Feminist listening and becoming: voice poems as a method of working with young women’s stories of domestic abuse in childhood

Frances, Tanya (2023). Feminist listening and becoming: voice poems as a method of working with young women’s stories of domestic abuse in childhood. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 20(1) pp. 52–73.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2022.2071785

Abstract

This article presents reflections on using the listening guide, focusing on reflexive work with voice poems. It is based on research which explored the stories of ten young adult women who experienced parental domestic abuse in childhood. A dialogical theory is used to reflect on the process of working with three voice poems, showing that we engage with the material we work with in embodied, emotional, and personal ways. It considers working with voice poems as a ‘way in’ to our own stories and selves, by way of moving beyond empathy and attending to discomfort as a bodymind reflexive practice. Reflexivity is therefore not a mind-based activity that relies on declaring and engaging with a unitary self. Rather, researchers are dialogical selves that are both affected by, and that affect, the material we work with. This has implications for domestic abuse research where survivor-victim voices tend to be smoothened out resulting in dominant, binary narratives that risk reproducing epistemic injustices. This article concludes that poetic inquiry can be considered a method of resistance to such epistemological injustices, using bodymind reflexive engagement with our own selves, and examining the implications of this for knowledge production.

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