Goodley, Dan and Fisher, Pamela (2005) Finding rhizomes in narrative research: Conceptualising parents of disabled babies the Deleuze & Guattari way. In: Nordic Network on Disability Research NNDR 8th Research Conference, 14th-16th April 2005, Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica, Oslo, Norway.
Abstract

In order for narrative research – or disability research per se – to enable, it must ready to
conceptualise the complex terrains of knowledge and activism. Narrative research has to
work alongside disabled people, their allies, their practices, their resistances and their
theorising. This paper makes a case for a framework of understanding that embraces the
narrators and characters of disability stories. Disability studies tends to understand its
concepts (e.g. disability, exclusion, inclusion, impairment, politicisation, people) as
entities rooted in arborescent, hierarchical and tree-like forms of knowledge. These
modernist misconceptions fail to understand the world and its knowledges as plateaus of
extended, connected, collective assemblages of enunciation. Knowledge, practice, living
and activism can be better understood rhizomatically. Borrowing from Deleuze and
Guattari (1987), this paper makes a case for narrative research understandings its
subjects, narrators and characters as rhizomes: deconstructing, deterritorialising and
reterritorialising the areas of policy, politics, practice, theory and activism. Swarming like
rats. Creating burrows for shelter and eventual breakout. Becoming angel makers.
Drawing on 25 in-depth narratives of parents of disabled babies, we map out a vision of
parents as fascicular root-like entities, not obstructed or arborified by thick set singular
tree-roots but enabled by lines of flight, resistance, flux and change.

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