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Title: Telling tales in and out of school: an analysis of experiential claims to knowledge
Authors: Smith, Ann M.
Keywords: Conversation
Social psychology
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: © Ann M. Smith
Abstract: I propose that education should not be a separately studied phenomenon, removed in analyses from other knowledge-construction contexts. To enhance this proposition I gather my data on experiential claims to knowledge from a range of contexts. I consider the main proponents of traditional research in education and attempt to show how traditional models of experience in the acquisition of knowledge are based upon a partial adoption of the participants' categories themselves. Then, an alternative model of experience is introduced -a discursive model based upon all the concerns of participants, not now seeing them as 'truths' but as positions. We do not now talk of knowledge being acquired, but rather as being constructed. The form and function of the invocation, of the legitimation and of the countering of experiential claims are examined using a discourse/conversation analytic approach, greatly influenced by the work of Harvey Sacks, which was developed in the 1960s and 1970s (although I give less attention to the specifics of talk organization than he does). Garfinkel's ethnomethodology was the main precursory influence on this kind of discourse/conversation analysis. Also, philosophical views on language, developed by the later Wittgenstein, were influential to it. Knowledge and experience are viewed not as possessions of individuals or groups of individuals, but as constituted locally in talk, through cultural resources which we, as humans, have at our disposal. Such constructions are context-sensitive and reflexively context-constitutive. Accountabilities are addressed by the participants to the production of unitary or multiple versions of knowledge; to the production of consensual or conflicting versions of knowledge (see Chapter 3). In this thesis, language is regarded not as a reflector of reality or psychological processes, not as a medium or tool, but as a topic in itself, itself constituted in the realities it constructs. Viewed from this perspective, experience has many dimensions, all warranting the validity of the knowledge claim and the experience; dimensions of participation in, interpretation of, category entitlement to, construction of, knowledge, on the part of the experiencer and subsequent tellers; as well as the dimension of passivity of the experiencer in the face of objective 'reality'. Viewed from the perspective of the traditional model of experience, formerly explicated, the co-existence of some of these dimensions of experience often becomes untenable.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/7000
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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