Changing The Subject: Questioning The Nature Of ‘experience’ In Empirical Research

Nesta Devine
Vol 28, Number 2, p.64
This paper attempts to address the question of what is meant by the ‘experience’ of groups of people who become research subjects in respect of that experience. In this paper I would like to survey the views of a range of significant writers who represent a continuum: from those who focus on sense perceptions to those who are more interested in cultural and linguistic elements, which might be thought to construct understandings of experience; and then move to consider the implications of Friedrich Nietzsche’s perhaps idiosyncratic view that experience is more a matter of purposeful forgetting than of constructed remembering. John Dewey offers a richer notion of research, which involves experience and change on the part of researcher as well as researched.