enjoyable and relational. “Writing and relationship” is not merely between the researcher
and those under study but is also extended to the writer and also to the audience,
“Alternative ethnographers break away from the conventions of social science inscription to
experiment with polyvocality, poetry, pastiche, performance, and more. These experiments
open new territories of expression; they also offer new spaces of relationship” (Gergen &
Gergen, 2002).
The Research Question
The central question propelling this dissertation examines, “what is the lived experience of a
media freelancer at the border of a changing work culture?” That question also leads to
stories of “how” they create a life in this culture and the Appreciative Reflections situate the
reader in their lived experience. From a constructionist perspective, the description is a
process of not only storytelling but also storymaking. The process of making is how we
describe objects, experiences, and people. How do the stories we tell about work
contribute to our lived experience? In exploring the story of these participants, I am aware
that it is shaped by the way I/we make and tell the story. The Appreciative Reflection is not
only about telling their story but also about how we shape the experience through an
appreciative lens.
The Storymaking and Storytelling Process: A Mash-up Of
All of research is a storymaking process, from research question to presentation. My
process was a mash-up of narrative research and dialogic approaches, which included:
conversational and polyphonic interviewing (Fontana & Frey, 2003, 2005); autoethnography
(Jones, 2005; Richardson, 2008; Ellis & Bochner, 2003); collaborative research (Bava,
2005; McNamee, 2000); performative social science (Gergen & Gergen, 2011; Bava, 2005)
and narrative life histories (Chase, 2005; Richardson & St. Pierre).
A two-tiered storytelling process consisted of a micro and macro narrative framework. The
micro narrative, a 6-10 page interactive Appreciative Reflection, was inspired by
Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 1995, 2005; Stavros & Torres, 2005). The
reflection allowed for a distillation of valuable lessons learned from each person (see
Appreciative Reflection) during our lengthy conversations (see Conversations) and look at
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