The Write of Passage: Reflections on Writing a Dissertation in Narrative Methodology

  • Chaim Noy Hebrew University
Keywords: narrative, identity, autoethnography, rite-of-passage, writing, dissertation, modern, post-modern

Abstract

In this essay I explore, reflect upon and theorize my experiences as a doctoral student writing a dissertation in the field of narrative studies. The inquiry concentrates on the problematic tensions that are unique to academic writing in qualitative disciplines, tensions with which I dealt and grappled extensively during my work. I wish to reflect, through the writing of a theoretically informed autoethnography, on the space inscribed between the proposal and the dissertation, and thus on the young scholar's initiation journey through a constructed, narrative-in-becoming space, and on the relationship between the backpackers' narratives of identity and change, which I researched, and my own. In doing so I will evocatively problematize the epitome of the academic rite-of-passage, i.e. the writing of a modern dissertation, in times of post-modern inquiry and writing. The discussion is informed by the experience of travel and journey which took place between the interviewees' travel narratives and my own (in the form of a dissertation writing); between "field" and "office"; between positivist and interpretive paradigms; between proposal and dissertation, between paternal and maternal sources of writing, and between academic/scientific and poetic expression. The essay offers contributions to the inquiry into reflexivity and subjectivity within the growing paradigm of qualitative methodology, to the inquiry of rites-of-passage into communities and institutions, and it problematizes the possibility that narrative can contain and convey the post-modern, overwhelmed and fractured self. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0302392

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Author Biography

Chaim Noy, Hebrew University
I graduated from the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel (2002), and was on a Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellowship in the United States (the Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College, and at the Center for Folklore and Ethnography, University of Pennsylvania). I am currently a M. Ginsberg Postdoctoral Fellow, at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. My interests include qualitative and narrative modes of inquiry, combined with research of everyday experience, identity, tourism, and theories of social embodiment, particularly in the context of Israeli society.
Published
2003-05-31