Plugging into the Umbra: Creative experimentation (in)(on) the boundaries of knowledge production in ECEC research
Research into Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) policy and practice in the UK is subject to the demand that such research be measurable and achieve impact to provide the basis for evidence-based professional practice. New and creative experimental ways of knowing/thinking/doing ECEC research have been proposed in resistance to this quantified and instrumentalised agenda. Here I focus on posthumanist theorising, which proposes research that does not privilege the human subject but rather opens conditions of possibility for an entanglement with non-human and more-than-human bodies within and between assemblages. This engagement with complexity is a new ethical and political project aiming at re-conceptualising ontology beyond the limits of the human. Posthumanist research does not only challenge quantitative research, but also engages creative ways to challenge the limits of qualitative inquiry. Drawing on my research experience, I explore this de-centring of the human-as-researcher through the notion of the ‘methodological umbra’. This shadow space is one in which traditional thoughts on research open out these new forms of inquiry into thinking-in-movement. My analysis uses my own diary entries as sites in which this ‘umbra’ becomes evident under the pressure of creating new forms of a ‘living’ methodology. This is analysed through the contrast between smooth and striated space proposed by Deleuze and Guattari (1987) to explore what form of life might emerge in the smooth space of the umbra.
Copyright (c) 2016 Nikki Fairchild
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).