Provocation 10: Coming to the door. Or, doors and what they do.
- What is a door?
- What is it for?
- What work does a door do?
- Which doors have come to matter to you? How? And why?
- What are your door stories?
|Door: Barrier; gateway; entrance; portal; guardian; access; obstacle; boundary; border|
Look around you. If you are inside a room somewhere, you will no doubt have multiple doors to pass through before you get outside. If you are outside, there will be doors you need to navigate to get inside.
Doors are thresholds
Doors are liminal spaces
Doors enfold inside/outside
Doors are physical-material
Doors are affective-symbolic
Doors are tactile
Doors engage somatechnic bodily manoeverings
Doors hold and fasten and fix
Doors are portals
Not all bodies can pass through all doors
Some images of doors:
I wrote something recently about doors. Have a listen:
Or, alternatively, read it here:
I notice that the majority of bodies at postqualitative presentations, workshops, events, happenings, gatherings, and conferences are still largely White, privileged, and in abundant possession of dominant modes of cultural capital. Whose bodies are not here and why? I raised this point in a talk I gave to an all-White gathering and the air sagged and the good mood wavered as discomfort swirled and denial was voiced. But, I think, if postqualitative endeavors are to be worth anything, and if flipping methodology in postqualitative mode is an ethico-onto-epistemological political project in relation to opening theory-practice spaces in which differential matterings actually matter, then we need postqualitative to be a dwelling which is capacious, airy, heart-ful, and has no doors. I say “no doors” because, as Derrida (2000) notes, “if there is a door, there is no longer hospitality . . . as soon as there are a door and windows, it means that someone has the key to them and consequently controls the conditions of hospitality” (p. 14). Derrida goes on to draw a distinction between “the hospitality of invitation” and “the hospitality of visitation.” In visitation, he says, “there is no door. Anyone can come at any time and can come in without needing a key for the door. There are no customs checks with a visitation. But there are customs and police checks with an invitation” (Derrida, 2000, p. 14). What would it mean—what would it do—to pursue thinking-with the possibility of postqualitative work as visitation? The visitor may be the uninvited, the stranger, the one who, or that which, brings what is difficult, unforeseen, unknown, and unanticipateable—a something to reckon with. To paraphrase Derrida, if I was only prepared to welcome those invited ones, the ones I am ready and prepared for, who come at the allotted hour, and who look like others I already know, where then is hospitality?
Taylor, C. A. (2020). Flipping methodology: Or, errancy in the meanwhile and the need to remove doors. Qualitative Inquiry. 27 (2) 235–238. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800420943513
Here is something about me:
I am Professor of Higher Education and Gender in the Department of Education at the University of Bath where I am Head of Research and lead the Learning, Pedagogy and Diversity Research cluster. My research focuses on the entangled relations of knowledge, power, gender, space and ethics in higher education and utilizes trans- and interdisciplinary feminist materialist and posthumanist theories and methodologies. I am co-editor of the journal Gender and Education. I serve on the Editorial Boards of Teaching in Higher Education, Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning and Journal of Posthumanism. My latest books are Taylor, C. A., Ulmer, J., and Hughes, C. (Eds.) (2020) Transdisciplinary Feminist Research: Innovations in Theory, Method and Practice. London: Routledge; Taylor, C. A. and Bayley, A. (Eds.) (2019) Posthumanism and Higher Education: Reimagining Pedagogy, Practice and Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan, and Taylor, C. A., Abbas, A. and Amade-Escot, C. (Eds.) (2019) Gender in Learning and Teaching: Feminist Dialogues across International Boundaries. London: Routledge.
When is a door not a door? When it is ajar…
This was one of the riddles we used to tell each other as children, the play on words was interesting, we would always sigh when the punchline was given. The Etymology of the word ‘ajar’ is quite revealing:
“slightly open, neither open nor shut,” 1718, also on a jar, on the jar, perhaps from Scottish dialectal a char “turned a little way,” earlier on char (mid-15c.) “on the turn (of a door or gate),” from Middle English char “a turn,” from Old English cier “a turn”.
Ajar describes a range of doors – neither open nor shut, maybe open more for some than others. We can make a turn, follow a turn, lead a turn, someone can be on the turn or partially turned. In academia and life there are always doors to go through and gatekeepers to these doors. Blocked doors can jar us…they are affective and the resultant feelings can cause bodily hurts. Carol unpicks the challenge of doors in her provocation and urges ‘if postqualitative endeavors are to be worth anything, and if flipping methodology in postqualitative mode is an ethico-onto-epistemological political project in relation to opening theory-practice spaces in which differential matterings actually matter, then we need postqualitative to be a dwelling which is capacious, airy, heart-ful, and has no doors.’
I see ajar-ness as both a movement and moment of becoming, a zone of indiscernibility that exists between bodily interconnections. Deleuze and Guattari (1987) conceptualize this by considering the moment of pollination between the orchid and the wasp where becoming acts as an encounter, a point of transformation, a ‘difference-in-itself’ which is affirmative and productive. These thresholds of becoming ajar are self-sustaining and engender wider connectivity producing becomings elsewhere.
As a response to Carol’s provocation:
Doors can be ajar
On the turn
Perhaps we need to be more ajar…
On the turn
Perhaps we need to be more ajar…