participant that provided a collaborative, conversational learning stance that invited people
to participate rather than a distancing interview style.
The introduction of materials gave credence to the idea of collaborative research as an
elegant dance of learning where interviewers and interviewees can take turns leading
(Kvale, 1996; Bava, 2005; Gehart, et al., 2007). This was a stark contrast to the
interviewing style often advocated in journalistic texts, which stresses keeping a
professional distance, “Generally, don’t share your personal experiences, train yourself to
be brief and direct. The more straightforward you are, the better your responses will be”
(Papper, 2006).
Intuitively, I gravitated toward a conversational rather than a journalistic interview stance
and purposefully invited in moments of dialogic engagement and meandering precisely
because it led to something far more interesting (McNamee and Shotter, 2004). For
instance, after concluding the interview with the screenwriter Alan McElroy and turning off
the recorder, we started casually talking about the monetary realities of the screenwriting
industry. He was revealing about financial remuneration and the tape recorder was
immediately turned back on with his permission. These kind of personal “off the topic”
moments create something far more interesting than just following the prescribed interview
Our conversations and subsequent appreciative reflections were performative from the
standpoint that it brought to life the world that each freelancer was creating as they spoke
of it. “The actual sense of the other is derived through embodied experience of the other’s
cultural practice,” according to Bryant Alexander and this is when ethnography shifts to
performance, “It reinstates the actualization of everyday cultural performance rehydrates
the objectified, text-bound descriptions of lives-lived into living embodied forms that offer a
greater sense of direct experience and the direct knowledge of a culture” (B. Alexander,
2005, p. 415). A performative approach invites “reflection on how we are creating that
which we speak of in the process of speaking or acting on it” (Bava, personal
communication, 2012).
Performance is a social constructionist (Anderson, 1997; Bava, 2003; K. Gergen,
1991, 1994a, 1994b, 1999; M. Gergen, 2001) notion of meaning making as a
communal process, in that it occurs in language and dialogue. Performance
metaphorically expands the symbolic meaning of dialogue. Such practice raises
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