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The power of the displaced interview: stor(e)ying as therapeutic practice

Owen, Jennifer 2017. The power of the displaced interview: stor(e)ying as therapeutic practice. Presented at: RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 30 August - 1 September 2017.

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This paper draws upon research undertaken in order to understand the role of self-storage in the lives of those who use it. The project seeks to find out what motivates it usage and what the displacement of personal possessions away from the home can tell us about the constantly evolving nature of identity. The research explores how self-storage is viewed as a temporary solution by those renting it at a time of stress and/or transformation in their lives. These events can be out of the control of those effected and self-storage acts as a vessel to pick up (and store) the pieces. In order to understand the nature of shifting identities, as exposed by the stored materialities, a sensitive interview strategy was employed. This involved asking questions about the practicalities and mundane qualities of the storage and objects within, which brushed up against rather than cut through the issue. In essence, questions were posed about the consequence of the event, rather than the event itself. The participant then, sparked by reengagement with their possessions, related back to the greater issue at play. This displaced interview – both from the original location of the incident, and through talking about trauma circuitously, enabled the participants to sift through the objects and related hardship without the prerequisite expectation of confronting their feelings, and to a depth that they felt comfortable with. After the interview it was noted that most participants felt it had been cathartic. This paper argues that the displacement of triggering possessions from the place/moment/relations of trauma creates the space and time necessary to deal with them, and the displaced interview enables the co-production of narratives that act as therapeutic practice.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Funders: ESRC
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:02

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