Volume 3, No. 3, Art. 17 – September 2002

Aftermath. A Scientist's Narratives on Self and Presence

Iris Rittenhofer

Abstract: This article deals with reflections on the relations between my long-term academic employment in a second country and my scientific work. I also draw on selected reflections of emigrated scientists, whom I interviewed for a recent project.

In the beginning, I understood what I researched and experienced to be a consequence of my long-term employment in a foreign country. My attempt is to illustrate and to analyze the reflections on the processes concerning two completed projects. How did what I researched and experienced work hand in hand in changing my perspective? This leads to the central problem to be discussed in this contribution: The question at stake is not that of the character and the consequences of a long-term stay abroad. Rather, the question at stake is what it is that is narrated as a stay in a foreign country, and what therefore would turn into the source of my scientific work, which in turn would have come into existence as a consequence of the stay abroad. However, if culturally conditioned perception becomes the basis for what I experienced, the critical question will be, what is it that is narrated with a stay abroad? The processes of those reflections both led to a change of problem, and had consequences for a recent project. The result of those reflections is the development of an interview method labeled with the term cultural interviewing, a technique that is discussed in the second part of this article. In the first part, the term parallel category is introduced as central for these developments. Parallel category means that identical differences can be embodied in, for instance, time in engendering and in subjectivizing categories. In this sense, the categories of gender, subject and time are comparable within a respective context. In the illustration and in the discussion of those reflection processes, I attempt to reproduce developments, which did not happen on a linear time scale, leading me to organize this contribution in a thematic order.

Key words: gender, ethnicity, history, the experienced, time, emigration, scientist, transcript, cultural interviewing, parallel category

Table of Contents

1. Instead of an Introduction

1.1 The term "parallel category"

2. The Emigration and the Projects. A Description of Processes

2.1 Difference narrated as being-a-foreigner and gender

2.2 Foreignness and gender as parallel categories

2.3 Culture as gender and ethnicity

2.4 To experience and to research in language

2.5 A guest in one's own presence

3. Cultural Interviewing and Transcribed Culture

3.1 Transcripts as history and presence

3.2 Inclusion of those coming from a respective outside

3.3 Interview on the level of the signifier

3.4 "One always is a bit more like a guest"

4. Multiple Understanding and its Fugacity: Conclusions





1. Instead of an Introduction

In this chapter I will give a brief overview about the central themes of this article, define the term parallel category and explain the use of language, since some readers may not be familiar with it. [1]

The paths I want to describe in this article will lead from a self-evident understanding of a stay abroad as the origin of both, experience and research, to a questioning of the apparent obviousness of this causal relation. At first, I took this understanding to be self-evident. However, the stay abroad is treated as a descriptive narrative. As such, what is narrated as the stay abroad and makes the content of the narrative is not identical with the stay abroad itself. Consequently, a stay abroad is treated here as a category and as a categorization. Since the category already existed prior to my emigration as well as independent of my life, the relevant question will be: What is it that I identify and categorize with the category a stay abroad? What is it that I then may describe, narrate, experience and research as a stay abroad? If I ask instead for the categorization, two relevant questions emerge: Are there narratives in my life, which are parallel to those I narrate as a stay abroad? Do I describe those narratives with other categories, too? If so, what are those parallel categories? From this perspective, the inquiry into what I experienced was an inquiry into my research as well. Research turned out not to be separable from my experiences and as such to be experienced research. I intend to show that it is not the emigration, which changes meanings, but that significations are changed when their sources1) are perceived as a consequence of the emigration. When these sources are homogenized and naturalized as experience, they then may be narrated and researched as that. [2]

The account and analysis of those reflections is the subject of this piece. However, this article is restricted to those reflections which can be put into words, and which are inspired by reflections in those words. Necessarily, the account of these reflections and their analysis will not be a chronological but a process oriented account. It follows the development of the respective research designs, arguments and terminologies, which crisscross the research projects to be introduced in this contribution. Chronology is commonly understood as the organization of data and the analysis of correlations based on the premise of the linear time. Time, as I am going to argue here, is only one out of many embodiments of difference. The dualisms embodied in linear time make it possible to think the stay abroad as a disruption. It, too, makes it possible to think this disruption as the origin of both, what happens in and results from this second country. Thus, a chronological presentation would be inconsistent to the developments and the argumentations which I intend to show and to explain here. [3]

A further theme is the presentation and the analysis of those reflections which concern the projects and which I narrated both as a stay abroad and with a stay abroad. This analysis is followed by a discussion of the consequences of these narratives for the projects. Finally, I discuss in detail the concept of cultural interviewing which is one of the outcomes of these processes. I am going to exemplify the consequences for my studies by using the example of an excerpt of a transcript, which is a product of cultural interviewing. This excerpt illustrates that being a guest as well as its significations is rooted in a respective presence, and that it is multiplied by the fugacity of a respective presence as well as by the potentials for positioning, which are contained in the presence. Signifiers as for instance gender, ethnicity and science, which are at the center of my research interests, subjectivize multiple positioning of an always fugacious presence. Moreover, the excerpt illustrates the parallelism of subjectivizing signifiers or categories. In a final conclusion I briefly sum up on the relationship between the long-term stay in a second country and my occupation as a scientist. [4]

1.1 The term "parallel category"

The term parallel category is a result of what I researched interweaving with what I experienced and vice versa. It is one aim of this contribution to show how I developed this term and what I mean by it. A major part of this piece is organized around this term. Despite the fact that the explanation of the parallelism of the categories of my interest is a recurring topic here, I will give a brief core definition. In order to facilitate my readers' understanding, this explanation will also be illustrated by an example. I partly follow in this the definition and the examples in RITTENHOFER (2001, p.183). [5]

I first want to explain the term parallel category with the perceptions of systems of difference. These systems of difference are perceived in specific ways and are identified with certain categories. These categories become constituted, that is that they acquire contents and meanings specific to the respective con-text. In FOUCAULT-inspired discourse analysis this perception and the constitution of categories, which follows from that is an effect which may be obtained within a discursively determined frame (MILLS 1997). Parallel category means that categories are comparable on the premise that they are constituted as a consequence of diverse perceptions and identifications of bipolar hierarchical differences. This also applies to categories, which are commonly understood as being completely different, as is the case with for example quality and qualification, or publication lists and scientist. What is defined as one category and constituted as its contents, therefore cannot be characteristic, cannot be essential for this category. Furthermore, all categories have in common that they embody systems of difference. Their compatibility rests on this. [6]

As an example for one of those categories embodying difference I choose productive/ unproductive. I take outset in macroeconomic discourses, which form the frame for Danish research politics between 1970-1990. High productivity and the production of something new are very highly valued as compared to zero-productivity and other products of scientific practices. Those values of high productivity and production of something new appear in the shape of various categorizations. For example, productivity is identified with the category publication and the category highly qualified scientist. The production of something new may be upgraded as the determining benchmark of the quality of scientific practices. The quantity, not the quality of those products become the central marker of the productivity of a scientist. The quantity signified with publication lists thus turn into the definite quality of a scientist. The qualitatively best or the most qualified scientists, then, is the person who produced the largest amount of new, in the sense of further, publications. The quantity (of products) thus becomes comparable to the essential quality of the scientist. The scientist with the most extensive publication list thus may count as the very best, the extensive publications of minor things like working papers may count more than the minor number of written and edited monographs. [7]

Parallel category means that the same possible positioning (for example productivity) may be labeled with a diversity of signifiers. Further examples for parallel categories are time and space. I may narrate my life with time (presence, past) but as well as nation (home country, stay abroad). As LATHER and SMITHIES (1997) argue, labeling signifying practices enforce a changed relationship to past and present. I reflect on what I at first understood as consequences of a stay abroad in order to explore what I had signified with the narrative on a stay abroad. This makes possible the proliferation of what I may narrate as my presence, my past. Second, the parallelism of signifiers as gender or ethnicity consists in that they always and ultimately are essentializations of the dichotomies basic to Western modernity such as nature versus culture, us versus them, mind versus body. This I want to show below, too. Significations and their sources are parallel to each other. So are the diversities of the narrations on the present, which is at the heart of their fugacity. Presence itself essentializes both, a perception which is conditioned by a respective context, and the chosen, a respective possibility for positioning and labeling. Since what I perceive, narrate, signify as or with present is both, heterogeneous as well as fugacious, I also speak of the present below. [8]

The parallelism of signifiers as gender and ethnicity consists in that they always are essentializations of dichotomies central to modern western thought, such as culture/nature, us/them, mind/body. This, too, I want to show below. The meanings and their sources are as parallel to each other as are the multiple narratives of the presence, which due to their diversity bring about fugacity. Presence is an essentialization of the respective perceived possibilities for labeling and for signifying taken into consideration. Since what I identify with presence and constitute as such, as well as what I narrate as presence and the meanings I give, always is both, heterogeneous and elusive, I speak below instead of presence of the respective present. One of my intentions is to show here that that what may be experienced as a shared experience, or as an experience had before, is but a repetition of themes, which may be identified with and embodied in the term. I labeled my experience as the re-cognitions of themes. These "reiterations of themes" (LATHER 1995) are both, subjectivized and essentialized. It is this parallel embodiment in an experience, in a self, which makes it possible both, to invent the validity of an experience, and to protect it against queries. [9]

What I researched and what I experienced go hand in hand, but I no longer consider them a consequence of my occupation abroad. It is also due to my interest in poststructuralist literature, mainly in the fields of gender studies and history, that I want to describe this development in a language of poststructuralism. A brief introduction to the language use in this article might facilitate the comprehension of my argumentations. My interest in poststructuralist conceptualization and argumentations has developed as a consequence of my reflections on my stay abroad. This was my access to poststructuralism. In this sense, lived poststructuralism became a necessity of the realities of my everyday life2). Lived poststructuralism means that I am sensitized and therefore able to easily spot the structures of binaries and their significations. Lived poststructuralism expresses itself in that I try to recognize and to question dualism, as well as to replace them by a diverse other or a non-dualistic structure. Lived poststructuralism also expresses itself in that I scrutinize the absoluteness, the apparent exclusivity of dual significations and contents and try to put some diverse third in their places. Lived poststructuralism leads to multiple understandings. Having cleared up the usage of the terms, I would now like to briefly explain my language use. [10]

The terms experience, research, and understanding are polarized signifiers which signal homogeneity, lack of ambiguity and absolute exclusiveness, and which apparently contain the possibility for their accumulation. In this article, I particularly concentrate on the aspect that these terms always are positioned, situated, and parallel to each other. Moreover, since this article also concentrates on the query of matters of cause not scrutinized by many scientists, my argumentation and its presentation would become implicitly contradictory if I would maintain the common usage of these terms. This makes the attempt to de-homogenize and to denaturalize these terms a necessity. In order to be able to adhere to the fugacity of significations of contents and contained significations, I write below what I experienced instead of experience, the known instead of knowledge, what I researched instead of research, the understood instead of understanding. This language use, I hope, continues to make it apparent that these terms always are positioned and situated and ought to be seen as an attempt to avoid the essentializations of what I try to express with these words. Those terms are process-oriented and, as categories, do signal relatedness, mutability, diversity, ambiguity. It will be up to the interested reader to deem of my attempt. As SCOTT (1991) argues, language and experience cannot be separated from each other. What I knew, researched, and experienced is spoken of in language, but does not only happen as language, but as well by what possibly can be made a subject-matter of language and be put into words. This has conditioned as well as influenced my projects. [11]

2. The Emigration and the Projects. A Description of Processes

In 1991 I moved from the Federal Republic of Germany to Denmark. I brought with me a master's degree in history, philosophy as well as in German language and literature studies. I also brought with me what I used to relate to as one year of graduate studies in the US (1987-1988). In the course of a one-year supplementary education program in gender studies at the University of Aarhus I started to learn Danish. In 1994 then began what, from the position of a selective (retro-) perspective may be narrated as a scientific career. I deliberately chose the term selective in order to stress that the disposition and the partial categorization of what I have done, experienced, lived and underwent in Denmark, is homogenized in this categorization as a career, embodied in the category career, and thus can achieve meanings like for example achievement or success. [12]

Categories as signifiers determine how we understand the world (BELSEY 2001, p.302). Signifiers as my employment abroad determine how I may narrate for instance Denmark and Germany, my past and my present. This is also true for the understood, which by no means is a given, equivocal and immutable factor, and which is homogenized and naturalized when constituted as self. It is not the long term stay abroad itself which facilitated the specification and extension of my view on the multitude of possible meanings. Rather it is the reflections expressed in terms like a stay abroad, the reflections on what I have experienced and understood as a stay abroad that led me to the cogitation of the diversities of that what I—always situated and positioned—understood. [13]

The positioning in the emigration, that is in a movement into an other, as well as the positioning in the stay abroad, that is a stay in the other, did for the time being result in a connection of what already was known and familiar to me, with the stay abroad. That way, I apparently re-experienced and re-understood the already known and familiar, which turned into that which had yet to become known. What I hitherto had perceived as self-evident and accepted as taken for granted thus got scrutinized over again. My research-interest has not only been born out of those situated and positioned understandings of self. However, it is those facets of my research interests on which I will concentrate in the following. Science and research are part of those processes in which I attempt to gain meanings of what I experienced, try to understand those meanings. This does not imply, however, that the results of my research are due to what I experienced. Rather, they are the results of reflection processes which I express in terms like the experienced. [14]

That which I at first came to know as a disruption changed in the course of time into an understanding of constant movements into a respective other and from a respective other. I believe that the reason for that I at first understood and experienced the emigration in terms of disruption has to be found in first, that I wanted change. Second, that I believed that change could be achieved by emigration alone. And last, I already created pre-existing possibilities for positioning as for instance foreign country or emigration my own in order to be able to constitute the modification as a disruption. As BELSEY (2001, p.299) depicts in an impressive way, so became my own presence an element in the construction of the past. However, what I want to concentrate on here is a slightly different aspect: because I experienced the emigration as a disruption and thus enabled myself to understand Denmark as the other, it became possible for me partly to distance myself from what respectively was present to me. The thus excluded, that from which I could, wanted to distance myself became an important element in the construction of the past. What I dismissed and disclaimed became invisible in my narratives on my life and doings in Denmark, but got a prominent place where I narrated about Germany and past. What I actually did was that I equated the past and Germany, used the categories of nation and time parallel in order to be able to tell with nation and time what I wanted to dissociate from. As a consequence, I did not extend my repertoire of narratives. Instead, I modified the old narratives. However, neither alteration, nor change is evoked by the movement into a respective other. Rather, they are processes, which are made possible in the formulation of my trains of thought in varying words and in several languages. Below I would like to exemplify how these alterations occurred and what their impact was on my research and vice versa. [15]

With outset in difference, which I positioned made a possible experience with nationality, the second past, that is the past of the second country, was not my own past. Though inhabiting the present, I only saw myself as a guest in my own presence. That means, that I in the beginning understood myself as a German living in Denmark. As I came to understand later on, being a guest was not restricted to staying abroad. Being a guest can be embodied in multiple relational signifiers as nation, time or gender: as German scholar at a Danish University, as a scholarship holder with temporary employment in a scientific community of permanently employed scientists, as a woman at men's university, there are uncountable possibilities. Reflections on living and working in a space which I at first categorized as abroad and understood as the other have been the outset and the source of what I wanted to know (the research proposal), what I could know (a source for the known), how I acquired the known (research strategy) and for the extended moldings of the newly understood. This has consequences for what I may know, because it has consequences for how the known is molded and how I may understand it. [16]

2.1 Difference narrated as being-a-foreigner and gender

My first project (p1 below) was a comparative analysis of presentations of leadership within as well as of economy published in German and Danish media 1960-1990 (RITTENHOFER 1999a). The media of this time period was treated as sources of discursive knowledge. Composed in German language, the effort to make my own in the foreign and the foreign in my own comprehensible was still central to the analysis in p1. This effort was at the time of the beginning of the project already for three years an essential component of lived realities. Deduced form what I experienced, especially from on the one hand an understanding of my self as the other as well as from being perceived as the other, and on the other hand from an understanding of my self as part of the foreign as well as of the foreign as part of my self, I positioned myself between both cultures. When I look at it today, the characteristic feature of p1 is this duality. [17]

My starting point in p1 was, that conceptions of leadership and gender are expressed in language. This led me to the analysis of language as being at the core of whatever contiguity between gender and leadership might exist. This comparative dissertation project which proved to be worthy of a scholarship three years after my migration, accrued from an everyday activity: the always prevailing comparison of what at this time still meant to me the country of my origin and the foreign country of my choice. It often attracted my attention how much these two countries are alike. I felt that the societies might appear to be different, but when it came to the bottom line, they were not that different after all. Despite of the declared goal of my epistemological interest, I found it difficult to point at the similarities of those differences, that is the inter-community of what I at the beginning perceived as a difference between Denmark and Germany. To give an example, I took it for granted that Denmark as one of the Scandinavian countries had carried gender equality into effect, while Germany in this regard clearly was behind. In Denmark, not only most fathers, but also most mothers of preschool children are gainfully employed. This definitely is a difference. However, I could not make this fit with the fact that in both countries, women hold the main responsibility for both, the household and the children, and that this is once perceived as factual gender equality, and once as the very reason for the lack of gender equality. The problem in p1 was on the one hand, that I in the very outset of my project conceived both countries as being different. On the other hand, I did not recognize this assumption of difference as a position, which already existed prior to and independent of the source material compiled by me. Thus, the source material was right from the very beginning as compiled and edited as a documentation of this difference and analyzed from this perspective. Finally, this outset of the respective difference in these countries was reproduced in the analysis and in the phrasing of the results. Here, to the preexisting contents and meanings of this difference, further contents and meanings were added. I had neither thought of the fact that what I identified as the difference between two countries existed as well outside and independent of what I understood as my self. Here, this means independent of the constitution of my self as a foreigner that is as a German in Denmark, as well as independent of the constitution of the materials as foreign-Danish and as familiar-German material. [18]

In p1 I compared the change of meaning, which the relations between leader and gender had undergone. Since in p1 I moved back and forth between two languages my attention was drawn towards the shifting meanings of positioning and their possible diversities. My attention, too, was drawn to the possible positioning of signifying categories as for instance gender, foreigner, nation, science or leader and thus towards those categories being "situated" (HARRAWAY 1991). What I then was able to put into words as my results was as much rooted in my everyday thinking as in my scientific work. My results signified as much what I understood in every day life as what I researched. The diverse meanings of those societal changes in both countries narrated as gender on the one hand and as leader on the other hand are due to diversities in the predominant language use: In the Danish material it is the language of equality, while it is the language of difference that is predominant in the material from the former Federal Republic of Germany (RITTENHOFER 1999a, 2000). [19]

Divergent meanings can be ascribed to the diversity of predominant significations of relations to a respective other. This other is in the material of both countries embodied in identical categories. However, diverse meanings are constituted from it: those of equality or of inequality, respectively of superiority and inferiority. In the language of equality the other is embodied in gradual dissimilarities. In the language of difference, however, the inequality and inferiority of the respective other is legitimated by this otherness. Equality, then, exists within that which is embodied in a respective other. It could be that the coworkers are different from their bosses, or both, bosses and coworkers, are referred to as employees; in this case, bosses are signified as coworkers as well. Both languages, however, do have in common the basic structure of bipolar hierarchical oppositions. They differ from each other in the ways that these bipolar hierarchical oppositions are expressed or embodied in words. Those oppositions then either implicitly turn into a minor mater, or they appear to be the explicit core of the matters at stake. [20]

I want to illustrate this by using woman as an example. In the German material, woman embodies an explicit other, which then, for instance, legitimates unequal access to top leadership positions. In the Danish material, woman is present as an integral part of leadership and as such appears as being equal to man. As embodiment of an otherness, woman legitimates gradual differences within leadership, for instance between single owner entrepreneurs (including the owners of a corner shop) and the managing director of a large-scale enterprise; both are present as bosses of enterprises. The thus constituted community of business leaders suggests equality even of the sexes. As patterns of thought, these categories of commune equality and equal communities make it difficult to inquire into inequality and unequal opportunity and the reasons for it. [21]

In the comparative p1 I started with the analysis of the German material and then turned to the analysis of the Danish material. German was my guide, when I first moved into the Danish society. Thus, I analyzed the Danish material through the insights gained from a preliminary analysis of the German sources; I understood the Danish language only by translating it into German. This implies, that I read the Danish material in order to recognize the already known. To give an example: I read the Danish material in order to find simultaneous changes in the appreciation of criteria constituting the good leader or the components of a successful career. What I found were far-reaching consonance in the developments, even if often deferred, that is, in the comparison they emerged in the Danish material with some delay. [22]

The dialectical nature of the self-positioning in my presence, which was the point of departure for the analysis, however, resulted into that the interpretations of the texts became unclear. Because I understood the material with outset in their a priori difference, like for instance as texts of my original home country and the home country of my choice. This was especially true with regard to the similarities of the differences, which I then perceived as time displacement of the treatment of identical themes. For instance, from the mid 1980s the term "glass-ceiling" served as an widely used explanation for limited access to leadership positions. In the German sources, however, and right from the beginning of the time period at question, the most common explanation was that of a equally not permeable ceiling of concrete ("Betondecke") within organizations. This means that they were impenetrable for the self-made-men (RITTENHOFER 1999a). Family descent as requirement for access to a top leader position in free enterprises, however, was no topic in the Danish sources before 1967, and the theme was exclusively touched upon as a minor topic in one single text (AUDE in RITTENHOFER 1999a, p.302). The problem was, that my focus on similarities presumed the differentness of the other, even though when this differentness became a gradual one, for instance when phrased as time displacement. This difference seen as time displacement, then, was verbalized as a hierarchy: that the concrete ceiling first was discussed in Germany, that it was more thoroughly discussed in Germany, that Germany in this sense was more modern then Denmark. [23]

Throughout the work on this comparative project the similarities of both countries were in the foreground of my everyday and analytical interests. While I stressed similarities in the Danish material and explicitly phrased differences as variations of the same, I stressed the differences of the unequal in the German material. In this regard, I reproduced in my results the contents and the meanings which had been produced in the language of the sources: while privileged positions are explicitly legitimated in the German sources, privileges are invisible and unthinkable in the Danish sources and therefore are not in need of an explicit legitimization. However both, similarities and differences, presuppose bipolar hierarchical difference. Thus arose my interest in possible positioning which may be found in some place, which may neither be experienced through otherness nor be narrated as otherness, and which therefore cannot be taken up as proof for some fixed essential foreign or gender. This was one factor, which in my ongoing project (p3 in what follows) leads me to search for positioning which may not be displaced on to being foreign, on a specific gender, as two totally different reasons and phenomenology of this otherness. Categories are never absolute, never fixed, they are always relative, that means, to be understood in relation to each other and are as such multi-relational. These relations are often exclusively analyzed for seemingly fixed dichotomies, as for example man/woman, inland/foreign country etc. However, this way neither the fixity nor the absoluteness of the central categories like gender or nation is disrupted. Therefore, I began to gain an interest into categories seemingly very far apart from each other, like foreign and gender, and here not only on their apparent exclusivity, but on what they actually have in common. In p3 one of the questions that interests me is what the categories of foreigner, of gender do have in common, and what makes them comparable. What might it be that, in a respective context like for instance research politics that may be identified both, with gender and with foreigner, and thus becomes constitutive for both of them? [24]

2.2 Foreignness and gender as parallel categories

My second project (p2 below) was conditioned by my reflections on what I had phrased in terms of difference as the experience of myself as a foreign scientist at Danish universities. Furthermore, p2 was conditioned by the comparison of what I narrated as the differentness of US- and West-German universities from those Danish universities where I was employed. In this two-year project I looked at published Danish research politics (1970-1990) from the perspective of cultural analysis. Due to the fact that by now I was able to express my thoughts in both, German and Danish, a change of thought asserted itself in this project. As a consequence, my interest was no longer formulated as an understanding of my own as the other, the German in Denmark. My curiosity now oriented itself at an attempt to understand those worlds as part of which I saw myself, and which I had integrated into those stories, which I narrated as "my own" history. [25]

The work on p2 made me realize a problem I had confronted in every day life: No matter how much effort I had put into in those first years into distancing myself from the image of the Germans with which I was frequently confronted, the respective perception of Denmark as a homogeneous unity remained untouched. In p2 I tried to meet this problem, that the deconstruction of one category, like for instance the categorization of quality criterion as woman, every single time implied the reproduction of the absolute and unquestionable reality of another category, like for instance those quality criteria, which are categorized as sciences. To explore the essence of this differentness generated by categories became my central concern. It resulted into the definition of categories apparently very far apart from each other by their common characteristics, as well as into the definition of their respective relations as the parallelism of those signifiers (RITTENHOFER 2001b, 2003). [26]

Media was also the source of p2, but this time as source of remembered culture and of the culturally remembered. The project was limited to the Danish material. The reason for this choice was not a loss of my interest in comparative work. Rather, this was due to Danish research politics and the resulting formulation of a research program3), which wanted the problems of selection processes at universities and their causes to be understood and analyzed at national, social and gender level. [27]

In p2 the dissociations emerging from difference as a mode of thought were put aside. Now gender—and no longer woman—and research politics were at the center of my research interest, and thus necessarily scientists and research as well. Chronology became nothing but a mere tool for locating and a primary organization of the source material. Chronology no longer meant a self-reproducing causality. Following Joan SCOTT's definition of history (1991), the contents of the sources were understood as parallel narratives. Even the distance between the subject of the researcher and the research object became less distinct; since the presentation of both, research as well as of scientists and their conditions became a subject-matter of analysis. [28]

I started to work on p2 in 1998. I analyzed, what perceptions were at the bottom of Danish research politics, and what these perceptions consisted of. Important was my interest in the mutual constituting relations between gender and research politics. The interest in the similarities of the differences and the different-nesses of the similar continued to be central to my scientific work. This time, however, it was not the transgression of a difference embodied in nation, but the transgression of difference of categories apparently very far apart from each other—like gender and university, man and woman. Not only did I concentrate on the similarities of identical categories, like for instance those of nation. Primarily I focused on the points of contact and similarities of categories apparently very far apart from each other, on where and how they merged (RITTENHOFER 2001a). Among other results, I ended up looking for a third position, that is a position which did not exist in this form prior to its categorization and which offered alternatives to the thinking in differences. [29]

In p2 I developed the term the magnet gender. The term decentralizes gender and visualizes that not everything and all the time is narrated with or as gender. Only under certain conditions, the presuppositions and consequences of research politics either may be thought as gender or narrated with gender. Those conditions are described in RITTENHOFER (2001). If research politics are narrated with gender, preconditions and consequences of this research politics are categorized with gender—but this is by no means an exclusive categorization. If research politics is thought as gender, these politics are provided with an origin, an unalterable and ultimate cause. This does not mean that research politics are rooted in gender, that research politics are an outcome of gender difference. Even gender being at the heart of my scientific interest, it became apparent that gender was not central to research politics in the time period at question. Just as the analysis of and the writings on the relations between the long term scientific work in a second country and what I researched and experienced are central to this contribution. This equals, that the stay in a second country is central to what I experienced and researched. The parallelism of the categories became rephrased. [30]

I want to illustrate this with an outset in the example of gender. A limitation of the analysis to the question what is narrated as gender, would not give the opportunity to abolish the meaning of gender being at the core, being the origin of the problem at stake. Thus, it would merely open the eyes of the scholar for the diversity of the possible contents of this category. I became aware that what is narrated as gender, not exclusively is narrated as gender. University fields, which by the end of my time period were thought as women's fields, were by the beginning of the 1980s still mentioned as unemployment fields, and by the end of the 1970s as fields of mass education. This led me to describe the relation of categories like woman, unemployed and mass as parallel. Those categories are the result of a development, as a consequence of which fields like the humanities in the 1970s only were perceived as mass subjects. In the course of the 1980s, those fields were perceived as both, mass subjects, unemployment subjects and women's subjects. I modified my problem, which, too, changed my view on my stay abroad. If something was told as, for instance, gender, then the next question is what it is that is narrated with categories like for instance gender, what is made understandable this way? If productivity is narrated as gender, then gender productivity becomes the core, the essence of gender. If, however, productivity is told with gender, then gender may be analyzed as one out of a number of possible identifications of such productivity within a certain context. What is labeled as gender, as mass, as unemployed in the narratives on the mass universities, thus turn out to be metamorphosis of a narrative at the core of the Danish research politics: the narrative on the ivory tower university. What is told with gender, but not with gender alone, I labeled "engendered modernities" (RITTENHOFER 2001b). [31]

The reformulation of my research problem had further consequences. I had to rethink my self-perception, the conception of my self. I was forced to differentiate between a construction of my self as for instance an emigrant, which implied some sort of essence in terms of being a German, the other German or the other foreigner, and between a construction of my self with emigrant. With the processes discussed here I attempt to show that it was this that made it possible for me to reflect on what it was I had labeled with emigrant, and what this meant for my relationship with what I experienced and researched. I began as well to differentiate between the subject (to narrate as self) and subjectivization (to narrate with self) as well as between possible subjectivization (what I perceive and may narrate with self, but not exclusively with self). As memory is embodied language (DAVIES 2001), so is what is narrated as self language embodied in the self. This language, however, is not embodied in this self alone. Considerations as these had consequences for the development of the concept of cultural interviewing. They made it necessary as well to change the original design of an ongoing research project.4) [32]

Feruh YILMAZ (1999, p.177) describes in terms of ethnicity, how the binary opposition us and them constructs a certain reality in the Danish media. According to him, subject positions are defined prior to the subject in question. Thus, in the Danish media the foreigner in question appears to be identical with a subject position foreigner which, however, does exist prior as well as independently to a specific person. However, the exclusivity of YILMAZ argumentation turns this fact into an essential characteristic of ethnicity. Ethnicity, then, is a subject position which can only and exclusively be mounted in the guise of ethnicity. That this, however, cannot be the case, can be exemplified with cases where the category of foreigner is brought to a person within its home country who is not foreign at all, but whose looks are perceived as being foreign, ethnic, the other. Examples like these may show that it is possible to subjectivize as ethnic or national even then when the respective person at question cannot be spoken about as ethnic or national. YILMAZ argumentation reproduces cultural essentialization. [33]

As for me, YILMAZ argument is a valuable one, if I do rethink it from the perspective of the parallel category. In this case, the possibilities for positioning have to be seen independent of the subject of interest. Both, subject and ethnicity would have to be rethought as possible subjectivizations. However, perceptions5) of discursive formations (FAIRCLOUGH 1984) determine the possibilities for positioning which do exist independently of those possible subjectivizations. Furthermore, the exclusivity of subjectivizations as subject, as ethnicity, as nation, as one gender has to be abandoned and to be extended by a diversity of possibilities, which might as well emerge in the shape of subjectivizations like those being at the heart of my interest, i.e. gender, self, etc. [34]

What my reflections on the results defined for p2 made clear to me was that those positions I re-cognized were subjectivized positions. However, neither could I identify with the subjectivization itself, nor could I construct it as my self. The subject position had been defined ahead of the subject. This means as well, that the subject could adopt diverse moldings of which some, but not all corresponded with the moldings of my self. This was the case where categories were brought to me or offered to me. However, this is by no means limited to the categories of gender alone. Dorte Marie SØNDERGAARD (1996) makes this way of categorizing the sole definition of gender. She describes this categorization as a consequence of the sign on the body. However, since this perception always is selective, positioned and situated, I instead speak of the sign as body, in terms of the sign being embodied in the unifying category of the body. I speak here with reference to my argumentation on embodiment. In order to avoid the predefinition of positions, for instance, as a subject or as gender, in order to make the diversities of possible essentializations subject for reflections, I speak of subjectivizations. In this definition, engendering is one out of many possible subjectivizations. [35]

Already in my first project it was one aim of the analysis to avoid the naturalizing reproduction of categories. As I can see now, I did not succeed with that. In p2 I concentrate on those aspects where the categories of my interest merge, as it is the case in the example on quality mentioned above (RITTENHOFER 2003). The question of what categories apparently very far apart, as, for instance, gender and university, might have in common cannot clearly be separated from what I experienced and realized, that is to be an ethnic non-Dane and a woman and being employed in the Danish scientific community. Since the end of the 1970s, this scientific community has both generally and more specific for certain branches within women's studies been spoken of as men' university or as male space (GOMARD & REISBY 2001). In published research politics, this scientific community has been almost exclusively displayed as Danish. In other words, I was an integrated part of something I could constitute as the other in diverse ways. [36]

Thus, it was a given possibility to narrate my self as other for then to be able to continue with distancing my self from what I despite of everything had become an integrated part of. To give an example, I could continue to constitute my self as an inter-disciplinary scholar that applies for research funding within disciplinary financing systems or who applies for university positions explicitly advertised and outlined within a traditional field. Additionally, in some of these ads knowledge displayed as national knowledge is explicitly required (for instance Danish history, Danish literature, Danish law, Danish labor market etc.). This required knowledge, then, obtains the meaning of something outstanding and is signified as qualification of excellence required for a successful candidature. That means, that I could continue to position my self in a positioned otherness and in the gradual exclusion. Gender, expertise or emigration labeled as the experienced, then, had to be the cause and the origin for this otherness. This positioning of my self generated the original outset for the design of p3. The perception of this positioning of my self changed from a view on my positioning as self-conception to an understanding of what I narrated with self. This contributed to the changes made in the design of p3. [37]

2.3 Culture as gender and ethnicity

In 2000 I started to work on my ongoing research project (p3 in what follows) dealing with interviews. At the center of the original project design was the analysis of what it means to emigrate as a scholar and to be occupied in a scientific position in Denmark. In the original design, gender, expertise and being a foreigner were made the center of otherness: as the woman at the men's university, as the scholar in the social sciences, as the German in Denmark. The original core was that I had looked at my gradual otherness not only as a consequence of what I understood as self. I, too, looked for the origins of this gradual otherness in a collective other. This collective other was not considered to be a factual community; rather, it was defined as a perception for common traits constituted by a collective other. This definition was inspired by Benedict ANDERSSON's (1991) book, in which nations were defined as "Imagined communities." This homogenizing perception of common traits, then, allows the gradual exclusion of individuals on the basis of the imagination of a community of women, of researchers in gender studies, of scientists, of Danes, whatever. This imagination of a community is supported by the fact that gender, ethnicity, and professions are thought of in the language of equality. Thus, later on the working title of the project was modified into: Cultures of Imagined Communities. One reason among others was that the original working title implied a relation between a cultural essence of gender and ethnicity towards research which commonly is not understood as a subjectivizing category and therefore not as an essence, however defined. [38]

At this place, I believe there is a need for a brief explanation of why I in p3 relate the categories of research and of the scientist to gender, ethnicity and culture. As I have mentioned above, the distinction between science and research is of central importance for Danish research politics between 1970 and 1990 as well as for recent research politics in Denmark. In this regard, science has been devalued in a double sense: as elitist publicly financed sector for not being close enough to the people, and as not being people-friendly for not being worthy of a democracy. Bounded against research, science is perceived as useless, as being of no use for Danish economy, especially not for exports. A limited recognition is given to those sciences whose basic research results can be used by research and be turned into products suitable for export. It also has to be mentioned that university and science to a large extent are equated. [39]

The results of p2 got into their recent shape after p3 originally was designed (autumn 1999), and after I had started on the preliminary work with p3. Now I saw myself confronted with the consideration that both, abroad and the status as a foreigner, neither was necessarily central for what I experienced, nor for what my future interview partners had experienced. In this case the question had to be whether my future interview partners would narrate what they experienced with the categories of my interest, and given that, what it actually was that was narrated with ethnicity, gender, research and science. [40]

The choice of these categories is conditioned by the categories through which I have experienced my worlds. This choice is as well the result of what I researched in p1 and p2: first the parallelism of categories apparently very far apart from each other. Second, the fact which has been researched in both projects, namely that it is quite common in this country to discuss the allocation and the spreading of top positions in terms of gradual differences between both sexes as well as between fields (scholars, natural scientists, technologists). When it comes to universities, those differences in the allocation of top positions between the fields, too, are discussed as a difference between science and research. The parallelism of gender and ethnicity, which is the outset of p3, is based on considerations on whether, how and when I construct foreigner as self, and vice versa, whether, how and when I construct my self with foreigner. Those reflections are similar to those on the re-cognition of positions displayed as gender. [41]

In p3, to explore the relation between ethnicity, gender and science as constituted in language was at the center of my research interest. The question is not, what the consequences of being a foreigner are for research and science, or other way around, what science and research mean to the self-image of a foreigner. Instead, the relevant question is what respectively is narrated as ethnicity, as gender, as science, and what it is that makes those categories look like being the precondition for the narratives. Furthermore, what it is that under which circumstances is narrated with those three categories, what it is that is preserved in, for instance, the contents of these categories. In p3, my sources are interviews with sixteen scientists with permanent residence in Denmark. I will discuss the composition of this group more extensively below. In the second part of this contribution, p3 will be extensively discussed as an example for two main points of interest: how the reflections made possible by the long term stay in a second language6) have influenced my research, and how they are intertwined with what I already had researched. What I researched, too, is elusive—it changes its meanings in the course of further scholarly work. To give an example for the elusiveness of what I researched: the homogenizing and absolute term discursive knowledge, which I developed in p1 as a central term, has been altered into the process oriented term the discursively known or knowable. [42]

As I have tried to point out above, p1 and p2 differ from each other in that that my positioned interpretations of cultural artifacts have inspired me to take three aspects into consideration: First, that these interpretations consist of a diversity of dual relationships, second that there is something at the core of these relations, and third it is necessary to penetrate the reproduction of these dualisms. While the analysis of p1 still stayed within dualisms, I have actively attempted to penetrate this frame in p2. [43]

In my Ph.D.-thesis (p1) I positioned myself both, as woman and as German. I considered the material to be a source giving access to a knowledge on how powerful and successful women have been perceived in contemporary history, how this perception of these women might have changed in the time period at question, and how these perceptions of successful women might differ in both, Germany and Denmark. As a consequence of p2 it became clear to me that I identified myself with positions marked as, for instance, woman. I myself put my interest in the question of how being-a-woman and leader position have been related to each other on the same level with both, the centrality of the being-a-woman for business leaders, and the ways in which woman business leaders possibly might be perceived. Accordingly, the starting point for the original design of p3 was that being-a-foreigner was supposed to be at the center of how foreigners are perceived within the scientific communities. Looking back at p1 I suppose that this project, too, was an attempt to acquire meanings and explanations of my own personal history which so far had been unknown to me and hidden for me. I assume that this played a part in the fact that I decided to work with the most recent history, since this period conceptualized as most recent history coincides the space of my own lifetime respectively the history of my own life. [44]

It is not the occupation abroad that is ordinary and everyday life. It rather is everyday life experienced as occupation abroad, which on the one hand confronts me on multiple levels with constant interpretations, on the other hand allows me to question my own positioning. The reading of texts as originated in respectively my own country or the country of my choice embodies the meanings of their contents and the contents of those meanings in the own. The parallelism of signifiers as profession or gender became clear to me when I discerned in p2 that those contents were not identical with those categories alone, but that those contents could subsume other categories as well. The signification of difference in the profession became repeatedly cloudy when traits, abilities and actions of the "good" German and Danish business leader during the work on p2 turned out to be those, too, which constituted the "good" Danish researcher and scientist. So did the signification of difference in the engendering, when I as a scientist and woman could identify with positioning, which is symbolically is identified with masculinity, or when an identification with feminized positions was not possible. An example taken from p1 is the willingness to take risks, which exclusively appears in versions where risk-taking is labeled masculine, or where the lack of self-confidence and correspondingly a lacking will for success exclusively is drawn on in order to characterize women. [45]

It attracted my attention in both p1 and p2 that some traits, abilities and actions are exclusively narrated as masculine and are embodied in man, but were still recognized by me as my own. However, it often was the case that I could not find myself in those traits, abilities and actions exclusively ascribed to women. That made gradual differentiation a possibility: to perceive my self as the "other" woman or as not being a "real" woman, or to differentiate being-a-woman and look at it from the perspective of diversity. However, in that case I would not have cracked gender dualism. Therefore I looked for ways to escape the apparently central causality of gender. In order to do so, it turned out to be necessary to differentiate between difference as signifying structure and difference as cultural essence. Gender dualism turns into a cultural essence if, for instance, the characteristic of gender and the content of the category is defined as a discourse (RITTENHOFER 1997), or when biological substantiations of gender difference are counteracted by the argument that biology has to be regarded to be a product of culture; hence, biological argumentation has to be understood as culture instead of as nature and thus as opposed to culture (BOCK 1991). These types of reasoning change the character, the essence or what is perceived as the respective core of such an essence. However, they do not change the essentialization itself. [46]

Based upon p2, my starting point in p3 was that the multiple possibilities for cultural essentialization were not a problem of gender studies or the category of gender alone. I assumed that the dualistic differentiation between sex and gender, which has been fundamentally criticized by among others SCOTT (2001), finds its parallel in the differentiation between nation and ethnicity: both dichotomies (and not only the gender dichotomy as criticized by SCOTT) are essentializations of the basic dualisms nature and culture, body and mind. As sex is a precondition for gender and gender is en element of sex (SCOTT 2001), so is nation an element of ethnicity and ethnicity an element of nation, culture an element of nature and nature an element of culture. This consideration, too, contributed to that I treated ethnicity, gender and research/science as parallel categories in p3. The interesting question is then, when which of the categories is applied, what it is that is narrated with them, in other words, what are the similarities between them within a concrete body of material. Accordingly, I made it explicit for p1 how my positioning in the other might be described as time or as nation (abroad and presence, country of origin and past), and how I might essentialize nation in terms of difference in language use in the sources and in culture. At the same time, I essentialize it as difference in physical space and such as nature in culture. Accordingly I foreigner-being both, in the differences between languages, and in time as well as in space. Interestingly, one result of p2 was that basic dualisms or modernisms ultimately (as well as paradoxically) were embodied both, in research and in science. [47]

In turn, those insights changed my perspective on the negative experienced, that is on situations, where the categories of the foreigner, of the German, were demanded of me. The categories of the foreigner or of the German make it possible, for instance, to settle argumentations or critique in the other and in the foreign. Thus, the own may be negated. In situations like these, I is equaled with what is defined with the other and what is predefined as the foreigner and the German. It then is possible to perceive I as the embodiment of the other. This equation of body and culture means that one part is defined by the other part and thus essentialized. However, what is perceived as body is embodied culture. Even if the goal was to create sources for the analysis of what it is that is narrated with ethnicity, in the original design of p3 I still connected the physical presence of foreign scientists with the question of what in a given case is narrated as ethnicity. The way I intended to work with gender and science/research was congruent with this. This would have meant that I would have reproduced a cultural essentialization in which I had anticipated foreigner-being, woman-/man-being as absolute unities. However, I would not have been able to distinguish them from neither the narratives as ethnicity or as gender, nor from what is narrated with ethnicity or with gender. Due to the choice of interviewees and due to the composition of the interview, the essence of those cultural essentializations would have been interviewed culture. I discuss the necessary changes in the design of p3 in depth below. Those changes led me to develop the concept of cultural interviewing. [48]

Until the point where I emigrated myself, foreigners to me always were the others. To my surprise I had to discover that it would have been possible for me to hold on to this position after my emigration, too. In Danish media, published presentations of foreigners very rarely characterize them as Europeans, as highly qualified professionals, but mainly as Arabs, as illiterates, as unemployed, as criminals—none of those signifiers were embodied in my self. Here, too, the possibility did exist to choose gradual differentiation. I could understand myself as the other in the other, as the other foreigner (corresponding to, for instance, the other woman) and thus go on with an understanding of myself as embodiment of the foreign or I could choose to explore the feasibility of a third positioning. [49]

An important aspect of the idea of objectivity is the unequivocal separation between the subject of the researcher and the object of what I researched. This clarity can be created by further formations of difference, too, if those are categorized as the foreigner, who works with materials of the inland, or as the German, who investigates into Danish material, etc. However, neither being-a-researcher nor being-a-foreigner can be a guarantee for objectivity in the sense of a aloofness labeled as science. On the other hand, this aloofness cannot be a condition of lived science, either. What is to be researched cannot be separated from the already researched, present not from past, second country not from first country, the global not from the local, being a part of something not from being alien to it, since the definition of being a part presumes a respective other, and that means difference. Thus, exclusion becomes thinkable. Time and nation, man and woman are parallel categories, by which separation lines both are created and embodied, essentialized, naturalized. Those categories are parallel, and their parallelisms become visible if one asks for what it is that is told with time and space every time, when something is essentialized with time and space. To give an example for the parallelism of time and space: a stay abroad can be narrated with past and present and thus be positioned in time, and it can be narrated with home country and country of my choice and thus be positioned in space. Both, time and space embody differences, meaning bipolarized oppositions. [50]

2.4 To experience and to research in language

In p2, the second foreign language, the foreign second language and the mother tongue, including the cultural values and meanings of content contained in those languages, inhered special meanings for the analysis. This is neither to be understood as a positioning in the imagination of nations, nor as a positioning in the related imagination of the diversity of nations and the values and meanings continuing to live inside of them. The language diversity combined with what I experienced and what I researched contributed to multiple understandings and the multiplication of the understood. It became visible where the comparison like, for instance, in p1 explicitly became both, method and source for cognition, but also where multiple understanding became an implicit element of the interpretation of first- and second language texts. It contributed to the cognition of similarities, which are narrated in multiple ways, which get multiple meanings, and which lead me to the formulation of the results of p2. [51]

When I started working on p2 I had already lived in Denmark for eight years. At that point, it was no longer necessary (since a long time) for me to understand the Danish material through the German material. The choice of my source material for the project on business leaders (p1) had turned out to be a big advantage. My reading of thirty years of media publications on this subject had improved my language abilities, especially my vocabulary and my expressive abilities to an astonishing degree. [52]

For my first project the draft was in German and by the time I published on the second project I was using the Danish language. What was giving was not that I can express reflections in more than one language, for that would mean that reflections are independent of the language in which they are phrased. Whereas it was a given that I not only was able to express myself in various languages, but also to think in these languages, which was due to my long term stay in a second language and in other languages. Thus, the possibilities for expressible reflections became extended. The long term scientific work in a second country lead to a duplication of the signifying practices being available to me. The multitude of the reflections resulted from my movements between as well as within various languages. It enriched my scientific work. [53]

As Georg SIMMEL (1999, p.687) explained, languages express processes of thought which develop in words, but not through words. However, language determines how we may think, and what might be thought. Different languages make the formulation of varying processes of thought possible. Processes of thought and their results may be changed, if they are thought in another language, as becomes obvious when translating scientific work into another language. Understanding, researching happen with language. However, they do not happen as language: What I researched and experienced are not identical with language. Hence, what I researched and experienced does not come into existence through language. My own language, as well as being conscious of having a language of my own, changed while I researched, but also through the adoption of a second language in my life. This new second language changed character as time went by: what I at first perceived as a language foreign to me, became one of my own languages. In this sense, it is not the foreign language that becomes a language second to my mother tongue. It is the language I actually not use in a certain moment and in a certain situation that becomes the respective second language. [54]

During the work on p1, some problems came into existence caused by the use of several languages: I wrote p1 in German, discussed it mainly in Danish, and finally defended the thesis in English. In the German material, the language of polarized delimitations is predominant. When I translated it into the language of equality which shaped the Danish material, problems like that of inequality suddenly changed. Especially in the first years in Denmark, the shift between Danish and German languages gave me a hard time, not because of a lack of language competence, but because my question was altered or even disappeared when I wanted to explain or to discuss a question thought in German language in Danish. [55]

A working hypothesis from p1 may serve as an example for this phenomenon: a certain culturally determined attitude towards women was at the core of women's supposedly lesser usefulness and their wide exclusion from top positions. Thus, I assumed a culturally conditioned perception to be a determinant for gender inequality. Translated into Danish, however, this hypothesis became blurred: if a language rests on categories of equality, if the respective other is embraced by and an integral part of categories of equality, then the exclusion can only be thought as a relative marginalization and as an element of what it is excluded from. But in this case, inequality cannot be phrased in terms of a hierarchical exclusion, the character of inequality becomes blurred (with reference to RITTENHOFER 2000). The problem had to be reformulated and thus redefined. [56]

On the other hand, there were difficulties like these that in the long run contributed to the development of an understanding: that woman and exclusion respectively marginalization neither explicitly nor implicitly could be equated. Quite simply, that the genesis of exclusion and marginalization is not rooted in gender. Instead, differences which may be enunciated as gender are a consequence of selections- and marginalization processes whose origins have to be looked for external to gender. This insight considerably contributed to the development of a terminology in p2 and was in p3 further developed: it was extended to categories as ethnicity or science. Exclusion, however, is no essence of these categories, however this essence might be defined. Exclusion becomes an essence and a legitimization as soon it becomes embodied in one of those categories. Thus, it became a necessity to break one of the paradoxes which was an integrated part in the original design of p3: Originally, the marginalization of foreign scientists was a central theme, but only those scientists who currently were actively employed in paid positions within the undertaking of the Danish science world. The subject was altered: instead of focusing on the exclusion or marginalization of insiders, I chose to focus on the inclusion of those which come from the outside. This Coming-From-An-Outside was categorized in multiple ways, not limited at all on a categorization as gender, as foreigner. This had consequences for the choice of interviewees, which I want to discuss below. [57]

What I may know is instituted through the imposition of language and as such culture. The same is true for experience. Diversities, changes, contradictions of what I experienced and researched are conditional on that. They are easier to be known by the lived and experienced variety of the languages and are brought forward by a thinking in the words and in the meaning systems of several languages. It might be that this is conditioned by the broad similarities and dissimilarities, the dissimilar similarities of Danish and German culture: it is not primarily what can be experienced that is altered by the diversity of languages, since signifiers are molded in the same way. Rather, what is altered is how experience can be made. What is then experienced thus is modified and gains new meanings. [58]

The examples given above are meant to explain that understandings do not happen as language, but with language. In my case, understandings come about both, in the language of equality as well as in the polarizing language of difference. It turned out that the central point for my scientific work was the insight that understanding happen either, through equality, through inter-community, or through difference. Cultures do not own a language, neither are they identical with language. To describe culture by language means that the same culture can be understood as diverse languages or as facets of the diversities and contradictions of those languages. The structures of equality or of the polarized differences, if narrated as national language, turn into the different characteristics of two nations. However, if one asks instead what can be told through a language, then it becomes possible that the same signifiers and narratives can be told in more languages, that is in more than one way. The differences I pointed out in p1 between Danish and German language is are not limited to the signifiers central for p1, that is nation, gender, leader, but it is true for arbitrary signifiers. Since I until now did not understand language itself as a signifying category, those parallelisms at first had not been accessible to me. [59]

In scientific literature, those characteristics described by me as Danish and German language, too, appear described as premodernity and modernity, or even as those of two different models for sex (LAQUEUR 1992). Often it is underlined that what is described as premodernity and modernity, as one-sex or as two-sex-model might have come into existence at different times. However, they coexist. This thought of coexistence, too, might be applied on the source material in p1: What may be described as the coexistence of modernity and premodernity, may as well be described as the difference of two nations. That means that nation and gender, too, may be understood as parallel categories. Furthermore, it may mean that the systems of difference expressed in the language of the sources is not characteristic at all for those categories which are at the center of this discussion. Due to that, I increasingly read and analyzed texts as parallel moldings of systems of difference, which reduced diversities. [60]

2.5 A guest in one's own presence

What I researched has consequences for what I experienced. When I turn into embodiments of the other, my story is not remolded retrospectively. Nor is it given new contents. Instead, one out of many possible stories with many possible contents is molded. [61]

If, for instance, my professional career is told as the story of a woman who pushed her way in the male domain of science, my past turns into the story of the success of the other, into the successful overcoming of the handicap of otherness which is embodied with woman. Even with other sign, the same story can be told with ethnicity, as the story of the German and her scientific career in Denmark. The same story, however, can be told as a failure, too: as the story of a woman, who did not achieve university employment, was not able to gain ground in men's university. In terms of an occupant of a number of temporary project positions, she, too, is nothing but a guest in her own presence—the presence of the working place university. [62]

My project made me realize the contents of gender, that is what we tell with gender or by using the category of gender. The examples given in the last paragraph illustrate how my story is molded and gains meanings created in the very moment when they are told. As mentioned above, what is told with gender is not told with gender alone. P2 showed me that the stories of a limited or lacking success can be transformed into a success-story if told as the story of free marked competition and the repeatedly successful competition on the financial resources administrated by the Danish Research Council. Reading free marked competition and the liberalization of the access to research funding as stories central to the legitimation of restrictive Danish research politics, the university position would be quite the opposite, that is public welfare and thus non-competitive. It would be the university position, which would signify a limited success. [63]

The contents of these stories turn into my multiple presence and thus gain meanings hitherto unknown to me and contribute to an advanced understanding. For example, only in p2 it became clear to me that the insecurities being an inevitable element of employment in third-party funded projects may be counted as a bigger success than a regular university position. In the narrative with ethnicity the handicap to be overcome is no longer being a woman, but the successful overcoming of differences of language and culture, or the enrichment of Danish science by precisely those differences, which then turn into a gainful supplement. As p2 showed me, the overcoming of differences of language and culture can be narrated from the perspective of a woman, as well be narrated with woman, even if, for instance, university life is described as men's culture, the language of science as men's language. A woman researcher thus may be seen as an enriching supplement to university culture (female modes of communication, women's adaptability to languages), because differences in culture and language are told through woman. This is the case where those differences turn into the basis for demands on the employment of women in scientific positions. In this case, the implicit goal is an enrichment of university science by supplementing it with the other. Here, I think of the report "Gender equality in research" [Ligestilling i forskning] issued for the Danish Ministry of Research. [64]

Those categorizations, too, partly became my self in relations to others, partly I already described them as my self. If the other is molded as woman or foreigner, and if I as the other am signified as culture-being, then culture turns into the contents of the categories of foreigner or woman and thus into their characteristic. As opposed to that, the respective others (Danes, men) are not culture, but do have a culture. Here, what is repeated is the opinion expounded as problem by gender studies, that woman are a gender while men have a gender. And it turns into the past, if emigration is conceptualized as a new beginning. Since the past is not congruent with the present, I in this sense, too, turn into a guest. What is narrated with ethnicity, gender and competition in research, what turns into stories of failure or success, before that were stories told by me about me, stories which I attached importance of something personal. If these narratives turn into narratives of my person, whether told by myself or by somebody else, a story positioned becomes my story, my presence, strange contents turn into own contents, the own turns into the strange and thus into something of peripheral significance. This way, parallel narratives of my self and of my lived emerged. They made it clear to me that my own past and present blur, that the strange past in a multiple understanding is the own present. The categories of first and second country as embodied in the category of nation, turn out to be categories parallel to past and present, to foreigner and to native residents. [65]

Thus, the question that arose my interest in p3 is not: What can be experienced? Rather, the interesting questions are: What can be categorized and narrated as the experienced? How is it told? Which categories are used to embody what? Which effects maybe obtained by this, that is, how do they signify and thus give meaning to the stories? [66]

3. Cultural Interviewing and Transcribed Culture

3.1 Transcripts as history and presence

In consequence, the parallelism of signifiers led me to the conception of p3. I already mentioned that p3 is based on interviews. However, it is not the interviews themselves, but the transcripts of the interviews which provide the grounds for further analysis. Here, I want to argue in favor of the multidisciplinary status of those transcripts. Transdisciplinary work is a consequence of those processes I attempted to show above. It, too, is a consequence of my training as a historian. Therefore, I reflected on the scientific work with interviews, since interviews in a conventional view might not be considered to be proper data material for historical science. [67]

In the completed projects, my sources were historical texts. However, despite their historicity, these text turn into the present when I attach certain meanings to them: like, for instance, as a window into the essence of what I had experienced and signified as second country, or if I use those sources in order to gain new meanings of the story of my own life for then to be able to tell it in new ways. This, too, is an example for history turning into lived presence. The past turns into the current, the current into the traditional. Those meanings only emerge in the presence of an analysis of current historical source material and of sources present as historical. [68]

The parallel developments of the narratives of what I experienced and understood allow me not only to consider the material of the projects designed as history projects on leaders, research politics and gender as being current material. The interview material of my ongoing research project, can also be considered a historical source for material. Common for all three projects is the pursuit of a multitude of signifying practices in the analysis. [69]

Transcripts as well as sources designated as historical have in common that the boundaries between the research-object and the researcher-subject cannot be drawn unequivocally. Transcripts are interpretations of those data created by me. Transcripts are interpretations of the data created by me, composed by a choice of interviewees, themes and questions. Based on tape recordings, the transcripts are written by a third party and analyzed by me. Who, then, is the originator of those sources? Here, as it is true in historical science, the scientist attaches both, importance and, by means of perception and position, contents to the sources: s/he chooses the problem, and collects material according to criteria assigned by herself. S/he composes the material and, by the way she composes it, confers certain meanings to it. It is in the analysis itself that those "creata"7) become the embodiment of possible answers to these questions. It is in the analysis the "creata" turn into a body of text which mediates the illusion of unity as well as homogeneity. [70]

Here as well the question for the origin of meanings and contents mediated as results can neither be answered in unequivocal, universal and separated categories, nor in terms of individual subjectivity or subjective individuality of the originator of both, the sources and the results. As is the historian, so is the interviewing researcher a designer of her own sources and as such of the foundation for the analysis, which embodies a past determined and produced by herself. These questions have been discussed by historians inspired by poststructuralism. However, they and their theoretical foundations are hardly implanted in the scientific work of historians.8) [71]

Based on this, transcripts, too, are historical sources. Historical as well as transcribed sources are from a number of viewpoints parallel to each other, also regarding the way they come into existence. Both may be considered to be a result of what BELSEY (2001) labeled a construction of personal relations which serve the interest of the scientist. When perceiving transcripts as the narrated, then they are parallel to the time when the interview was taking place. This is the case, even if what constitutes the content of the narrative that sometimes happened half a year ago or sometimes thirty years ago. The narrated is parallel to the transcribed narrative. Whatever it is that is narrated, it is mediated in narratives. Those narratives do no embody a self. Instead, they are language embodied in the transcript. As such, they do not allow access to an individual subject as they are embodied in the figure of the interviewee. [72]

3.2 Inclusion of those coming from a respective outside

In my source material on twenty years of Danish research politics I only found a half a dozen of scientists made visible as ethnic non-Danes within Danish research communities. Next to the scientifically recognized and life-historically known, there also was a moment of irritation about what is invisible in the source material: ethnic non-Danish minorities, women or certain scientific fields, despite of all of them making numerous highly qualified and valuable contributions to society. This irritation, too, led me to the outline of the ongoing project. Here, too, the perspective of the parallelism of categorizing signifiers came to bear. These designated national strangers are disproportionately considered as criminals who cannot be integrated into the society. These engendered strangers present either problems or contribute necessary, but not satisfactory supplements for instance to the economy or science. There are fields in the scientific research that are designated for the outsiders, which are seen as economically unproductive and therefore lack societal relevance. [73]

The categorization of positioned relations is discursively mediated. It gives meaning to categorizations as gender, research, ethnicity and evokes homogenizing perceptions of clearly distinguishable communities. At the same time, the meaning of the inclusive exclusivity of those communities is reproduced. Through this, the perception of the homogeneity of those privileged within a society (researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs) as well as of privileged communities is nourished. The differences between categories are thus produced. They may then be essentialized as barriers. The imagined communities of a "we," however categorized, create a distance to a respective other, which is excluded from this community. If this difference is understood as gender or as ethnicity, then the distance between an imagined community and a equally imagined other gain meaning as, for instance, a barrier, or as exclusion. [74]

Thought as parallels, however, the imagined communities may as well mean a (always) positioned inclusion of those, which in a multiple sense "come from the outside." This means, that communities as those of university researchers may be characterized with outset in both, communities of the other, and a multiple "coming from the outside." [75]

To pick inclusion out as a central theme results from the understood as well as from what I experienced: the focus on exclusions reproduces systems of difference in their diverse categorizations, legitimating and naturalizing them. Often, exclusion gains legitimating meanings when treated as ethnicity, as gender and as science, thus embodying them. This conceptual necessity, too, follows from a point made by LATHER and SMITHIES (1997, p.196): "Any act of exclusion can preface exclusion based on ... whatever is identified as danger at a given moment of history." This, too, is true if exclusions and their cultural essentializations are picked as a central theme. In the Danish enterprise of science, both, men and theoretical and methodological preferences of scientists appear to be categorizations of what once came in from the outside. This, as well, led me to diverge from my original plan that is to divide my interviewees in half women and half men, half foreigners and half Danes. If I had stuck to this plan I would have reproduced signifiers legitimating exclusion and/or marginalization. Instead, the multiple meanings of "coming from the outside" became the base for the choice of interviewees. For inclusion, the main theme of the project implies a "coming from the outside." [76]

"Coming from the outside" may be embodied in multiple signifiers. For the design of my project on the relation of ethnicity, gender and university science it thus was necessary to choose my interviewees not only among the scientists who came from universities abroad to Denmark. My informants, too, had to cover persons who migrated to Denmark where they were raised long before they started on a university education. A contact person from a second country who I had emailed in order to get the name and the address of a potential interviewee remarked as following on my plan to interview half Danish and half foreign scientists: "Even though I studied here and did not come to Denmark after having finished my degree abroad, this does not mean at all that I did find myself in a more favorable position." It became obvious to me that outside was not limited at all to coming from outside the country, as I until then had interpreted and naturalized what I experienced. In fact, if I would have hold on to the original design, I would have made outside and outsider the cultural essence of foreign ethnicity, these implicit precondition of my project not to be escaped and thus to be reproduced in my future results. In this response, I recognized another repetition of the theme coming from the outside, wrapped in another narrative which until then had escaped my attention. I asked this contact person as well to give me an interview. Thus, the representativity of my material is to be found in the multiple meanings which are attached to outside, in what is experienced as outside, how outside is experienced and with which signifiers outside is formed. This includes Danes with diverse work experiences abroad as well as Danes crossing universities, as well as scientists, who came as the children of migrants to this country or who have been born here, studied here and who followed scientific employment abroad. [77]

The criteria for foreigner, meaning a scientist coming from abroad, had been altered and the gate was widely opened to multiple meanings of ethnicity. The criteria were altered, too, because otherwise I would have equaled narrating as or with ethnicity with the physical presence of a foreigner. Therefore, I interviewed Danes as well and varied the query for the meanings of their ethnicity for the every-day life within the scientific enterprise as well as for their scientific work. To give an example, I posed the question what it would mean for their every-day life and their research that they are Danes. By taking this approach I multiplied the significations of what it means to have crossed various research units; it, too, may mean the crossing of institutions within a country, or the crossing of institutions in both, the first and in second countries. [78]

If ethnicity not only circumscribes what is foreign to a nation, then the choice of ethnic non-Danes crossing universities meets this criteria of my project, too. A further problem of the original criterion was that I implicitly acted on the assumption that only visible ethnicity would matter and imply meanings, that ethnicity formed as a stranger would not be of any importance if it could not be experienced on the spot. This, too, would have reproduced cultural essentializations. Therefore, the interview with a scientist working at an institute where exclusively Danes were employed was included in the material. All those alterations became necessary because I in the original design would have reproduced those preconditions, its meanings I intended to be the object of the analysis. Thus, the denaturalization of essentialized subjects and subjectified essences starts already with the definition of the criteria for the choice of interviewees. [79]

Starting point for the choice of interviewees is the multitude, diversity, and variety of the moldings of outside: Danes crossing Danish universities, Danes crossing several universities abroad, Danes by choice, that is Danes who chose Danish citizenship with or without Danish higher education, Danish minorities with experiences from several universities, for instance universities in an often 3rd Scandinavian country, experiences with universities from two or three different countries, and so on. The diversity of the signifiers is a necessity in order to break through the thinking in and as differences, which is at the bottom off inclusion, too. Even inclusion implies the imagination of a community and thus an implicit other. The distinction is not that much rooted in the question, whether the other is conceptualized as part or as exclusion of another other, or whether it is conceptualized as excluded form this other. Rather, the core of the distinction is that a multiple other is drawn on in order to characterize as community of university employed scientists. [80]

Own narratives form into scientific problems and as list of questions to be presented for the informants. When defining the criteria for the choice of interviewees there is a slight risk for creating presumed norms when the categorizations of humans are designed, considered, disapproved and chosen. In this process, often the center of interest and the central interest of the scientist are equaled with these categorized interests being at the core of the problem to be inquired into. In order to avoid this risk, the criteria for the choice of informants could not be those I selected at the starting point of my project. The intention to mark off persons (like myself) with an academic career abroad from Danes would have led me to circle conclusions on the meanings of gender, ethnicity and science. [81]

The originally planned symmetrical choice of interviewees by gender, nationality and fields would have meant that I would not only have reproduced what is known by me, but also its essentialist meanings, which thus would have been naturalized. I would have ended up describing and analyzing essences conceptualized as culture. According to widely spread modern scientific traditions and traditional scientific character, I then would have concluded on generalizations and on generalized assertions on academics, foreigners, Danes, women and men as well as on the professional affiliations of human or natural scientists as reasons for the narrated. The narrated would have been equated with that what either I or the interviewees have experienced; thus, it would have been turned into a re-presentation of a reality external to language and text. The transcripts, then, would have been treated as speech documenting truth, the spoken itself would have been understood as identical with this truth, and the transcripts would have gained meaning as documented proofs of such truths. As a consequence of a privileging practice and essentializing generalization like this I would not only create the true academic foreigner, the true woman, the true man, the true scientist/ researcher. I would as well re-produce the differences naturalized these ways as the natural origin of the themes touched upon in the interviews. [82]

A further problem I ran into was that I would have uplifted gender, nationality and professionalism as the natural sources for processes of exclusion. Making these categories the outspoken center of my inquiries, I would have taken outset in all three categories to be central to the experiences expressed in the interviews. Thus, I would have expelled any possibility for the interviewees to bring categories central to them, which could have been equally important to the categories of my interest, or even more important as those categories chosen by me. It therefore became important to me not to use those categories of my interest in the interview. I worked with a displaced focus, making themes and not categories the center for inquiry. Otherwise, another problem would have been that I would have anticipated the meanings of ethnicity in and for the enterprise of science as pre-given or pre-existing. Had I stuck to the original plan of all interviewees being employed at institutes where they, too, work with colleagues from abroad, this would have contributed to the reproduction of a cultural essentialization of the other. This criterion was altered: the fact that there was one scientist from abroad at the institute, that is my interviewee, was sufficient. [83]

In the style of SCOTT (1991), I label both, the narratives available as transcripts, and the narratives being the contents of each transcript, parallel narratives dealing with the theme of inclusions: what has been experienced as inclusion as well as what the interviewees experienced only in the situation of the interview, giving it the meaning of inclusion. The transcript itself is a narrative, since it is an interpretation of previous interpretations. Steinar KVALE (1997) argues that a transcript already is an interpretation of a taped record. However, in addition the transcript has to be regarded as one out of several parallel interpretations of the situation of the interview. The situation of the interview itself is an interpretation of what happens between the inquiring and the narrating scientist. The tape record is yet another interpretation of what went on in the interview itselfwhat has been seen, felt, smelt is not transmitted, only what may be heard. And then again, what I have heard and what the tape recorder has recorded still might not be the same. [84]

Reflections on my own point of departure led me to the insight that transcripts are narrated interpretations and interpreted narratives. Transcripts are written interpretations not of spoken, but of heard language. The heard language is an interpretation of the taped language, and this sound-language again is an interpretation of both, the lived interview and the interview lived through. The transcript and the lived interview are by no means identical, but they are parallel linguistic formations and as such narratives. Transcripts are what is left of the meaning-giving language of the lived interview. As such, transcripts are artifacts, in which difference is created and a respective other is classified, determined, established, specified, molded and filled with contents. Artifacts consist of chosen language constituting meaning. The interpreted narratives and narrated interpretations are compositions of systems of difference. As such, they are always to be understood as situated and positioned within the frame of what is given in a certain moment. Therefore, artifacts do not offer any basis for univocal and universalizing generalizations in the language of a "master-voice" (LATHER 1995). [85]

3.3 Interview on the level of the signifier

A further starting point for p3 was that I began to differentiate between the reality of my experience and experienced realities. The reading of Joan W. SCOTT's (1991) brilliant professional article on "The evidence of experience" made it clear to me that it has to be differentiated between factual experiences and what has been experienced as facts, experience embodied in facts. What is molded as my experiences, what is naturalized in them is a representation of what already had been known by me, what has been perceptible and recognizable to me. What I know is not remembered experience, but what I experience as recollected. This, too, applies to interviews: Transcripts are not narrated experiences, but interpretations of situated and positioned experienced narratives, which come into existence as a product of what has been experienced in the process of the interview. [86]

Neither what I experience myself, nor the narratives turned into documents when molded as transcripts are transparent. Transcripts are no representations of experience; in this regard, they are no representations of reality, either. Transcripts are as real as the narratives they contain and those narrating. Those realities are discursively mediated, situated and positioned. Transcripts are not reports originating in the individual subject and what s/he has lived through. Only when the narratives are subjectivized an embodiment of the narrated is produced, and the imagination of a body as source is facilitated. Such an approach would disguise the discursive practices, which organize those narratives. Speakers do not invent the systems within which they act. Rather, those systems provide the grounds for their speech (POTTER 1996, p.81) and as such for their narratives, too. This means that not only gender, but transcripts as well may be analyzed as "signifying practices" (SCOTT 1988). [87]

Phenomenon which we make accessible in terms of subjects cannot be ascribed some universal or culturally independent existence. Subjects are positioned embodiments of a respective discursive other which either in an accepting or in an antagonistic way is integrated in the narratives on the self (SONDERGAARD 1999). To treat transcripts as accesses to an essence of subjects means to understand them as being independent of language and of structures of difference, not as access to experience and to what may be experienced, but as mediators of experience. Transcript and subject would be treated as being identical, the transcript would turn into the essence of a subject. Gender, ethnicity and professionalism may in general social science common sense be pre-comprehended and conceptualized as a dimension of the interviewee which is structuring the very essence of the experience. The question of how the person is experienced, and what is embodied as person, turns into a minor point. This applies to the interview technique as well. [88]

What is necessary for the interview from a cultural studies point of view is to avoid the reproduction of logical truisms, the logic of the parallel moldings of the systems of difference (RITTENHOFER 2001b). As BELSEY (2001) has formulated it for cultural history, we need to do an "analysis on the level of the signifier." An analysis of transcripts does not give insights in the lives of individual subjects, who, such defined as the object for analysis, would turn into the embodiment of objects. This objectivized subject, then, would turn into a signifier of the transcript, brought to it from the outside, the transcript would in turn become its embodiment. It is important to analyze the transcripts on the grounds of the signifiers which they contain, to inquire what, when and how was signified, and this as well across the limits of the individual transcripts often paralleled with individuals. The entirety of the transcripts is thinned for patterns and structures. When analyzing the transcripts, a focus may be the exploration of the parallelisms in the narrated, of instabilities and contradictions. [89]

In the interview, the narrated turns into narratives. Interviews are not documents of experience. Since narration and language cannot be separated from each other, question and interview inquiry cannot be separated from language, either. This means, that questions have been as open as possible for the meanings established by the interviewees when talking about specific themes. BELSEY (2001, p.302) points out that signifiers do determine how we understand the world. Apart from that, they determine how we understand ourselves as well as how we are understood. If we do interview on the level of the signifier, this means, too, that the conceptualization of the transcripts, the meanings we ascribe them, is the crucial key to their understanding. [90]

In order to find out whether, and given that case, when themes are embodied in the signifiers of my interest (gender, ethnicity, science/research), and whether these themes are exclusively embodied in them, it was necessary to displace the focus of the questions in my interview guide.9) The necessity to decentralize the categories of my interest, lead me to divide the theme of inclusion into three subordinate themes: the encounter with the workplace, the encounter with the environs of the research institutions, and the encounter with the colleagues. [91]

An interview on the level of the signifier is what I labeled with the term cultural interviewing. It starts with the selection criteria for interviewees and covers the definition of themes as well as the method for analysis. This means, that the contextual relations and their contexts are to be found in the transcripts, embodied as culture, and not be external to them. Otherwise, I would essentialize and reproduce existing notions as causalities. Even though the relation of the three signifiers is the core of my interest, I displaced the focus of my interview so that I would only explicitly bring them up myself in case of that they would not be touched upon by the interviewee. The prepared questions serve as guidelines and are only used if the themes do not come up by themselves. All interviewees were asked the same opening question. I ask them to tell me about the first days at the workplace where they were employed at the time the interview was taking place. I not only attempt to analyze "on the level of the signifier," I also query the interviewees on this level. [92]

3.4 "One always is a bit more like a guest"

The following excerpt from a transcript is yet another example for the parallelism of the categories of ethnicity or being a stranger, gender and profession. What I described above as the multiple ways of being a guest is here circumscribed as "being a bit more like a guest." This means, that it is neither settled in being-a-stranger nor in being-a- woman. (The interview was performed in Danish and is translated by me into English. Information regarding dates or profession is made anonymous).

Scientist: I never run into any barriers, but I worked really hard, because I was a foreigner, and maybe because I am a woman, too ... I am very conscious of that I might be, that , that I have to accomplish a little bit more than the average, and the average is high, so it is not about that ... In the same way, as I notice it, for instance, as a minority in this country, as I feel that one has to behave a little bit better than most, because, because one is more visible, and because one (in quotation marks) is a little more a guest, isn't one, and this, and one may continue to be this, even if one has lived here [for many, many] years.10) [93]

One of my interests in p3 is concerned with the diverse ways of coming from the outside. The concept of parallel category, which emerged from the intersection of language and what I have researched and experienced, not only has consequences for how I selected the interviewees. It had consequences for the interrogating technique, too. The following excerpt is taken from the same transcript. It is meant to show that the concept of parallel category also influenced the questions I asked in the interview.

Me: But this feeling of being a stranger, of having to accomplish more or maybe of having to legitimate that you are now in a certain position, do you have this feeling, too, when you work out of house, so to speak, when you cooperate in the hospital with physicians who do not necessarily have any appreciation for a [member of her profession] or for your research? Do you then have this feeling, too? Or is it primarily connected with that you come from another country?

Scientist: Yes, there, I think that there you've got a point, that I have the same feeling, that one has to make an extra effort as a [member of her profession] when cooperating with physicians, for example to be more precise ... Eh, in order to antagonize a stereotypical picture, I believe that is at the core of this feeling, it is a desire to reduce stereotypes.

Me: On [members of her profession]?

Scientist: Yes, for example, on foreigners, on [members of her profession], isn't it, when I say that I work harder, then this is due to that one doesn't fight one's colleagues prejudices, looking at it this way, but one fight's some stereotypes, doesn't one ... Eh, one strives for, or I strive for, for instance, for not coming late for an appointment, don't I, otherwise you do have a southern feeling of time. I strive more for expressing myself as precisely as possible at all, and, eh, and, and I am as much in charge of my criteria as possible at all, that is when I work, when I cooperate with physicians, because there, too, exists a stereotype image of the crazy [member of a profession] , which, which is beyond my control, their world, you know, so there, I sure believe that, eh when I say that I make a larger effort, what I really mean is that in those relations I enter into, that I work very much in favor of, I do not want to say that I am subversive, that is I am not rebellious, but, but to shake things up a little bit, eh, people's firmly anchored images of people, not to peg me this way, but to change those images they might have on [members of her home country], or on women, or on [members of her profession] by virtue of myself, you know ...11) [94]

The concept of the development of parallel narratives has further consequences for p3. The narratives contained in the interviews as well as the respective interviews themselves are read and analyzed crosswise as parallel narratives on the theme of inclusion. However, it would go beyond the scope of this article to go into further details. At the core of the analysis is not the factuality of the events described in the transcripts. Rather, I focus on events which are told, how they are told, as to what is told, through which signifiers they take shape and become meaningful, and through which categories they are legitimatized. In order to be able to question the meaning of gender and ethnicity which often is understood as some kind of essentialism, I inquire into whether being-a-guest is limited to those two categories. [95]

The parallelism of signifiers is a consequence of the everlasting fugacity of signifying and labeling practices in which they are embodied. Being a guest is not only a question of nation, it, too, may be a question of gender, of professionalism, of the job situation etc. History is transforming into histories, into parallel histories. The excerpt is meant to illustrate that professionalism, too, may be told as foreign-ness, that with professionalism, too, the inclusion of the other may be narrated. At the same time, the excerpt is meant to illustrate that the community of scientists always is made up of as always positioned other. In this sense, universities are not other cultures, but cultures of the other or even cultures cultivating the other. Thus, homogeneity may obtain the meaning of heterogeneity. [96]

The transcripts of p3 not only present how the experienced gains meanings, but adds as well meanings to this experienced and thus does vary it. Phrased in the language of difference, this it what is experienced as emigration into a multiple other, formed as nation or as system of science or university system. Here, emigration means the transgressing of what is perceived as boundaries, in order to move into new spaces created by categorizations and turning into signifiers. Formulated in a language transgressing these boundaries it is the migration of scientists within the sciences, the universities, the academic spaces like the centers for gender studies. Thus origins, proveniences become fictions without meaning. In the interviews it therefore is of the greatest importance that the narratives on all three themes contain a comparative perspective. [97]

4. Multiple Understanding and its Fugacity: Conclusions

The long-term stay abroad made it a necessity to acknowledge the cultural in the personal and to experience the personal as the cultural as well as to understand it with language. Not the employment abroad, but the reflection on what I express with employment abroad, does change the perspective on what I researched and experienced. What I researched and experienced transformed: something relatively unequivocal and given, like foreigners at Danish universities, changed into multiple and diverse ways of narrating the theme of an arrival from the outside. This can be labeled a fugacious. Both, the central thesis of the concluded projects, and the approach of the ongoing project are presented here. Neither would have been possible without the lived diversity. This diversity can no longer be expressed unequivocally and unchangeably, nor can it be signified in the language of the exclusive other: in terms of times, countries, languages, subjects or cultures. Thus it is the duplication of the signifying practices, which in itself is a consequence of the duplication of my own languages, which maybe narrated as enrichment. Again, this enrichment may be narrated with the long-term scientific employment in a second country. I am able to narrate, to analyze, to understand and to learn with a multitude of signifying practices. This multitude would not have been accessible to me without the reflections on those processes, which I at first understood with a stay abroad and then analyzed and explored it as a stay abroad. The consequence is not that I have got a new past, a new present, but that my narratives have been duplicated which, respectively pointed out as present, as past, may gain the meaning of something present, something past. Meanings of already well-known narratives, told with life and research, are duplicated. [98]

I contrasted differences narrated as time with the blurring of past and present. I related as well to the parallelism of categories like time and space. Depending on how I narrate my present, research and researched transform their meanings. This leads to a transformed understanding, which is related to the parallelism of categories: that is, the common characteristic of difference embodied in the respective signifier. The result is an aggravated attention towards scientific developments transgressing countries, persons and languages. The constant blurring of boundaries makes the multidisciplinarity of my own work even more urgent and leads to the development of a concept for qualitative research, which I labeled cultural interviewing. [99]

The metaphor of "a guest in my own present" chosen as a headline for this contribution illustrates my central points, aiming at the denaturalization of subjectifying categories like the emigrant. I try to make it feasible how I came to my central view: the positioning of emigrants is not at all about subject positions, but is about one out of many possibilities to subjectify positions the perception of which is culturally conditioned. Both, subjectifications and meanings, always come into existence in the respective present. Both are as elusive as this present itself in which they get multiplied. Therefore, everybody, whether an emigrant or not, is always a guest in their own present. As a consequence of this, emigration may be positioned as a precondition for being-a-guest. However, emigration is not necessarily a precondition for this, no matter if we refer to the self-positioning of an emigrant or not. [100]

Crucial for my scientific work is what can be narrated, experienced, understood and reflected with my long-term scientific employment in a second country. [101]


1) The term "signifier" (BELSEY 2001) is here used as a synonym to the term category. Signifier indicates the legitimating functions, which categories obtain with the "systems of signification" (MILLS 1997). These systems are one element in those discursive rules and structures pointed out by FOUCAULT. Subject, self, scientist, stay abroad, gender, ethnicity, time—all those terms are treated as categories in the following. <back>

2) One of the scientists who I interviewed for an ongoing research project put his long lasting experience with extensive international cooperation with colleagues within his field into the following words (my translation): Poststructuralism is something, so to speak, which becomes a necessity, with outset in an every day reality of mingling with a variety of scientific communities of which one becomes an integrated part." This quotation also serves as a source for the argument I am going to make below that what I experienced is not essential to a stay abroad. <back>

3) This interdisciplinary program lasted for five years. It was a frame for several independent projects, covered by the title (my translation) "Gender barriers in higher education and in research." The program was concluded by a two-days research conference in spring 2002. <back>

4) I am very grateful to my colleague Kirsten GOMARD for her fruitful comments on an early version of this essay, and especially for her very inspiring metaphor of the "fugacity" of the interview. <back>

5) I want to provide a brief remark on the term perception. It has to be said that MERLEAU-PONTY (1982, p.12) described the perceived world as an always anticipated formation of all rationality. I am familiar with this definition only in the version of Joan SCOTT's 1986 (1988) definition of gender as "perceived differences of the sexes". Here, it is altered from the perspective of poststructuralist principles; SCOTT rethinks this definition with outset in the works of Michel FOUCAULT and JAQUES DERRIDA. In other words, I understood this line of thought at first with outset in my knowledge of gender studies. In p1, I still applied it exclusively on gender. The central question of p1 where inquire into diverse attitudes towards business leaders can also be understood against this background. <back>

6) The metaphor "stay in a second language" illustrates two points: First, it makes visible the parallelism of second country and second language and thus the parallelism of the categories of space and language in this specific context. Second, if one constantly moves between two languages, one moves between worlds of meaning. World is one of the categories of space which makes it possible to describe movements in a language, but also movements within a language. Those respective worlds of meaning influence perceptions, even when it is identical "worlds" that are perceived. <back>

7) Wendy STAINTON-ROGERS (2000) suggested that the English term "data" ought to be displaced by the term "creata" (as quoted in BENDIX & STAUNÆS, 2000, p.9). According to BENDIX and STAUNÆS, this is a challenge on two levels: A challenge of an epistemological rationalism and universalism as well as of ontological essentialism. Data are not passive, they do not speak for themselves, they do not simply wait somewhere to be collected, but they are created according to predefined criteria. Creata is always produced from several contexts and in the co-work of several actors. In this sense, creata is neither pure text, nor pure data. <back>

8) To my knowledge, interviews by now are applied as social and political science methods, or in psychology. However, they are not acknowledged as a method for creating historical sources. Equally, neither the term cultural interviewing nor the concept embraced by it can be found in existing scientific literature. <back>

9) Cultural interviewing is not an interview supported by an classical interview guide. Cultural interviewing is a further development of the narrative interview on the grounds of the principles and strategies of discourse analysis and deconstruction. Therefore, a brief remark about the interview guide would be appropriate. In order to acknowledge the specificity of cultural interviewing, detailed information on this interview guide is not necessary. For the themes and not the questions are of central importance. The prepared questions are like an access to an entrance into a theme. I only rely on them if one of the themes I have chosen is not touched upon in the course of the interview. The interview guide was never used as an entity. In the case that I relied on one of the questions, this question was phrased considering both, the situation as a whole and what has already been addressed. The goal is to make one of the themes of my interest a subject of the interview. Hence, the prepared questions are not simply read from a piece of paper. In this sense, the term interview guide might be misleading. Since this term in the more classical interview types already has a definite and pregiven meaning, I want to stress here that interview guide here is used in the sense of a sign post, guidelines, an advisor. <back>

10) [Interview 5, original speech researcher]: Jeg har aldrig mødt nogen, øh, nogen forhindringer, men jeg har gjort mig utroligmeget umage, fordi jeg var fremmed, og måske også fordi jeg var kvinde.... [J]eg er mig det meget bevidst, altså jeg er meget bevidst, at jeg måske et eller andet sted, at øh, at jeg skal yde en lille smule mere end gennemsnittet, og gennemsnittet er højt altså, det er ikke det.... På samme måde som, som, som jeg fornemmer det, for eksempel, som, øh, som minoritet i et land, at jeg føler, at man må opføre sig en lille smule mere ordentligt end, end de fleste, for, øh, fordi man er mere synlig, og fordi man er i gåseøjne lidt mere gæst, ikke, og det, det kan man blive ved med at være, når man så har boet her i [x] år. <back>

11) Interview 5, Original [P = Interviewee, I = Interviewer]. I: Men den der følelse af at være fremmed, at skal gøre noget ekstra eller måske retfærdiggøre, at man nu sidder i en bestemt position, har du det for eksempel også, hvis du, når du arbejder uden for huset, så at sige, ikke, når du arbejder på et hospital sammen med nogle læger, som måske ikke nødvendigvis har en forståelse for en [fagperson] eller for, for din forskning? Har du så også den følelse? Eller har det mest at gøre med, at du kommer fra et andet land?

P: Ja, det, det tror jeg, du, du har ret i, at jeg har den samme følelse, at man, når man samarbejder med læger, så skal man gøre sig ekstra anstrengelse som [fagperson], øh, for eksempel for at være mere præcis ... Øh, (pause) for at modvirke et, øh, et stereotypt billede, altså jeg tror, det er det, øh, som er kernen i denne følelse, det er et, et ønske om at nedbryde stereotyper.

I: Om [fagpersoner]?

P: Ja, for eksempel, om fremmede, om [fagpersoner], ikke, hvis, hvis jeg, hvis jeg siger, jeg gør mig mere umage, så er det fordi, man, man kæmper ikke imod sine kollegers fordomme, sådan set, men man kæmper imod nogle stereotyper, ikke... Øh, man gør sig mere umage for, eller jeg gør mig mere umage for, for eksempel at komme til tiden til aftaler, ikke, fordi ellers har man sydlandske tidsfornemmelser. Jeg gør mig mere umage for at udtrykke mig så præcist som overhovedet muligt, og, øh, og, og have, øh, orden i mine, øh, kriterier så meget som overhovedet muligt, altså, når jeg arbejder, samarbejder med læger, fordi der er også et stereotypt billede om lala [fagpersoner], som, som ikke har styr på, på deres verden og sådan noget, altså der, der tror jeg nok, at det, øh, når jeg siger, at jeg gør mig mere umage, så i virkeligheden det jeg mener, det er, at jeg er i, i de sammenhænge hvor jeg er, så, så tror jeg, at jeg arbejder meget for at, jeg vil ikke sige, jeg er subversiv, altså jeg er ikke oprørsk, øh, men, men at øh, at ryste lidt de, øh, fastsatte forankrede billeder for folk, til ikke at sætte mig i, i, i bås på den måde, men også at forandre via mig de billeder, de måtte have, hvordan [nationalitet] er, eller hvordan kvinder er, eller hvordan [fagpersoner] er, og sådan noget. <back>


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Iris RITTENHOFER is currently an associate research professor [forskningslektor] at the Institute of History and Area Studies (IHO), Department for European and for Gender Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. She studied history, philosophy and German language and literature studies at the University of Heidelberg, at the University of Masachussetts at Amherst, and at the University of Bielefeld. 1991 MA, University of Bielefeld, Germany. Migration to Denmark. 1992 one year supplementary education in gender studies at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. 1994 research fellowship at FREIA; University of Aalborg, Denmark. 1995 birth of a daughter. 1999 Ph.D., University of Aalborg. 1998-2000 research project: The magnet gender. A cultural analysis of Danish research politics 1970-1990. VCL, Aalborg University. 2000 birth of a daughter. Iris RITTENHOFER currently works on a project with the working title: Cultures of imagined communities: Ethnicities, gender and universities (2001-2003).


Iris Rittenhofer

Institut for Historie og Områdestudier (IHO), Afdelinger for Europastudier og Kønsforskning
Aarhus Universitet
Jens Chr. Skovs Vej 5
8000 Århus, Dänemark

Phone: +8942 6458
Fax: 8942 6463

E-mail: cekir@hum.au.dk


Rittenhofer, Iris (2003). Aftermath. A Scientist's Narratives on Self and Presence [101 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 3(2), Art. 17, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0203171.

Revised 6/2008

Copyright (c) 2002 Iris Rittenhofer

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