An auto/biographical, cooperative study of ourrelationships to knowing

PhD Thesis

Del Negro, G. 2016. An auto/biographical, cooperative study of ourrelationships to knowing. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Education
AuthorsDel Negro, G.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

In this thesis, I explore the relationship between knowing and self-construction among education professionals. The work addresses questions about our relationship with different ways of knowing; and within what I term a psychosocial framework, how the road to selfhood may lie in integrating different ways of knowing, including the rational, emotional, imaginal, embodied, creative, and spiritual. It also questions the tendency to idealize ‘experts’ and disembodied forms of knowledge that are widespread in (higher) education, and even in social and therapeutic work.

Auto/biographically oriented co-operative inquiry was my chosen methodology. The research involved two groups of co-researchers based in two different countries, and included interviews with members of my own family. Exploration of my own reflexive relationship with my object of study shaped it into a quest for meaning and voice.

I composed a multi-layered, multimedia, performative and circular textual understanding via processes of ‘spiralling’ and unfolding that were solidly rooted in a constructivist epistemology. I analysed both individual and group processes in the co-operative inquiry, looking at metaphors and engaging with crises of knowing and self to produce a fresh perspective on transformative research and professional becoming. I also drew on the ‘writing as inquiry’ approach to intertwine myself as knower with my interpretation, thus constantly
interrogating the role of prose and poetic writing in pursuing authenticity and selfhood in relation to knowledge. In addition, I explored the evocative use of ‘cultural objects’ as a strategy for integrating subjective and objective sources of knowing. I conclude my dissertation by offering what has provisionally become – for me as author – a satisfying theory.

Taking a view of the self as contingent, developmental and potentially agentic, I claim that by engaging more holistically with feeling, emotion, intuition, imagination and intellect, we may come to experience ourselves as more ‘real’ and integrated knowers.

Supplemental file
File Access Level
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Nov 2017
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
Permalink -

Download files

Accepted author manuscript
  • 71
    total views
  • 62
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

An ecology of transformative learning: a shift from the ego to the eco
Bainbridge, A. and Del Negro, G. 2019. An ecology of transformative learning: a shift from the ego to the eco. Journal of Transformative Education.