Relational positionality and a learning disposition: Shifting the conversation

Talitiga Ian Fasavalu, Martyn Reynolds

Abstract


In the complex and diverse region of Oceania, researchers often work across more than one cultural understanding. Thus, a researcher’s position with regard to their research requires careful ongoing negotiation because position, when understood through relationality, is fluid. Negotiating position requires acute reflexivity of the researcher but also offers opportunities for ongoing development and agency. In this article, we use the literature of relational positionality and autoethnographic methodology to discuss two researchers’ deliberate re-positioning in relation to their field of education, focusing on deliberate self-change and the application of new conceptual learning. The context is Pasifika education, a space which sits between different knowledge systems as the education of Pacific-origin people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The article demonstrates how storying can support new understandings which, in turn, can help negotiate positionality. The argument draws on data from a conference tok stori session that illustrates the potential of storying to expose, re-value and then reweave positionality through relational activity.

In the complex and diverse region of Oceania, researchers often work across more than one cultural understanding. Thus, a researcher’s position with regard to their research requires careful ongoing negotiation because position, when understood through relationality, is fluid. Negotiating position requires acute reflexivity of the researcher but also offers opportunities for ongoing development and agency. In this article, we use the literature of relational positionality and autoethnographic methodology to discuss two researchers’ deliberate re-positioning in relation to their field of education, focusing on deliberate self-change and the application of new conceptual learning. The context is Pasifika education, a space which sits between different knowledge systems as the education of Pacific-origin people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The article demonstrates how storying can support new understandings which, in turn, can help negotiate positionality. The argument draws on data from a conference tok stori session that illustrates the potential of storying to expose, re-value and then reweave positionality through relational activity.

Keywords


Relationality, Pacific education, researcher positionality, tok stori, vā

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