And I mentioned that I have done research in each of the following tributaries:
Organizational communication research.
Pop culture research.
Communication and Technology.
So what about the rest?
Well, I am an old punk and one thing I did was start visiting The Lemp - a local arts center in Saint Louis to go see shows. After a while, I decided to do an ethnography there. The first few drafts were a mess and I could not get this thing published. So I had the opportunity to go to a Young Scholars Workshop at the Central States Communication Association Conference (CSCA). CSCA, as you will see, plays a huge role in this particular part of my narrative.
For people who think that academics sit alone in their home all the time – while partially true – it is only part of the story.
Besides meeting Adam Tyma (more on him and Art Herbig later) at this conference a number of us young scholars critiqued each other’s work under the advisement of organizational communication guru Patrice Buzzanell. After some discussion, she noted that my one piece was actually two pieces. One had to do with the narratives at play in the arts center itself. The other had to do with my own narrative and identity. It took me a while to separate the two, but she was right.
How right was she? Absolutely right. Once separated, I submitted the two new, shorter, but more focused pieced. One Narrative as an organizing process: Identity and story in a new nonprofit, came out in Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management. The other, Never mind the scholar, here’s the old punk: Identity, community, and the aging music fan, came out in SSI.
A combination = Organizational Communication + Popular Culture + Personal Narrative.
Now fast forward a few years to another CSCA…and a neat combination of the purposeful and the serendipitous.
I was a little frustrated with my personal narrative writing. It was a crisis. I thought to myself, “I’m writing all this stuff, and it’s getting published, but I don’t feel like I am really connected to anything larger.” I presented a piece on my frustration. (And eventually got that piece published as Criteria against ourselves?: Embracing the opportunities of qualitative inquiry.) That presentation was purposeful.
That Bob Batchelor was in the audience was serendipitous.
I did not know Bob. In fact, I had never heard of him, as at the time we travelled in vastly different circles. He’s a popular culture and literature guru. (Seriously, click on his name above!) I was doing my personal narrative and organizational communication research.
And then I got a Facebook message from him about my piece on being an aggravated academic. We talked about academic publishing and some of the other dilemmas we all face. Then he invited me to write the lead article for the first volume and issue of the Popular Culture Studies Journal on popular culture and autoethnography. It was at that point that another two streams of my research came together: personal narrative and popular culture. While I could have written about any of my pop culture obsessions (Dr. Strange, Buffy, punk rock, etc.) I decided to write about the alt-Christian band Daniel Amos, with whom I've had a lifetime relationship, entitled Daniel Amos and me: The power of pop culture and autoethnography. A combination = Personal Narrative + Popular Culture.
But wait! There’s more! I still haven’t gotten to those guys named Tyma and Herbig, or Andrew Dunn, DragonCon, Buffy, and comic books!!
That will wait until next time…