Posts Tagged ‘rhizomatic research’
Thinking about the future of educational research requires a conceptual resource that is itself both imaginative and multiple and at the same time articulates a world with those self-same characteristics. This is provided by the work of Deleuze and Guattari. Discussion of the future of research is located in a context of lifelong learning in the contemporary moment of ubiquitous electronic communication. I argue that the research process, contrary to the model of science, can be better understood as rhizomatic rather than arborescent and powered by desire rather than objectivity. Lifelong learning is a rhizome and requires a rhizomatic approach and sensibility on the part of the researcher. The hyper-connectivity of the Internet reinforces this development influencing the way research is carried out and the way its knowledge outcomes are distributed and used – a research without hierarchy and authority.
This paper examines rhetorical constructions of ‘reality’ in selected outdoor/environmental education discourses-practices. Many outdoor/environmental educators privilege philosophical realism coupled with suspicion towards poststructuralism(s) and deconstruction. From a postlogographic position on language, we argue that producing texts is a method of inquiry, an experience and performance of semiosis-in-use as we sign (and de/sign) the world into existence. This re/de/signed world never represents the ‘real’ world precisely or completely, and in this paper we explore and enact modes of textual (and extratextual) production that struggle to retain a poststructuralist skepticism towards representational claims without falling into antirealist language games. We focus in particular on Deleuzean concepts of ‘rhizomatic’ inquiry and nomadic textuality as enabling dispositions for re/de/signing worlds in which realities and representations are mutually constitutive (rather than dialectically related).
In practice research needs to be messy and heterogeneous. It needs to be messy and heterogeneous, because that is the way it, research, actually is. And also, and more importantly, it needs to be messy because that is the way the largest part of the world is. Messy, unknowable in a regular and routinised way. Unknowable, therefore, in ways that are definite or coherent. Clarity doesn’t help. Disciplined lack of clarity, that may be what we need.
In After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, Law elaborates upon this argument at much greater length. He does so in his own way, drawing on his immersion in the discourses of actor- network theory (ANT) and its successor projects. I also find ANT to be very generative in thinking about methodology but my current preference is to engage messy and heterogeneous objects of inquiry through the frames and figurations provided by Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘geophilosophy’, especially their concepts of rhizome and nomad.
In this brief essay, I share some experiences of writing ‘to find something out’ by focusing on a process that I have deployed in three narrative experiments inspired by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s figuration of the rhizome—a process that I characterize as rhizosemiotic play. My ‘reports’ of these experiments are available elsewhere, and my intention here is simply to demonstrate some textual strategies that I use in performing such experiments, with particular reference to the generativity of intertextual readings of selected fictions in catalyzing them.