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Older women’s narration of their experience(s) of creating voice presented through ethnoperformance Terrett, Marianna

Abstract

Through the process of ethnoperformance (a form of interpretive ethnography), I explore how women over seventy narrate their experiences of creating voice. If ethnoperformance is considered the fabric, then collaboration, creation of a safe environment, performative inquiry and discussion/debriefing are the essence of the fabric, the threads that when woven together create a long-lasting durable cloth. The epistemology or, how we come to know, within which the performance ethnography is co-constructed (social constructionism and qualitative inquiry, in this case performative inquiry) is found within the postmodern paradigm. The purpose for this ethnoperformative research study is to discover the multiple ways in which older women narrate their experiences of creating voice in order to co-create and coconstruct a reflexive teaching and counselling tool. This tool has the potential to create awareness and understanding of older women's experience of lacking and creating voice in order to allow for meaningful, even transforming human connections, and to empower participants, both individually and as a group, as they perform their stories of being silenced. I position myself in this collaborative research study trusting that older women are empowered when they experience meaningful learning through an interweaving of "doing, knowing, talking and creating, " (Fels & Meyer, 1997, p.80) rather than simply being talked to or talked at. My interpretations for this study are constructed from the landscape consisting of individual preworkshop conversational interviews, field notes, whole story (wholistic) and content narrative analysis of videoed workshops, journals (participants' and researcher's), and individual postworkshop conversational interviews. Having analyzed and interpreted the data from the study and met with the participants for member checks and my peers for peer checks, I have concluded that the women in my study were empowered though the performing (doing, knowing, talking and creating) of their individual stories. As well, I have outlined the group process of ethnoperformance that evolved from the six workshops and how voice is created through that process. Finally, I concluded that there were six group stories that were meaningful and common experiences to all five participants. I include the outlines for all six workshops and a discussion on how my findings relate or do not relate to current extant literature that is relevant to my research study.

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