Bronwyn Davies is an independent scholar based in Sydney, Australia. She is also a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. The distinctive features of her work are, on the one hand, her development of innovative social science research methodologies incorporating elements of the visual, literary and performative arts, and, on the other, its strong base in the conceptual work of poststructuralist philosophers such as Deleuze and Foucault and Nancy. Her research explores the discursive practices and relations of power through which particular social worlds are constituted. She is well known for her work on gender, for her work with collective biography, and her writing on poststructuralist theory. Current projects include:
This project is not quite history, not quite fiction, not quite poetry, not quite autobiography -- but all of these, tracing the lives of families who left the northern hemisphere in the 1800s to come to New South Wales. The families in this book are the various ancestors of Bronwyn's parents; ancestors who traveled from Scotland, England, Wales, the island of Jersey, Denmark and India.
Gender and Education
This project addresses the question of gender and education in the new decade. Since social change depends on a change of narrative, it asks what the new narrative might be for girls in the new decade. Taking a fairy story, The Fairy-who-wouldn't fly, written in the 1940s and rewritten in the 1970s, and rewriting it for the current period, this paper offers a new narrative and offers an analysis of why the elements drawn on in this rewriting are relevant to the decade to come.
Deleuze and pedagogy
Earlier work on body-landscape relations, and on enabling pedagogies, has shifted toward the development of a theory of place in pedagogical settings. This has led to the 2009 book Pedagogical Encounters, co-edited with Susanne Gannon and including work with Peter Bansel, Catherine Camden Pratt, Constance Ellwood and Katerina Zabrodska.
Ken Gergen wrote of this book: "Pedagogical Encounters is a wholly absorbing work. It is bursting with fresh and exciting ideas that leap from the text into the classroom, and indeed into daily life. The contributors draw inspiration from the work of philosopher Gilles Deleuze, but in their hands issues of relationality, art, indeterminacy, difference, and co-creation take on new significance. We see them brought to life in wide-ranging classroom practices and gain from these expositions a new compass for enriching educational practice."
A further book with Gannon, Somerville, Power and de Carteret, Place Pedagogy and Change, is published with Sense Publishers in 2011.
Deleuze and collaborative writing
A collaborative project with Susanne Gannon at UWS, and with UK scholars Jonathan Wyatt and Ken Gale, takes up a Deleuzian approach to collaborative writing. The book from this project was published by Peter Lang in 2011 and opens up both Deleuzian philosophy to a new reading and shows what that philosophy looks like when put into practice. Using a combination of collective biography and nomadic writing, this book develops a radically new approach to the collaborative act of writing. Norm Denzin wrote of it: "This four-voiced engagement with Deleuze brilliantly moves collaborative writing into new spaces. The text explores uncharted topics, including all the transgressive poetic places between ontology, ethics and nightmares. In [these authors'] hands, writing becomes more than a method of inquiry, it is a way of being in the world. And once you enter this space, you can never go back."
Listening to Children. Being and Becoming
Drawing on poststructural philosophers Deleuze, Nancy, and Bergson, and also on Buddhist philosophy, this work draws on observations in Reggio Emilia inspired preschools in Sweden, on Bronwyn's daily life in her neighbourhood and on the re-writing of the fairy story The Fairy who Wouldn't Fly. It develops the concept of emergent listening as an idea, an ideal and a practice, not only in educational settings, but in everyday life.
This project re-visits Foucault's book on Pierre Riviere. The documents gathered together in Foucault's book are being re-analysed and new questions asked about the extraordinary story of this young French man who lived in the 1830s in rural France. With Jane Speedy and her colleagues in Bristol, a special issue on Pierre Riviere has been published in Emotion, Space and Society.
The original work elaborating the methodology of collective biography was published by Bronwyn Davies and Suzanne Gannon in 2006 as Doing Collective Biography published by Open University Press. Of this book Elizabeth St Pierre wrote: At last a book that not only describes what collective biography is but also explains how to use it... The book describes how to set up collective biography workshops in which participants examine how discursive structures and power relations have both enabled and limited the conditions of possibility for their lived experience. Focusing on a more complicated reflexivity than is usually described in social science research, collective biography, inspired by Frigga Haug and refined by Davies, will no doubt be used increasingly by researchers interested in the production of subjects in a postmodern world." Davies has had invitations from around the world – including Czech Republic, U.K., Ireland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Canada – to teach this methodology. She has written collaborative collective biography papers and books with scholars in many of these countries.