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Between science and fiction - feminist methodological futures

  • Katrine Scott
Publishing year: 2016-11-23
Language: English
Document type: Conference paper: abstract

Abstract english

I have a returning nightmare: my computer breaks down and I am losing all my written words. Losing the record I keep of my stories. The trails of where I have been in my thoughts dissolve and I am left empty.
”Stories matter. Many stories matter”, writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us in her famous TED-talk on ’the danger of a single story’ (Adichie 2009).
Telling stories from my research on Iraqi Kurdistan about everyday lives among university students outside the Eurocentric representations of a violent Kurdish region has been a theoretical and methodological challenge. Sitting at my desk in Scandinavia trying to describe the normality of the every day urban life in Iraqi Kurdistan, I am struggling to find a language that can describe the specificity of these everyday experiences without falling into reinscribing ’difference’. Along my traditional academic drafts of chapters for my PhD thesis, I have been writing more fictive and auto ethnographic texts, which I have treated as ’something on the side’. Working to put together my thesis in the final run towards finishing, I realise that these explorative texts are needed in fulfilling the picture by naming the silences of every day lives in a (post)-conflict area, and translating important meaning-making from the context of urban Iraqi Kurdistan into a thesis written in Scandinavia (see Dauphinee 2013 on silences). War is framed in specific ways, as Judith Butler argues (Butler 2009), and Iraq and the surrounding region is mostly represented as one big war zone in Western Media. Adichie’s warning against the ’danger of a single story’ stresses that ”[t]he single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story”. (Adichie 2009)
Inspired by the work of feminist anthropologists (Behar 1996, Narayan 2007), I am exploring how experimenting with fictive inspired forms of writing and auto ethnography can help tell other stories than ’the single story’. How can a methodological focus on the story telling itself help create new languages and paths to walk along into creations of feminist visions of other worlds?

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (2009) The danger of a single story, TEDGlobal.
Behar, Ruth (1996) The Vulnerable Observer – Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart, Beacon Press.
Butler, Judith (2009) Frames of War – When Is Life Grievable?, Verso.
Dauphinee, Elizabeth (2013) The politics of exile, Routledge.
Narayan, Kirin (2007) Tools to Shape Texts: What Creative Nonfiction Can Offer Ethnography, In: Anthropology and Humanism, Vol. 32, Issue 2, pp. 130–144.


  • Gender Studies


Genusforskarkonferensen g16 Gränser, mobilitet och mobilisering
2016-11-23 - 2016-11-25
Linköping, Sweden
Katrine Scott
E-mail: katrine [dot] scott [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Department of Gender Studies



Katrine Scott holds a PhD in Gender Studies and is experienced in ethnographic fieldwork and writing.

Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences