Guide to Imagework: Imagination-Based Research Methods

Guide to Imagework: Imagination-Based Research Methods

Guide to Imagework: Imagination-Based Research Methods

Guide to Imagework: Imagination-Based Research Methods

Synopsis

A Guide to Imagework is a pioneering guide to a new trend in ethnographic research: the use of imaginative, experiential methods such as dreamwork, artwork, Gestalt theory and psychodrama. Originating in group counselling and psychiatric therapy, imagework techniques explore subjects' imaginative resources to reveal unconscious knowledge about identity, belief and society. They are ideal for accessing rich qualitative data about how individuals and cultures function. Iain Edgar, a leading specialist on ethnographic method, has condensed top-level research theory on imagework into this handy practical manual. Complete with case studies and examples, hands-on tips and guidance on methods and ethics, it is an ideal starting point for any imagework project.

Excerpt

There are few spheres of human life that are so central and yet so everyday and familiar as our imaginative worlds. and it is quite astonishing that this important area has hitherto received so little scholarly attention. the reporter Egon Erwin Kisch remarked at the beginning of the twentieth century that nothing is so exciting and exotic as the everyday, the usual - so it is no cause for surprise that a social anthropologist should devote himself to the study and practical application of the human power of imagination, a subject which is at the same time so near and yet so far that it has up to now been almost overlooked.

Caught in a falsely conceived rationalism, whole regions of human life were for a long time excluded from scholarly treatment, regions that appear difficult to check and to lie on the border, according to the traditional understanding of science, between exact proof and inner images. Only today, for example, with the growing interest in the functions of the human brain, have scientific questions concerning the power of the human imagination entered into the centre of attention. Whence comes the inexhaustible creative potential of our fantasy and ideas, our dreams and memories - and how can we apply it in the everyday course of research and teaching?

Iain Edgar has concerned himself with this field of study for many years, and it is to be heartily welcomed that he now here presents for the first time a comprehensive and innovative survey of most of the various applications and methods of imagework. This he does in a readily accessible form in which the reader is guided to undertake his own experiments. To draw on Iain Edgar's rich fund of experience means for the social anthropologist to devote him/herself more intensely and more deeply to human experience than s/he has hitherto thought possible. With the help of the imagework method, we can collect data about the meaning that people give their world and their ideas, but also about the

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