It took two hours yesterday with my amazing supervisor for my brain to come close to getting to 10% of what he was trying to get at. He said no to the narrative theory as the way to go, and then said yes, but well, it’s sort of the same as discourse analysis, if you’re not thinking Fairclough and thinking more Laclau and Mouffe but then again it all depends on perspectives. I think you can see why it took me two hours to catch on!
So what does this mean? It means I need to read more. I need to get my head around this. And it means I need to trust me a bit more. Speaking to David I realised that I was right about discourse analysis, just wrong about the material I was reading. I knew I wanted to do analysis of the material available and that I was going to be relying on how to interpret official documents and viewpoints through philosophical lenses. So I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know the academic lingo/context/framework to put it in. It is a new language. It’s coded to the academic world and as discussed yesterday I am not part of the academic world and have no intention to be.
On the upside, tonight while listening to amazing music (thanks Borodin Quartet) I started to re-grasp what I’m trying to do. I keep thinking the research problem for me is like a baby rattle that I see and go to grasp but an annoying adult thinks it’s entertaining to pull it away. But tonight, I was thinking about the commodification issue and the business angle. Working titles came to mind (I know titles are the last thing – but it helps me frame ideas) and it related to ‘lies we tell’ and ‘follow the money’. The more I read the more I realise that the changes in higher education come from the lies people tell themselves about what they think of higher education (and what they tell others) and the incentive of money. I know I want to explore the incentive of money because this is the link to industry. In 1997 when I first thought of this, it was about the skills gap, and role of higher education to fill this. I think that’s something I lose sight of. I think I need to create a touch stone for concepts that I want to hold onto. Like that industry link. This is going to be a long eight years and I need to not lose sight of what I want. More food for thought.