It is a truism that ‘people never look up’ and in that lies the power of up. any elevation lifts the gaze into voyeuristic pan-opticism regardless of the participants typical social positions.
During a discussion of the ‘norm-oriented’ transformations wrought by the process of entextualization Edwards indicates that
“… the elicitation of versions-for-the record is also a widespread research tool in the human and social sciences, in the forms of interview and questionnaire studies, ethnographic research, the elicitation of participant ‘protocols’, studies of oral narratives, autobiographical memories, and so on.”
[Edwards Discourse & Cognition (SAGE 1997) p130]
This is enormously problematic for the study of us and our society, culture, and discourse because we take such textual products as though they reports on their ostensible objects when they are not. They are (Edwards continues) “discursive interactions to be analysed as such, rather than as methods for eliciting, however carefully and cautiously, thought and fact.” Indeed what such products give us is an image of the relations of power that produced them not the psychological, social, cultural, or discursive issues they are ostensibly ‘about’. Getting at those networks of relation of power is what we can do with such material and we need to refocus our efforts onto this and away from the epistemologically unsustainable study of those ostensible objects.