Skip to main content

Positioning Self in “figured worlds”: Using Poetic Inquiry to Theorize Transnational Experiences in Education

Abstract

This study explores the process of using Holland et al. (Identity and agency in cultural worlds, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1998) “figured worlds” identity and agency theory to explore two scholars’ transnational experiences. Using poetic inquiry as a data analysis tool, this study seeks to (re)position how identity work is theorized and analyzed across broader contexts. Data collection consisted of online discussions, reflective journals, and biographical artifacts to better contextualize our discussions. These co-constructed discussions were transcribed and analyzed using poetic inquiry to better capture and articulate experiential themes of isolation, vulnerability, adaptation, and survival. This study serves three purposes (1) how both authors analyzed, interpreted and theorized our childhood experiences crossing borders using Holland et al. (Identity and agency in cultural worlds, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1998) “figured worlds” theory, (2) how poetic inquiry was used to capture the isolation, vulnerability, adaptation, and survival of one author’s experiences, and (3) how this type of reflexivity explicitly in/transforms theoretical approaches to deconstructing cultural identity and agency in a myriad of contexts, notably teacher education.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Angelou, M. (1995). Phenomenal woman: Four poems celebrating women. New York: Random House.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anzaldua, G. (1987). Borderlands la frontera: The new mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Belenky, M. F. (1997). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacharya, K. (2013). Voices, silences and telling secrets: The role of qualitative methods in arts-based research. International review of qualitative research, 6, 604–627.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. (1985). The social space and the genesis of groups. Theory and Society, 14(6), 723–744.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1993). Outline of a theory of practice. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, B. (2007). I thought it was me, but it isn’t: Making the journey from “what will people think” to “I am enough”. New York: Avery.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, B. (2015). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the ways we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Avery.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cole, M. (1996). Culture in mind. Boston: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Coloma, R. (2006). Putting queer to work: Examining empire and education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19(5), 639–657.

  • Foucault, M. (1982). The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse on language. New York: Pantheon Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Glesne, C. (1997). That rare feeling: Re-presenting research through poetic transcription. Qualitative Inquiry, 3, 202–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Holland, D., Lachiotte, W., Skinner, D., & Cain, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huckaby, M. F. (2011). Researcher/researched: Relations of vulnerability/relations of power. International journal of qualitative studies in education, 24, 165–183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jackson, J. L., Jr. (2004). An ethnographic flimflam: Giving gifts, doing research, and videotaping the native subject/object. American Anthropologist, 106(1), 32–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kawakami, I. (2006) Idou suru kodomotachi to Nihongo kyoiku: Nihongo wo bogo to shinai kodomo eno kotoba no kyoiku wo kangaeru (Children crossing borders and Japanese language teaching: Language education for children whose first language is not Japanese). Tokyo: Akashi-shoten.

  • Levitt, P. (2001). The transnational villagers. Oakland: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pollock, D. C., & Reken, R. E. V. (2001). Third culture kids: The experience of growing up among worlds. Boston, MA: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spivak, G. C. (1996). Diasporas old and new: Women in the transnational world. Textual practice, 10, 249–269.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Subedi, B. (2006). Theorizing a ‘halfie’ researcher’s identity in transnational fieldwork. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 19, 573–593.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Subreenduth, S., & Rhee, J. (2010). A porous, morphing, and circulatory mode of self-other” decolonizing identity politics by engaging transnational reflexivity. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23, 331–346.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Urrieta, L. (2007). Figured worlds and education: An introduction to the special issue. The Urban Review, 39, 107–116. doi:10.1007/s11256-007-0051-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Van Maanen, J. (1988). Tales of the field: On writing ethnography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vertovec, S. (2009). Transnationalism. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiggins, J. L. (2007). Reflective reactions: Learning what it means to read and reread self within a 6th grade social action project. Democracy and Education, 18(1), 28–35.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wiggins, J. L. (2011). The search for balance: Understanding and implementing yoga, peace, and democratic education. Factis Pax: Journal of Peace Education and Social Justice, 5(2), 216–234.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joy L. Wiggins.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wiggins, J.L., Monobe, G. Positioning Self in “figured worlds”: Using Poetic Inquiry to Theorize Transnational Experiences in Education. Urban Rev 49, 153–168 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-016-0386-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11256-016-0386-5

Keywords

  • Cultural identity
  • Education
  • Poetic inquiry
  • Transnationalism
  • Social justice