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Reinventing scientists and knowledge production: practiced-based research from a laboratory workshop, exploring identity, creativity and aesthetics

3.6 Tensions, extensions, and new formulations in cultural-historical activity research
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
4:40 PM, Jeudi 31 Août 2017 (25 minutes)
When scholars, from different areas of the humanities and social science, meet in the Robot Culture and Aesthetics (ROCA) research group, they do so to take part in practice-based 1 research to explore open-ended activities together. At two robotics workshops, a novel setting uncommon within the social sciences was created to foster the exploration of creative and aesthetic processes in different ways from traditional research processes. Using this untraditional approach to collaboration within research as a case, this presentation wishes to explore how individual scholars (re)construct knowledge and gain new ground by transgressing the boundaries of their own particular activities and domains of research, thereby also challenging their professional identities. Through an analysis and interpretation of a case of practiced-based research, we will show how new theory is generated or emerges from the concrete observations. This is done with constant awareness of the observer's own presence as an exploration of an extra dimension of the analysis, both acknowledging the researcher's own influence on the situation that has been created and of the researcher's perception of the new room of possible understanding. This latter part is what can be described as the excess of analysis, a change of focus, arguing that the analysis in itself can generate knowledge, an understanding built on the assumption that the analysed elements in themselves possess an excess, a something more, to be disclosed by the analysis. We wish to draw out what this amendment to the analytical strategy offers classical modes of research, in relation to generating new knowledge. An example from video data collected from two of the robotics workshops in the research group will be used to analyse and examine interactants’ activities in the practiced-based activity settings, thereby presenting an analytical approach, based in cultural-historical theory (Hedegaard 2011, 2012; Vygotsky 1998), created to handle interpretations of the researcher’s professional identity, creative processes, change and knowledge production. By the use of dialectical materialist theory, this analytical approach is designed to generate new understandings of transgressions as an integrated dynamic part of interpretations connected to the process. The concept of creativity is thereby connected with the concept of change and transgression in the activity we describe and as part of the development of the activity setting (Møller, 2016). Transgression of the interactants’ self-directed initiatives is argued to be the basis for the transformation of the activity and the identity of the individual him/herself. Combining theory and concrete observations the analytical approach offers a broadening of the platform to theorise the observed transformations, identifying transgressions and consequent negotiation, thereby providing insights into knowledge production, creative and transgressive acts and, in a broader perspective, the co-construction of institutional practices.
University of Copenhagen
Aarhus University
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