects of subject--the emotions, the gendered nature of experiences, the body-mind relationship, perceptions of time, place and setting, understanding of the self--and how these elements provide a fuller understanding of the human condition, incorporating subjectivity into research requires a new set of methods--systematic introspection, self-ethnography, staged readings, poetry, stories--many of which are demonstrated in the book. It also requires a focus on mundane (minor ailments, media images, hobbies) and extraordinary (exotic trips, earthquakes, abortion experience), elements, which make up the bulk of lived experience, and how people react to these life events. Investigating Subjectivity stands out from any other books in the field because the emphasis is on research rather than theory or conceptualization. This outstanding volume is quality reading for academicians and undergraduate and graduate students in sociology, cultural studies, qualitative methods. and communication, especially those interested in emotions, narration, textual analysis, and symbolic interaction.

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About the author (1992)

Carolyn Ellis is professor of communication and sociology in the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. She is the author of Final Negotiations (1995) and The Ethnographic I (2004) and numerous autoethnographic short stories. She is also coeditor (with Arthur Bochner) of Composing Ethnography (1996), Ethnographically Speaking (2002), and the Left Coast book series Writing Lives.

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