The Supervisory Assemblage: A Singular Doctoral Experience
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In this thesis, I apply Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s ontology of becoming to my own learning, thinking and writing. The adopted method - nomadic inquiry, is derived from the philosophising of Deleuze, whose concepts function as pedagogic values that I mobilise throughout my writing and perform – not merely explain, to problematise common perceptions of the thesis, supervision and doctoral experience. Deleuze resists models that inhibit context-specific creativity, yet I can readily identify the defining features of my own supervision: resolutely student-centred, facilitative of free experimentation, supportive of my becoming as an academic subject and the writing through which this was achieved. Non-teleological nomadic writing does not preclude strategic intent. Hence, the thesis records the process of my learning but equally functions as a crucial resource for additional and post-doctoral writing. It was conceived as a ‘body without organs’ – a surface of inscription for affective learning processes arising in a supervisory assemblage where rigid distinctions between self and other proved unsustainable. Contra characterisation of doctoral research as solitary scholarly activity, the heterogeneity and relationality of learning emerges through my writing and in the areas to which I am drawn in my theoretical engagement. I consider former academic experiences and characterise my current supervisory assemblage as rhizomatic - a complex relational space where connections are continually made, but not fixed, in the knowledge-seeking process. Such connections are not wholly undetermined but reveal processes of stratification and destratification. I seek to show that the creative potential of the rhizomatic supervisory assemblage lies in the tensions thereby generated. I also lay bare sedimented resistances that arise as I mobilise the concept of theoretical assemblage and connect with writers like Butler and Cixous. This thesis defies the ascetic ideal pervading normative accounts of doctoral experience, academic textual production and theoretical engagement. It embodies my desire to embrace an ontology of becoming and its pedagogic corollaries.
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