Papers & Workshops



(Re)presentations of a Life's Events


Adele Flood

Dept. School & Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Education, Language and Community Services, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

When we read a biography or any other account of a life lived, we give meaning to that life by attributing to it a sequential approach to events as they unfold. We invest great importance knowing when and where events unfolded and their impact upon the lives of others and the world at large. We are not interested in the ordinary, but the extraordinary. We do not wish to know the mundane, routine parts of a life, we want to know what makes a person different, how does their life differ from ours, and what qualities make them special in a world of ordinary people who go about ordinary lives. Individuals engage in storytelling using a set of signs or commonly agreed symbols to represent their lives. Can we then observe in a variety of genres how a writer might represent herself in terms of a creative past? How does a writer who has perceived of herself as a creative and productive person record and identify herself as a writer. When we examine a person's life story we must view it in terms of a (re)construction of that series of events through the memory of the story teller. To that story the individual brings a mediated perspective influenced by the family, the community and the experience of the self. We must as researchers come to understand what frames our way of seeing when we do research and that as researchers we are not free agents but rather a "specific subject of difference located in a representational economy" (Scott & Usher. p 22).
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000