Theoretical inspirations and empirical material

During my writing, 1 have been accompanied by ideas of diffraction, nomadic thinking and relational responsiveness. I have wished to see if the interference of texts by other texts in an overlapping movement with a reader’s reading can evoke promising engagement to unsettle the discriminating workings of difference. My aspiration has always being a nurturing of an affirmative thinking-with ‘logic’ (Barad, 2007; Braidotti, 2012; Bochner & Ellis, 2016; Bozalek & Zembylas, 2017; Dolphijn & van der Tuin, 2012; Shotter, 2012; Haraway, 2008; Davies, 2014; Sondergaard & Hojgaard, 2011). 1 deliberately connect affirmativity and care to reflexivity, as 1 understand the joint generation of unexpected insights as something connected to a desire to change situations of oppression into something different and better. This figure of thought was what sustained consciousness-raising groups in second-wave feminism generating identification, mutual learning, strengths and solidarity. The words used then were different, nevertheless I find the aim of ‘the arrangement’ similar to what Braidotti talks about when she describes affirmative movements in knowledge production. Nevertheless, this orientation towards a different kind of knowledge production is a complex affair, filled with stumbling stones, unconscious backbone interpretations (and therefore ‘sad’ reproductions of what we set off to change in the first place) and representation embedded in modes of relating and communicating.

As mentioned what 1 do in this chapter is to engage small texts from Peru and Bolivia with evoked memories of my own and the receptions by you, the reader. 1 ask if this ‘arranged encounter’ can interfere with fixed ideas about social differentiation and if a relational receptive and responsive way of working can generate unexpected transpositions of meaning and thereby leave room for the emergence of something different?

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa understands care as meaningful for thinking and knowing and weaves her understanding of care into Haraway’s multilayered way of thinking-with. Her onto-epistemological position made much sense to me, as the effort in this chapter has been to make texts meet and evoke to create possibility and collectivity:

What 1 find compelling in fostering a style of writing-with, is not who or what it aims to include and represent in a text, but what it generates: It actually creates collective, it populates the world. Instead of reinforcing the figure of the lone thinker, the voice in such a text seems to keep saying: I'm not the only one. Thinking-with makes the world of thought stronger; it supports its singularity and contagious potential. Writing-with is a practical technology that reveals itself as both descriptive (it inscribes) and speculative (it connects). It builds relation and community that is possibility.

(Puig de la Bellacasa, 2012, pp. 202-203)

The empirical material 1 use to suggest a different mode of intersectional inquiry is six different memory work stories. The stories foreground social difference of different kinds and are produced in Peru and Bolivia by young professionals engaged in work for social change in their local settings. I present these stories as ones that map different effects of social differentiation as they unfold in the memories of the young workshop participants. I will let the stories speak for themselves without a classical mode of interpretation to follow each one of them. As 1 read Rosi Braidotti, she advocates for an understanding of analysis as intensive moments capable of activating empathy and cohesion - a balance that can only be sustained briefly (Braidotti, 2006, p. 168). I will take on Braidotti’s way of understanding knowledge and accentuate that the kind of balance I, as a communication scholar, direct my attention towards a perspective concerned with processes of meaning-making.

1 strive to leave room for the evocative qualities of the stories to work in me, and you as a reader. 1 moreover hope that the differences between the stories and the particular way each story voices the intersections of different social categories will allow a subsequent reflexion about some of their effects and workings. This means that I take on a communicative, associative and relational writing mode. I think with a Deleuzian understanding of texts as ‘relay points' between ‘different moments in space and time, as well as different levels, degrees, forms and configurations of the thinking process’ (Braidotti, 2006, p. 171). With a mode of thinking not far from diffractional thinking, I intend to approach you as a reader in a direct manner through posing a couple of simple question at the end of your reading of the selected memory works. Only at the end of the chapter will 1 discuss if and how this type of writing could address and contribute to the analytical challenges associated with the concept of intersectionality. How care, evocation, multilayered worlds and meaning-making coexist in a messy simultaneity. Many researchers today advocate for experimental or arts-based writings as a practical way of approaching and exploring the continuous entangled processes of becoming subject, group and society (Davies 2000a. 2000b; Davies & Gannon, 2013; Ellis & Bochner. 2002; Holge-Hazelton & Krojer, 2008; Krojer, 2003; Krojer & Hogle-Hazleton, 2008; Richardson, 1997, among many, many others).

My writing/reading-with attempt here can be viewed as such an activity. I consider the readers of the composed collage of memories as co-performers -they are additional agential characters/protagonists in the stories. The reader will always perform a kind of examination of their own experiences through both content and the evocative powers of each text.

 
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