What would you say are the primary purposes of this interface? What should the design aim to achieve?


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Mike Fortun's picture
December 29, 2023

Well...So...I've been reading this Bass book off and on for the last few weeks, after reading it off and on a few years ago and then realizing that I couldn't say what it said, and then came to the passage at the beginning of this excerpt where Derrida is quoted as post-ulating, "Beyond opposition, différance and rhythm." Which made me text Lindsay:

i hope you are continuing to think with dance even if you are dancing less…

grounded theory is organized for securing, security, mastery, proving but has to background, marginalize, even negate the play of movement and interpretation, which is no way to dance/think…

we need to, uh, ground that some for NSF but that’s why the interfaces of MaxQDA or QDR won’t work for us, they are designed to ground or reground or reproduce grounds rather than set up the next leap…

let’s reset for writing time on the proposal

to which she wrote back:

Leaps and grounds?
Design logic

We were supposed to write on the NSF proposal earlier in the week but I forgot and then neither of us really felt like doing it. But I'd been reading Bass, and then continued with reading through the end of the excerpt here, trying to think through what exactly we would say about "interpretation" and how our model (well, my model anyway) of interpretation is specific to, or let's say bound to ethnographic analysis rather than (to keep this simple) grounded theory. These pages come toward the end of Bass's text, which is organized around three models of interpretation: affirmative interpretation (Nietzsche), descriptive interpretation (Heidegger) and "spectral, binding interpretation" (Derrida). All within a psychoanalytic frame. So much falls into place here (my italicizations are bound to key words in Bass's/Derrida's texts, which you can also see my underlinings in the excerpt)...

Bass has been reading Derrida (The Post Card) reading Freud (Beyond the Pleasure Principle) re-reading his own earlier analysis of his pleasure principle (drive), in part through watching (reading) his grandson playing fort-da with a spool. I could go on. But to get more quickly to the point or something like it:

PECE interfaces are designed and need to be further re-designed to be different than (but not opposed to) QDR or MaxQDA. It would be good to have some screen shots of these, especially the "annotation for transparency" in QDR. Interpretation in grounded theory is all about security, assuredness, mastery, control, proof, determination. The interpretation arrived at through grounded theory is *the* interpretation. The interface between analysis and data, structure and infrastructure, has to forget about or marginalize or exclude the gap or space between them, the play in, with, and between the structure of interpretative theory and the data infrastructure. It forgets or disavows the leaps that are as essential to analysis as the grounds and groundings. When it's all grounded there's no dance. No play. Completely serious, guaranteed, you take it to the bank, capitalize on it. A security. It may not be positivist, and doesn't think of itself as positivist, but it is nevertheless determinist. And determinism is defensive. Grounded theory defends its truths, and wants to show how they are produced so that they can be reproduced. They have to resist challenge and further play. The open system gets closed.

And we're not opposed to that. Our analyses come from a position of aloofness, as Bass describes the position of the psychoanalyst, but we listen rather than see, hear and read and play to arrive at our interpretations rather than see (directly, the eyes don't lie) and ground. Or more than, rather than rather. Or a matter of timing and rhythm. Our interpretation and our pleasure comes from binding and unbinding, in a fort-da oscillating way, a relation that gets created in play and through chance because it binds and it binds because the object, the data has always already been bound to it, unconsciously?. Question mark. Question, mark.

So the interface consists of or involves both the binding/grounding and the unbinding/play, the closing and the opening, the fictive and the real. Our objects (all objects) are transitional objects in the Winnicottian sense, both us and not-us bound together so that it doesn;t make sense to think or ask if they can be unbound, if they are real or fictive or constructive. Interpretation is beyond, interpretation is the beyond of the real-fictive bind, the beyond of the fort-da that got made by the movement of the fort-da, the timing and spacing of différance where the fort-da happens, the relation, the Third. Spectral, binding interpretation.

Hard to write, let alone write for NSF.