📓 Gatherings

Ian Guest outlines the methodological approach associated with CPDin140. He describes this as ‘gatherings’:

I call these chapters ‘Gatherings,’ drawing on the work of a number of authors, but predominantly Law (2004a: 160), for whom Gathering is:

[…] a metaphor like that of bundling in the broader definition of method assemblage. It connotes the process of bringing together, relating, picking, meeting, building up, or flowing together. It is used to find a way of talking about relations without locating these with respect to the normative logics implied in (in)coherence or (in)consistency.

Or put more concisely, Gatherings are ‘Forms of craftings. Processes of weaving.’ In an earlier post, I discussed assemblage, not as a noun, a settled and fixed entity, but an ongoing active process of entanglement. So too with the Gatherings I offer. Whereas Law proposed Gatherings as method assemblage, I offer Gatherings crafted and bundled from data, and to some extent, the literatures. They are of course obliged to be fixed at least temporarily within this thesis; ‘a local and momentary gathering or accomplishment, rather than something that stays in place’ (Law, 2004a, p.129).
Some might see this wilful avoidance of arranging findings into neatly defined packages as abrogating one’s responsibilities as researcher. One reason I present my analysis as Gatherings is that it is consistent with flânography, and how teachers experience Twitter professional development (TPD) which is often messy, not laid out as structured, planned CPD sessions might be. Although this presents challenges for analysis, the techniques of ‘plugging in’ and ‘reading data through data’ described in the previous post become important strategies. Insights which consider the implications of the data and speculate on possible consequences are woven through the Gatherings, but drawn together at the end of each.

In presenting the Gatherings, I have assembled a variety of actors and data, and through sociomaterial description, followed Decuypere and Simons (2016) in producing ‘an adequate account.’

[…] it is an account (not a neutral rendering of facts) that is aimed at being adequate (that is, that makes a description of the actors gathered in such a way that these actors can ‘speak for themselves’, instead of being ‘spoken about’).

To that end, the Gatherings in the thesis are rich with data in the form of tweets, quotes from blog posts and quotes from interviews. (In the following blog posts however, in keeping with the previous posts, I’ll be summarising rather than presenting the data in full). In Interviewing the nonhumans, I outlined five of Adams’ and Thompson’s (2016) heuristics; one of these was ‘gathering anecdotes.’ Gatherings as the means to present those anecdotes seems coherent therefore. The heuristics not only ‘help researchers attend to the role of thingly gatherings of research practices’ (Thompson & Adams, 2013) but in my case, encouraged me to produce thingly Gatherings. As such, my thingly Gatherings are ‘important actors, complicit in co-creating the happenings of the world’ (Thompson, 2016) and are of course, partial accounts of those happenings.

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