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From Fire Escapes to Qualitative Data: Pedagogical Urging, Embodied Research, and Narrative Medicine’s Ear of the Heart 

From Fire Escapes to Qualitative Data: Pedagogical Urging, Embodied Research, and Narrative Medicine’s Ear of the Heart
Chapter:
From Fire Escapes to Qualitative Data: Pedagogical Urging, Embodied Research, and Narrative Medicine’s Ear of the Heart
Author(s):

Edgar Rivera Colón

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199360192.003.0012
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date: 22 January 2022

The author begins with a lyrical and evocative description of a cilantro-green fire escape from which he observed the neighborhood of his childhood, explaining that the work of the ethnographer is rooted in experiences of observation and experience. Drawing upon these tools of social interaction, training in qualitative research methods can help students to discover and reframe their already practiced skills in the social observation and interpretation with which they, and all of us, traverse the world. The embodied and reflexive nature of this practice is emphasized, with attention to the observer’s own social positionality and identity. Citing William Stringfellow’s proposal that “listening…is a primitive act of love,” the author proposes that qualitative research and narrative medicine both offer frameworks for such listening, with implications of political and social liberation.

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