Episode 25: 24. Egon Guba Lecture with Mirka Koro

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Welcome. Tervetuloa. My name is Mirka Koro, I come from ASU, and I go by she and hers. I would like to acknowledge the land on which I am standing here in Phoenix and the original Hohokam caretakers of this land. I would also like to thank the Egon Guba awards committee and QRSIG chair Jessica VanCleave and her executive committee for this amazing honor and opportunity to share my thoughts with you all.
Despite my indefinitely youthful appearance and my love of Apocalyptica, I have a somewhat lengthy past with qualitative inquiry. Aaron, Juha, who are my stimulating discussants, Egon Guba, and I are entangled in our past and hopefully our experimental and philosophical qualitative inquiries will keep forming and shaping new relationalities among us and others in the future. I think it was 1998 when I attended my first AERA, heard amazing talks, and met Egon and Yvonna. At that time, I also attended my first QRSIG business meeting and thought to myself how excited I was about qualitative inquiry, stimulating scholarly exchanges, thinking, doing, theories, and paradigms. Egon’s Paradigm dialogue and Yvonna and Norman’s leadership with QI and ICQI were very inspiring for a beginning scholar. Since early 2000s Aaron’s work on methodology, Foucault, philosophy, ethics, and responsibility has been intellectually engaging and provocative for me. My entanglements with Juha, in turn, extends even further in linear time. I met Juha during my master’s studies and he introduced me to the world and practice of qualitative inquiry. I remember vividly attending Juha’s lectures and methodological seminars describing his exciting field work. His critical scholarship, philosophical knowledge, work with Freire’s legacy, and intersecting lines of methodology are truly inspiring. Mahtavaa etta olet taalla tanaan Juha videon valityksella! Entangled narratives, shared professional and personal histories, paradigm dialogues, multiple matter of and within factory and working-class town of Tampere Finland, meetings rooms of SQUICK in Athens GA, endless sunlight and scented orange blossoms of Phoenix AZ come together today.
I have multiple titles for this presentation yet all of them are quite inaccurate.
Title 1: Restless methodologies and speculative wonderings multiplied
Title 2: What does the light have to do with this?
Title 3: Lived scholarly possibilities of (methodological) multiplicity
Title 4: If we take speculation seriously…we need to multiply- also methodologically
Title 5: Lost in the words but still alive-- many methodological lives of qualitative matter
As you can tell, I deliver this talk with much speculation and hesitation. My methodological wonderings will not have core components or clear argumentative logic. The talk might not even offer anything new especially if one considers the relational nature of knowing and situatedness of being as simultaneously historical, already already here, and always multiple. Light encounters, in turn, have everything and nothing to do with my presentation today. This talk is designed to be light in its effects- dizzy, requesting little effort, having little weight, move away from inner light and truth, something that informs, to ignite and spark. I hope this talk may offer some provocations in the form of thoughts, wild ideas, images, light effects, and conceptual and theoretical movements and more. Maybe something I will say or do will enable you to enter the difference, feel affect, sense and live the methodological light/lightness and darkness differently, and access alternative spaces through unthought connections and different ways to work through and live realities of inquiry, methodologies, and qualitative relations. Still designs fail and continue with their hesitation.
Provocation 1: Close your eyes and see. What methodologies become possible?
I will wonder about the potential and possibility embedded in speculation and speculative practices in a methodological world where many worlds fit. Some of my thoughts today are prompted by the way I live and experience qualitative inquiry as a contemporary reflection, mirror, and actor in our complex and political global world. Many qualitative scholars are excited about opportunities related to experimentation, theoretical connections, onto-epistemological freedom, justice and ethical orientations research can offer. We have been inspired by the post, (new, feminist) materialisms, and more-than-human movements. We showed that qualitative research is needed, driven by practice, and can create different knowledges and knowledges differently. Recently, the field has also experienced ontological and relational turns paying more attention to ecologies of life and inquiry. However, some of my excitement has been tamed by artificial theoretical boundaries, conceptual regulations, standardized citation practices, overly descriptive guidelines, and other political ways to manage learning of qualitative inquiry and monitor experimentation processes. Occasionally I find myself mourning for more liberatory practices, worlds within worlds that stay open and welcoming in infinitum. Sometimes I feel saddened by the epistemological and ontological violence that we might have practiced against our community members, sisters, and brothers. It is also possible that I am late to the game, delayed in my reflections, dwelled in the past and we have already lived methodological pluriversity quite productively and practiced responsible collectivity for some time. However, I am truly inspired by visible and hidden potential, more inclusive vision and unthinkable hope for qualitative inquiry as a methodologically pluriverse community.
This talk includes interrelated flows of relationality including speculative, experimentative, methodological, and plural flows. Speculation offers opportunities for creative imagination, hesitation, reflective questioning, and thinking with unthinkable futures. Experimentation reminds us that much of qualitative research is crafted in shifting practice, in artistic relations (Hannula et.al., 2014), and within different and internally creative and active time-space-matterings (Barad, 2007). Responsible methodologies and methodologists (see Kuntz, 2015) are needed while current methodological practices are radically re-visioned. Pluriversity and pluralism, in turn, are thoughtful choices toward more collective equity and ecological diversity. Finally, all of these relational flows ask for open-endedness and creative potentiality embedded in our ecological and relational onto-epistemological systems and practices. The flows come and go, relating and connecting logical and illogical ways while always creating alternative time-spaces.
About experimentation
Some years ago, I wrote about methodologies without methodologies, about methodological spaces without faces, names, and predetermined categories. I was interested in methodologies with inaccuracies and defects, abnormalities. At that time, my problem was the insufficiency of language, methodological non-imagination and inflexibility and my focus was on theoretical and methodological difference in infinitum. Now my breakdowns are more relational and material. Ndlovu-Gatsheni (2018) reminds us about a scary and lonely world without others, specter of difference, and the cruel and toxic identitarian politics. Now I see more clearly the vitality in pluralism, caring and sharing communities, and perceive the endless becoming of many. Worlds within worlds, methodologies within methodologies, researchers within researchers – in other words the multiplicity and methodological pluriverse are the worlds I want to talk about today. I also argue that for us to live the plural and many (also plural and many methodologies) we have to imagine. Qualitative inquiry is not a world without a difference and since its first visionaries and documented imaginations qualitative inquiries have been conceptualized as the other, multiple, and diversified. However, somewhere during the journey we may have lost our vision of this kind of relationality and collectivity. The paradigm and dialogue of difference can also be problematic since it is often guided by dualism and hierarchization leading toward methodological barricades, partition, ontological erasure, and epistemological colonialization. Furthermore, from the perspective/paradigm of difference one can also more easily locate and narrow down the ‘toxic methodological other’ simultaneously forming master subjects and methodological narratives. I think it is important to remember that perceived methodological differences are not natural but constructed.
Provocation 2: Turn off the lights and sense the material you are sitting on. What methodologies become possible? If your momentary relationality to matter could speak, what might it say?
In addition, I want to remind us about qualitative dreams, dreams of qualitative researchers, and the power of the unexpected. How might us, qualitative scholars, live our inquiries and allow more and infinite spaces for adventures of ideas and concepts created and crafted by scholars, surrounding materiality and all citizens of the entire world- not just the citizens of global North. For Whitehead (1967) adventures (of ideas) illustrate slow drifts of mankind toward betterment and civilization; a historical movement and adventures of framing the explanations influencing history. Not only the western history but the history of all humans (and non-humans). Adventures include a wide variety of mental experiences shaping human lives and their histories in diverse global contexts. Ideas also experience their own local histories. How do ideas arise and are infused, how ideas and concepts related and blend? How do ideas multiply in the infinite pluriverse?
Furthermore, it is interesting to think with Whitehead also in the context of methodology. Methodological language has rarely been ‘correct’ and accurate and more importantly methodology has rarely been independent from other processes. Rather, I imagined methodologies outside the fixed, pre-determined and premeditated steps. Methodologies function as spaces for experimentation and as experiential experiences themselves. These processes have always had drifts, movements, and own collective histories potentially without causal and individual history and necessary linear logic. These kinds of methodologies still excite me. More specifically, speculative methodologies and experimental plurality seduce. Thinking with thought pragmatically—guided by transformation, application, and practice—has produced a series of experiments in my work including experiments with text, language, discourse, concepts such as data, slowness, seduction, academic conference machine, (methodological) darkness, methodological landscapes of desert, write-scapes, matter such as writing-feeling flamingos, ghost, shadows, monsters… and more. I practice methodologies while simultaneously recreating, reshaping, and reformulating the world we collectively live with and within. Methods do not order or predict the world, but they create an emerging sense of worldly events. Erin Manning (2016) noted that “Thought must not be mapped onto practice: it is an emergent, incipient tendency to be discovered in the field of activation of practices co-composing. To map thought in advance of its speculative propositions would diminish the force of study and reduce the operation to the status of the creation of false problems and badly stated questions.” (p.41).
Experimental and plural methodological history does not start or end. Slowly and gradually, one may become interested in open-ended inquiry, problematization, and been drawn toward multiple simultaneous and conceptual shifts. Theoretical and pragmatic ruptures lead to inquiry and seductive forces of matter and images. For example, some years ago I was drawn to Baudrillard. Baudrillard’s work prompted me to consider how the signs of reality create a duplication, a virtuality, hyperreal, which made it impossible to separate true and false, real and imaginary data, matter, and concepts. Baudrillard helped me to see that objects and data can have their escapes, strategies, and resistance. “The more object is persecuted by experimental procedures, the more it invents strategies of counterfeit, evasion, disguise, disappearance” (Baudrillard, 2000, p. 79). During my qualitative research methods courses students produced virtual and hyperreal data, they ate their interview transcripts and documented the possibilities and impossibilities outside Cartesian dualism. Collectively with my peers I sensed methodologies and processes in dark rainy forests, words formed 3-dimensional cartographies, and sounds moved me toward more than human and beyond singular and humanistic dialogues. My scholarly body grew tired of linear logic, clear argumentation structures, and valid research processes. Academic conference machine took over my international collaborations and our ‘crazy gang’ willingly allowed tables, dolls, gorillas, pacifiers to take over and participate in our becoming and knowing. Materiality produced us slowly but steadily, relationality heavily guided our collective thinking-doing and enabled us to sense the world around us and thinking in action. The AcademicConferenceMachine and its striated spaces and regulatory intellectual organization created disturbing effects and we saw this machine as a reliable, regulatory, structured organizational space, a space of (non)repetition — which runs the risk of becoming so regulating, normalizing and standardizing. We had to conference otherwise and desire to craft alternative spacetimes collective grew upon us. Later, our sensing outside sensibilities and exploring text outside textual practices were guided by Poly-experimentalism, a multifaceted experimentation addressing multiplicity and plurality in their various forms. Following the practices of Delamont and colleagues (2010) who encouraged scholars to make the familiar strange, listening Norman Denzin’s (1970) proposal that sociological imagination should shape methodological thinking and practices, and more recently being inspired by imagination and performance philosophies that have emerged through representational innovations such as interactional theaters where “scientific” research is performed. Furthermore, methodological experimentation acknowledges the diverse processual, intellectual, and methodologic examining and forays that take place when scholars extend discourses and habits of thought as well as extend on common routines that seem to become habitual practice in research projects. Drawing from my work with Linda Knight we argue that methodological experimentation is difficult to pin down with a singular author, text, meaning, practice, discipline, tradition, discourse, or even example because it can vary in scale and impact as experimentations are diversifying practices. Instead of focusing on conceptual singularity and practical linearity of the methodological past, seemingly fragmented thoughts and acts are united through the concept of “poly” and multiplicity of methodologies across different flows. In my recent work on navel gazing my collaborators and I started thinking about research assumptions and practices that we keep hidden. This led us to think about ‘navel-gazing’ as one practice of excessive focus on the ‘self’ through aggrandizement, ornate reflection, or even self-plagiarism and self-citation. We laughed at the idea of looking at one’s navel--the image is a silly one--but we decided to try it. One by one, we tried gazing at our own navels and then discussed the experience, theoretical and methodological insights, and silly recordings of our philosophical conversations. The proximity of navel created an interesting paradox. One’s navel (including one’s scholarship, knowledge, reality, truth, practices and so on) became intimately connected to the physical body of the researcher while at the same time it was acknowledged that navel is rarely seen, closely inspected, and infrequently deep-cleaned. Yet (researchers’) navels form intimate connection to internal organs, trace baby’s connections to their mother, bridge the external with the internal, and also offer ultimately useless space and unused place of human cavity and relationality.
According to Whitehead (1967) experimental inquiry avoids routines which force intellect to vanish and conditioned reflexes to take over. “The very essence of real actuality… is process. Thus each actual thing is only to be understood in terms of its becoming and perishing” (p.274). “A learned orthodoxy suppresses adventure” (p.277). Experimental work forms a fertile ground for troubling our learned orthodoxies and problematizing simplicity in its’ various forms. Wonderings about many possibilities of theory shaping inquiries, thinking beyond the thinkable methodological practices and countering existing practices can be generative. Methodological experimentation also offers endless possibilities to reinvent inquiries and re-conceptualize qualitative research approaches especially when experimentation functions as a vehicle and strategy to live our lives as inquirers. Whitehead (1959) distances speculative Reason from its (scientific and traditional) methods. Speculative reason’s “function is to pierce into the general reasons…to understand all methods as coordinated in a nature of things... the speculative Reason turns east and west, to the source and to the end, alike hidden below the rim of the world” (p.65). Speculative reason questions the methods not allowing them to rest. Whitehead explains how Greek thinkers advanced speculation by being curious, probing, questioning and trying to understand - everything.
About speculative speculation
Next, I will discuss some speculations of speculation. Speculation offers multiple strategies to think beyond the known, recognizable, and predictable. Speculation slows one down and forces us to think about alternative scenarios and differences. It does not take anything for granted and it is fueled by adventure. Created knowledges can travel from one location to another. Since 2007 speculative scholarship has taken many turns. Meillassoux’s speculative materialism, Harman’s object oriented philosophy, Grant’s neovitalism, Brassier’s radical nihilism, Bennet’s vital materiality, Barad’s agential realism, Whitehead’s process philosophy to name a few. In many ways speculation offers a response to the slow, hesitant, complex and uncertain world of methodological multiplicity and diversity that many of us live in and hope to acknowledge as a reality found and reflected in our scholarship. Speculative scholarship is tentative and thus rather impossible to repeat, teach, and even describe partially because language always fails. Speculative experimentation is less concerned about how materiality and research matter might talk back or have human agency and more interested in acknowledging that research matter’s dialogue and agency is possible and likely beyond human understanding, language, and consciousness.
Like any theory, speculative theories are meaningless if they do not enable scholar to experiment and figure out things in the world. According to Weisman and Gandorfer (2021) “theory inhabits the gap between sensing and sense making. It is a sketch, a set of speculations of how to ethically and politically understand what we experience” (p.401). Weisman and Gandorfer exemplify speculation through forensic architecture which builds on a split of a second as a durational and lethal concept. Duration and spatial coordinates of a split of the second are in the continuous flux of matter, actions, and meanings. The indeterminate nature of split of the second makes this time-space lethal and extremely dangerous since it reveals the larger picture which unfolds within this molecular scale of time. A split of the second also functions as a zone of endless exceptions. In addition, Weisman and Gandorfer offers us matterphorical concepts as concepts that express the entanglements of matter and meaning within specific time-space frames.
One might ask who benefits from speculation and why I propose that speculation is potentially needed and necessary in today’s Academia, scholarly climate, and field of qualitative inquiry. Our world is rapidly changing and we can no longer predict the most suitable methodological futures. Speculations may form infinite ways of life beyond academic capitalism, rigid citation indexes, and tenure clocks. Puig de la Bellacasa (2017) referred to caring as a speculative mode promoting interventions to become. Methodologies that speculate also wonder yet they don’t verify, offer fixed solutions, or pretend to understand the other and different. Instead, they care, connect and create educated guesses and various scenarios of possibility building on the exploratory, imaginative, and visionary powers of speculation (see also, Somekh, 2007). In some ways, speculation is about choosing and deciding without predictability and foreseeable future. Speculation also raises many questions without answers. For example, does speculation carry with itself an immanent critique of stability, norm, and of the anthropocentric? What critiques and collective discursive practices become possible within flat ontologies?
Kaljonen et al (2019) described speculative approach to experimentation building from the philosophy of science, being open, hesitant, and involving participatory events. In this kind of experimentation, ‘participants’ can imagine and create new practices and framings. In speculative pragmatism qualities and knowledge are not mental building-blocks of real but practices ontologically emergent within nature. They are pre-objective and pre-personal functioning in shifting time frames. According to Manning (2016) “speculative pragmatism means taking the work’s affirmation, its urge of appetition, at face value, asking what though-feeling does in this instance, and how it does it. It means inquiring into the modes of existence generated by the act of “hypothetical sympathy”, honoring the minor gestures produced at this interstice, and seeing what these open up, in a transversal maneuvering (p.39-40)”. What might speculation do to a thought, to a thinking in action?
Speculative inquiries, hesitant and slow scholarly projects are choices and these choices often come with bodily and material consequences. For example, speculative inquiry might emerge from collective subjects, immanent concepts, and relational objects urgently functioning as a crisis, pause, hesitation, horror, and revolt. New non-linear logic of speculative experimentation could function as non-consistent forces and dispersive matter. Can speculative projects forget their material and affective pasts? one might ask.
How might spontaneous/restless/lightless inquiry feel?
What might methodological hospitality look like?
What degrees of freedom could today’s methodologies afford?
How might speculation and speculative practices function in responsible ways?
How might qualitative scholars think in knots and by tying themselves into knots in relation to spacetime and place?
How could methodology as a matter of persuasion appeal to the experience of the other?
Finally, “speculative philosophy has an irreducibly aesthetic dimension; it requires new, bold inventions rather than pacifying resolutions” (Shaviro, 2014, p.43). Shaviro writes that aesthetics includes feelings an object for its own sake beyond its legitimacy, usefulness, and interpretation. Aesthetics of methods offer affective potentialities through their relations and senses. More things are felt and sensed than known. Methods are a matter of degree and the world of methods is the world of experiencing relational differences. What happens to methods when the observer, individualism, and capitalisms are being removed? Maybe Alien phenomenology (Bogost, 2012) could offer some examples. Bogost draws attention to strange relational life of non-humans which could be analyzed through units, lists, excessive betweenness, configurations, and non-linear patterns. For example, when we can eliminate likeness-in-human-terms (within our scholarship), we may be able to attain the innerness of things of un-nameable units. What it is for the bat itself? Caring is creating and scholars could be moving from the problem of access to the problem of being with. Shaviro also proposes that “Knowledge is just one particular sort of relation- and not even an especially important one at that. Most of the time, entities affect other entities blindly, without knowledge playing a part at all” (p.105). Thus, Shaviro encourages us to speculate about things and experiences that we cannot access directly. Touch can be felt but not necessarily known. Every instance of beauty is something new.
About (speculative) pluriverse
Stengers (2018) in her book Another science is possible emphasizes the power of curiosity to bring things together, collectively and slowly change our world. [Slowing down science] “should involve an active taking into account of the plurality of the sciences, in dialogue with a plural, negotiated and pragmatic (that is, evaluated on its effects) definition of the modes of evaluation and valorisation relevant to different types of research” (p.52). After all sciences and inquiries are collective and value of individual and individualization is measured as a part of collective dynamics. According to Stengers speed also creates insensitivity. “Slowing down means becoming capable of learning again, becoming acquainted with things again, reweaving the bounds of interdependency. It means thinking and imagining, and in the process creating relationships with others that are not those of capture… the kind of relation… what a life worth living demands, and the knowledges that are worth being cultivated” (p.81-82).
Could we imagine and experiment with methodologies which do not belong to ontological hierarchy? “All entities, of all sizes and scales, have the same degree of reality. They all interact with each other in the same way, and they all exhibit the same sorts of properties…Ontological equality comes from contact and mutual implication…They all become what they are by prehending other entities” (Shaviro, 2014, p. 29). The flattening of ontological hierarchies such as form and ground, past and future, foreground and distance could serve as productive provocations. Within this logic all methods are also embedded in other methods. Methods interact with each other also without human involvement. Methodological entities are distinct from each other only due to hesitant decision and spontaneous selection while still functioning within shared methodological and relational ecologies. Novelty arises from the act of positive decision and the act of decision is spontaneous and it cannot be predicted. A decision about methods needs to be done but it cannot be predicted or determined in advance. However, the creation of enabling constrains may assist scholars with these decisions and guide the processes of choosing, adding, subtracting, relating, juxtaposing, tweaking, and recombining and more.
Provocation 3: Travel with a light beam in your home office/current workspace. Where does it take you? What methodologies could be added and subtracted?
I conclude by advocating for methodological multiplicity in a worldly and experiential way (see Reiter, 2018). The world of multiple worlds, Pluriversity, is not an ontological project but a project of praxis. Escobar’s (2020) vision of pluriverse, following the Zapatistas concept “a world in which many worlds might fit” (p. 26) oscillates “between a politics of the real and a politics of the possible – between pragmatism and utopianism” (p. 226). Cultural, ecological, and methodological transitions characterize methodological movement within the pluriverse. In addition, this kind of methodological pluriverse takes into account biophysical, human, and spiritual elements. Diverse zones of contact beyond anthropocentricism become increasingly important. A methodological pluriverse of justices, matter(ings), and forms of critical qualitative inquiry offer new and alternative imaginaries. Mignold (2018) proposed that “pluriversity is not cultural relativism, but the entanglement of several cosmologies connected today in a power differential” (p.x). In methodological pluriversity methods and methodologies do not function as independent units but they are entangled through and by networks. One schema for methodological organization and design is no longer sufficient and different methodological approaches lay next to each other as pieces of mosaic. Mosaic methodologies search for alternative, limited, and contextual methodologies which potential is endless. Any form of knowledge is always in relation to other knowledges and methodologies. When methodologies are recognized as many physical, material, spiritual sites they are also brought closer to human and non-human lives and many materialities of these entangled spaces. Life maintaining and communal methodologies of the South and consuming and possessively individualistic methodologies of the North come together various hesitant but important ways. We desperately need more qualitative methodological sites outside the North America and qualitative research practice needs geographical decentering.
As we further consider critical qualitative research that focuses on the complexities of justice matters(ings), the politics of research cannot be denied. Escobar (2018) provides a vantage point from which research can be approached as a political practice. He envisions a relational future which entails “the steady decentering and displacement of the capitalist economy…decentering of representative democracy and settling into the place of direct, autonomous, and communal forms of democracy; and the establishment of mechanisms of epistemic and cultural pluralism (interculturality) among various ontologies and cultural worlds” (p.76). In this kind of methodological world, methodological development is no longer the organizing principle but, rather, a variety of experiences and strategies are considered valid. Methodological processes are always under construction and criticality of our worlds and scholarship is a relational task and imperative. More specifically, this alternative world, a pluriverse, would carry forward epistemic decolonization, alternatives to methodological development, transitions to post extractivism, notions of civilization crisis, and communal logics.
In addition, pluriversal methodologies build networks, assemblages, naturecultures, socionatures and strengthen distributed agency (Bennett, 2010) and and. Maybe it is a time for negomethodologies drawing from Shaw’s (2014) African feminism beyond individual methodological ecos and a move toward expanded ecological methodologies. It is clear that qualitative scholars are faced with modern methodological problems which do not have modern methodological solutions. The current methodological crisis has to do with specific kinds of world-making practices and fundamental methodological dualisms (theory-practice, mind-body, researcher-participants, reason-emotion, insider-outsider etc). More so, dualism itself is not the problem but hierarchies established around the binaries and hierarchical classification of difference shape our practices in problematic ways. Enacting non-binary and flat methodologies could be seen as a requirement for transformation and radical change. Healing of our fragmented methodological past and ontological practices by acknowledging hurt feelings and emotions could serve as one point of relationality. Massei (2004) encourages us, also qualitative researchers, to engage in the geographies of responsibility. It is good to remember that by designing methods/studies we design beings. Methodological design is as much ontological as relational task.
About (methodological) futuring
Escobar encourages us to think of the act, process, and design of futures; futuring- in this context methodological futuring. Methodological futurings can redesign themselves and work through breakdowns. It could be argued that the field of qualitative inquiry does not have methodological problems but methodological breakdowns. Methodological breakdowns bring to the forefront our current practices and tools. Some of these breakdowns might be anticipated and the insufficiency of current methodological tools offers opportunities for creation, experimentation, and invention. The shift from problems to breakdowns also positions knowing as relating and highlights connections rather than taking distance from the problems. How might methodologically sustainable futurings and productive breakdowns function?
I agree with Ziai (2018) who problematizes progress and development especially since methodological progress and development does not always lead to democracy but potentially to various forms of violence and oppression. “There is no objectivity that can determine other people’s position and what they need. Socialization and economic planning are not necessarily the keys to a better world” (Ziai, 2018, p.124). A vision of different methodological world could include multiple scenarios. For example, existing ‘methodological rules’ could be changed at any time, all scholars could modify ‘rules’ based on comparable consequences, scholars would be able to leave methodological communities without exploitation and exclusion, dependency on specific kind of scholarly connections and citations would need to be eliminated so methodological dependency does not limit alternatives and make it impossible to leave the field and move across subdisciplines. Focus would be shifted from politics of discipline toward the politics of relationships. These kinds of scenarios might also mean that we need to unlearn various forms of hierarchical cooperation and expand our theories of free methodological connectivity and relationality.
What if,
…theories of systems and ecologies could help us to understand challenging problems.
…objects and materiality could provoke thinking-doing without being themselves thought.
…we could create diverse methodologies that protect and restore ecologies.
…everyday life would serve as a context for methodological experiments.
…we could support more place-based and globally networked methodologies.
…we might utilize emergent encounters and participatory solutions and processes.
…qualitative inquiry would build on continuously changing and diverse transdisciplinary knowledges and minor practices.
…there are no more of the same but scholar go more frequently for the impossible.
… the field of qualitative inquiry rotates methodological obligations and responsibilities.
…the field of qualitative inquiry could create communities of radical methodologies.
If light makes vision possible, I would like to end with one additional alternative title: “Other methodologies are possible and new methodological sensibilities on their way. It is time to dim our lights and see (the invisible)”. Thank you.
Thank you so much Mirka for your inspiring and thought provoking talk as always. You always leave me with a lot to process. So, we are lucky that we have two fabulous respondents this evening to help us process and think through some of what you presented us with. So, our first discussing is Aaron Kuntz.
Dr Kuntz:
Thank you. Oh geez you turn on the zoom video and I feel like I'm staring at my driver's license photo which isn't a great thing so my apologies in advance. Well thanks so much for the paper and for inviting me to respond. I'd like to thank, of course Mirka for this provocative paper. My mother always told me that I don't listen well and she's right so it was a delight to have the paper and material form as engaged with the ideas and to see I was privileged enough to see some drafts, as it went through so it's really neat to see how things are processed. So there's much to engage within this paper and Mirka's work more generally. So, for the sake of time. I think I'll focus in on notions of experimentation, plurality and ethical engagement in somewhat entangled order and offer a sense of inquiry, as an experimental way of making the just imbued with an ethical force for change. I'll begin my offering to overarching questions that this talk, provoked for me. Question one, what are the problems, to which speculative experimentation, respond or engage, or question to what problems are made possible through speculative experimentation. What breakdowns are enabled. So these questions arise because problems and practices and strategies are productively entangled, as do lose in glossary note, all concepts are connected to problems, without which they would have no meaning. And so I wonder about how the very notion of speculative experimentation are connected to problems and particular context, one potential issue might have to deal with the anxiety inducing problem of chaos anxiety for me anyways, that if we have no definitive future, nor defined present, then we live in a chaotic world, and speculative and experimental practices only amplify that multiplicity. Importantly, Elizabeth Grosz notes that chaos need not be understood as absolute or complete disorder, but in her words, rather as a plethora of orders forms with forces that cannot be distinguished or differentiated from each other. It's, it's for me it's the blurring of definition that manifest chaos. the overabundance of order, not its absence. So perhaps this is part of the effect of sadness or worry that permeates some work today, and creates I think into Marcus words that we have too much order, we have too much form too much will the excess of which overwhelmed and chaos ensues. As there was a braid it notes. This in her terms, too much this is one of the sources of exhaustion, which mass marks, so much of our current predicament, and ultimately brings about a shrinkage of our ability to take in and on the world that we are in, simply because it hurts too much to take in, and on. So, we perhaps turn to experimental engagements with this too much this this xxs that exhausts, which brings its own problems, of course, and that's a good thing.
So on experimentation. I'm not creative, never claimed to be at least not in the conventional sense of the term, I can't sing, or I can but my singing does not mean even the most progressive claims of aesthetic worth. I'm also not a visual artist as such things such as experimental inquiry approaches, often simultaneously astound me scare me move me and closed me off from engagement, a multiplicity of effects, indeed, if I am creative I suppose it is through a sense of conceptual creativity, but I have manifest through an ongoing engagement with philosophy. Again I turned to Elizabeth gross who considers philosophy, the way would wayward sibling of art, a kinship as both enactments emphasize the degree of experimentalism as a means to create new relations, new problems, a few future not yet created as gross so eloquently writes, I love this phrasing she has twin wraps over chaos philosophy and art, along with their more serious sibling, the sciences in frame chaos. Each in its own way, in order to extend something consistent composed eminent, which it uses for its own ordering and also the ranging resources. There's a double mess here, right, of course that calls forth the productive potential and reduction of philosophy art and science, in one sense speech allows for a means to encounter chaos in meaningful ways. And another sense such processes of ordering might well lead to attaining of difference, a closing off of potential in order to allow for things to, Well make sense. And so as we engage with Marcus provocations, wondering what methodology is become possible when we dim the lights. I wonder about what might orient us how we might enact and eminent positioning that is not dependent on the prolific ordering have a past yet does not transcribe pure relativism through derangements either. This is a question I think of ethics. And I wonder about the potential for inquiry work to think the just as Michel Foucault termed it or more deliberately inquiry as a means to make the just because for co thinking that just requires an overt political stance that begins with an ethical positioning, a determination that normalized governing processes are untenable. Further, thinking as deludes notes, means to experiment and to problem that's thinking that just begins with an act of experimental refusal no longer abiding by the claims of convention and entails an imminent, making thinking that just dust becomes making the adjust and making the just might articulate as a process of entangling an ethical determination to produce a difference with an orienting belief in another future potential that we might become differently, through different relations animated by different forces within a materially generative world. I'm interested in in inquiry is making the just because I sense within Marcus work and ethical commitment, one that emphasizes and affirmative ethical engagement with potential, and a determination to experiment with that potential to speculate on what might yet become so hers would seem to be more than a neutral stance and what is to be done. This is important to note and contemporary work that engages with flattened hierarchies, how does one and unethical engagement with the world admits such flattening indeed a flattened hierarchical perspective is often critiqued for its political naivete and refusal to acknowledge histories of asymmetrical relations of power that is some would argue that flattening traditional hierarchies conveniently erase historical context that disproportionately govern some groups and privilege others, such a perspective may conveniently overlook a legacy of exploitative relations that are only extended through a dismissal of material hierarchy.
In short, it is quite possible that the rush to lay claim to rise a medic expressions of flattened hierarchies extends from a privilege of not experiencing a legacy of power claims on one's person. As such, this theoretical embrace of a dispersed system stems from privileges gained from conventional hierarchies and systems of power. Such context situated, even the most well intentioned critique as reformist in order. Born from and transcribing the very exploited to relations they claim to disrupt. As an alternative, a materialist critique might complicate the smoothing of conventional hierarchies, for what Thomas nail terms, a twisted ontology in which different regions of matter are unevenly developed and circulated this twisted ontology remains vital to considerations of exploitation and material inequity that seemed to have fallen out of theoretical favor of late, our contemporary moment is rife with uneven material agencies, and that unevenness matters. Further our inquiry work certainly has a generative role in twisting ontology locating some ways of living as important for recognition, even critique and excluding others. As a consequence that remains important to locate those uneven exploitative relations map their intersections, even exclusions and consider their effect on ontological levels. As a practice of transgression inquiry martyred articulate as a type of challenge from within one and habits a limit in order to manifest a transgression. Because limits, always hold the material for transgressive potential experimental inquiry uses the condition of limits to manifest the rupture, and acting a future yet unknown. Recognizing the symbiotically productive relations of limits and transgressions shifts the intention and work of the inquiry. It's not simply enough to strive to break and limit, one must use the material of the limit to generate something else. This is a creative or experimental experimental relation to limit, one that manufacturers difference, were once there was only repetition such it is that inquiry must be decided the materialists in order to generate transgressions through governing limits, one must discern and intervene within the material conditions that make our governance possible. And this word begins from a place of ethical determination that are present exploitative relations are untenable. We cannot bear them anymore transgressive change extends from the very sensation of living then through the material world.
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In her provocative book entitled, what comes after entanglement ever Gerard advocates for an ethical engagement with exclusion, recognizing in her words the entities practices and ways of being that are for closed when other entangled realities are materialized. This perspective aligns with the notion of twisted ontology as I spoke of earlier is one locates those become things that are short circuited by the layered build up that occurs when some ontological formations are twisted together governed into relation, and others are necessarily excluded the landscape of twisted ontology is is one of uneven development and exclusion some relations are deemed to matter more than others and the processes of such mattering requires ethical deliberation and an emergent sense of responsibility as Gerard goes on to right attention also needs to be paid to the frictions foreclosures and exclusions that play a constituent a role in the composition of lives reality centralizing and politicizing these exclusions is vital and carving out space for intervention, examining rational exclusions is constitutive of our contemporary moment is an ethical act of inquiry for Gerard when that generates the conditions necessary for intervention. And for Gerard those constitutive fictions frictions foreclosures and exclusions serve as an important and often theoretically overlooked entry point for material analysis, more than the density of the entanglements themselves, it is their limits, those spaces were identified relations fade into necessary exclusions that provide opportunities for ethical engagement deliberation and contingent action. Let's it is that experimental inquiry necessary necessarily an X, X of difficult recognition, we are bound by and responsible for these tragic circumstances belief, we might be otherwise, and virtue, we must become differently. Experimental inquiry is in short and ethically laden making a means of generating the Justin circumstances that overwhelm through perpetuating injustice. This might bring us to a series of provocative, I think questions that call and Krugman asks, and I think extend from Marcus work. Here are the questions, what are the problems we cannot be, what are the problems we cannot but feel the force of over what and why are we constantly anxious and inevitably distraught.
What are the problems with which we wrap and work our lives in burning intensities. In many ways I remain emboldened through Brady's notion that we practice a pragmatic engagement with the present in order to collectively construct conditions that transform and empower our capacity to act ethically and produce social horizons of hope, or sustainable futures for me inquiry is part and parcel of such resistive and productive practice. This is inquiry as an ontological way of living, motivated by ethical force, a way of reading the future into the present to borrow the phrasing of JK get some grand and work is work reminds us, this can be joyful experimentation, an exuberant experimental engagement with the not yet. And similarly, as for co admonished. Do not think that one has to be said in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable through inquiry we engage with the president as a delusion and music witness blurring the governing processes and practices of fascism, such that they lose their precise purpose, creating relational conditions through which specific forms of resistive potential become a new through inquiry we might engage the present to break its violent hold on our very being utilizing the circumstances that enforce our exhaustion such that we might become otherwise through inquiry we stand vigil look out for potential change, refusing the governing limitations of the status quo and using the material of our contemporary moment to generate a transformative difference.
My thanks to Mirka's paper for helping to provide provoke these thoughts, and to all of you for listening. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Aaron such an exciting response I'm like all jazzed up now after here in New York I'm hearing you. I'm really looking forward to this being on the podcast so that we can revisit and re listen and continue to learn.
So our next. Our next response is from Juha and I am going to do my best to share a YouTube video, and play. Perfect.
Thank you miracle for your mind provoking talk, and for inviting me to comment on it. It's been my great pleasure to follow your career and success over the years. And here are my comments. Just let you put it in your speech global anti capitalist perspective is necessary. If we are to survive as a species. During the past year, a virus known as covert 19 halted the world. It's a biological fact that we can't wish away, but it has had tremendous social and political consequences worldwide. We cannot change the mechanisms, the wireless works and mutates, but like navigators who sense the strength of the wind, and its direction. We can take those laws into account in our actions. Neglecting them can result in a fatal multi organism disease. Like a mistake in a vacation can cause a shipwreck. Therefore, I must say all the sheep and take the storm caused by the wires into account in at least two ways. First, I may reason that life is dangerous. In any case, continue to meet people and ignore possible consequences for my health. Second, I can think that health is wider and therefore, I want to follow safety measures, wash my hands. Keep social distance and wear a mask. As I cannot escape the fact of covert 19. I still have the freedom to choose what effects. I allow it to have on me and my actions. Besides, by following the necessary safety measures. I take care of myself and my fellow beings. And by doing so, carry my collective responsibility. Indeed, many have had to consider how to live, not to become infected, or infect others, the recommendations of health experts have been clear. But humans are not machines. They take the official messages in their judgment and relate them to the totality of the individual lives. The weighing of these options on human decision and meaning making interests me as a qualitative researcher and a social scientist. The options can be seen in a continuum where at the other end of the other end. People lot live their lives as useful. And at the other follow safety measures, quite literally. The rationales and logics for these options vary. Perhaps the most exciting answers come from the unresponsive and individualistic risk takers. Who otter. Yes, of course, there is a risk of infection. And it makes me think. But even then, the philosopher gh fun rate has presented a general model of action, in which he distinguishes the result and consequence of an act. On the one hand, the result of the act of opening a window. Is that a certain window is open these consequences. A state of affairs, which by virtue of course or necessity, come about. When the Act has been done. On the other hand, a consequence of the act of opening a window, may be the temperature in the room goes down, or as the famous poet bent this article ski writes about a possible consequence. The bird could fly in. What makes makes the logic of human action and decision making, related to the covert 19, so special is the collective nature. My individual decisions are associated with a type global network of others choices. The post pandemic time will finally tell if the window has been open or closed. And how many black Corbett 19 ravens have flown in We managed to transform our teaching online early on, even during the pandemic my workplace down but a university succeeded to produce or produce enough degrees to fulfill its promise to the Ministry of Education and Culture, The largest funder of the universities in Finland.
We have proven to be good academic workers, perhaps too good for the success came at a price, the temporary University's campus plan approved by the University Board in Fall 2020 states that, and I quote, the experience gained through the covert 19 pandemic highlights the need for flexible learning and working solutions. In particular, where digital and physical environments merge to support that user's data lives, and well being. Quote ends.
In addition, the plan includes the promise and I quote, dumper the university's goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030. As part of the target, its office and teaching spaces, will be reduced by 25%, quote, and I guess no one sees anything wrong with the carbon neutrality. but many made the math and calculated. One plus one equaling that the university would eliminate our faculty building. In fact, carbon neutrality may be mayor smoke and mirrors the true reason being cost savings. under the neoliberal regime. The canvas planned. You know University is another example of the new management University managerial capitalist University. To add insult to injury. Due to the COVID 19 restrictions on the campus. The university managers could launch the plan without fearing that we teachers and students occupy the University, University building, as we did a few years ago, consequence. Consequently, it's possible that we lose our office spaces seminar rooms lecture halls, and more importantly, our sense of community, and perhaps turn into digital nomads without any other social existence than our digital presence. Many might feel betrayed. Maybe we managed to do our job too well and won the race to the bottom, the capitalist neoliberal University. As the world doesn't seem to follow the Broadway. The harder you work, the luckier you get, but quite reverse. Perhaps tomorrow we don't say that. We do killed the radio star. But that digital shift at our office space In the future, we might not teach in the shadow of the Corbett 19 anymore, or under the mango tree as Paulo Ferreira in Finland it's too cold for that. But carry on our solitary talk only in the Digital's fair.
Okay, I do know the world though there is much, much crazier and uglier than this, and the ills of the world are last. But God is in detail. We cannot take our position as educational and social scientists for granted anymore. For it's not only the managerial University. That is after the critical scholar, but also the news media. Believe it or not, we have only one national newspaper in Finland Helsingin Sanomat plus few other regionals. A couple of days ago Helsingin Sanomat published but an editorial in which one of the editors in chief stated as follows, and I quote, the father, one goes from the core of science to the social humanistic and ultimately artistic research, the less empirical evidence, there is in academic competition. And the more ideological the reshoots becomes the editor then shared the editorial on Twitter and wrote. It seems that this editorial has raised diverse debate, the speculative assumption in the text was that academic competition would seem to have a greater tendency to become idealized. When there are no clear criteria in the field to compare theories, Ideally, just to become ideal a choice. Yes. When there are no clear criteria in the field or to compare theories. Quote ends, a sociologist, then asked, and I quote, I continue your speculation by asking what is in your view, the clear criteria to compare those theories in science lacking in social sciences, which prevents the power of ideologies. The editor replies Scientific Method. Then the philosopher of science intervenes. Would you like to tell us what is that what is the scientific method that we philosophers of science, despite many attempts, haven't been able to find one. This was also a quote. It seems to me that the powerful national media outlets mighty editor has aligned with the populist right, the conservative right, the racist right and the matches. And we have had a wake up call in so many places in the biological, psychological, social and political spheres. We cannot stay in our coupon compartments any longer. We need, what miracle was talking about poor diversity. We need to join forces as miracle and Fred, poor thing. Put it in a few years back, and I quote, this quote ends my comments. Scholars need to stop engaging in research activities for research sake, only research needs to serve the public citizens, students, parents, teachers and so on. Social Science Research should be a collaborative effort, and a form of public science. It's time to consider how to increase methodological attentiveness and the potential of collaborative inquiry that builds on collective yet contradictory stories extract and material life experiences.
Thank you so much and congratulations Mirka.

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