Paper to the symposium: Mis-presentations and Re-presentations in a Time of Interpretation – Embodiment, Understanding and Text in Educational Research, ECER, Berlin, September 2011
Abstract: This paper is on the researcher’s role and the status of the data s/he is inclined to use. The outset is theories on embodied knowledge and knowledge forms such as Pierre Bourdieu, Hubert & Stuart Dreyfus and Jean Lave who all have troubles of how to view embodiment from either a subjective or cultural perspective keeping the other part in mind. Consequently, their respective theories fail to account for how the subjective perspectives and cultural contexts are necessarily interwoven – as Merleau-Ponty puts it – or ethical – as Aristotle would claim – or interdependent – as Højrup argues. Studying a teacher training program, specifically the relation between placement and teaching, this presentation argues for a ‘meeting point’ and theoretical frame of Merleau-Ponty, Aristotle and Højrup that all dialectally grasps the relations between researcher and interviewee by understanding them as either bodily interwoven, life-mode or virtuously related. The inclusion of subjective perspectives and cultural conditions enlightens educational research as a process of interpretation where the embodied and life mode structured observation both opens and closes ways of interpretation. The conclusion is that being interwoven with the interviewee is a virtue in itself that increases and sets certain limits to singular opportunities as the researcher and interviewee projects meaning onto each other in terms of pre-reflective perceptions, life-mode ethnocentrism and appropriate knowledge forms.