Christopher CROUCH

Narrative, Narcissism and Negotiation


This paper draws on observations about the role of critically reflexive narrative in research. The author advocates this approach as a means by which research students in a university school of art might begin to contextualise their creative practice. The paper describes the process and application of narrative research methods, proposes the method’s benefits, and identifies its limits.

The paper will draw from the work of Giddens, Beck and Bauman in defining the role of reflexivity in identity formation, on Habermas’ ideas of communicative action, and build on Bourriard’s idea of relational aesthetics. It will examine the role of inter-subjectivity and the collaborative formation of meaning, before proposing the value of a reflexive narrative.

If it is accepted that art and its meanings emerge from social exchange, and if social exchange can be posited as a performative equivalent of art, a narrative can be constructed by the student researcher that elaborates the origins of the researcher’s inspiration and articulates the creative intent of the researcher in terms of the formation of their identity.

The paper draws on case studies as illustrations.

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Christopher CROUCH:

Christopher Crouch lectures in the School of Communications and Arts, and is director of the Chinese Australian Studies Research Centre at Sun Yat Sen University in Guangzhou. He has written widely on modernity and the ethics and practice of art and design education. His book Modernism in art design and architecture is a standard text. His most recent book A History of Modern Design (with Raizman, Liu and Wang) was published in Chinese by the Longlong Press in 2007, and Modernism and Material Culture is to be published in Chinese this year by the Herbei Renmin Educational Press.