A Method of Intuition: Becoming, Relationality, Ethics

Coleman, Rebecca. 2008. A Method of Intuition: Becoming, Relationality, Ethics. History of the Human Sciences, 21(4), pp. 104-123. ISSN 0952-6951 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines social research on the relations between (young) women's bodies and images through Bergson's method of intuition, which suggests that the only way a thing can be known is through coinciding with the uniqueness of its becoming. I suggest that in this aim, intuition is, necessarily, an intimate research method. Rather than apply Bergson's argument to this area of social research, I examine the resonances between his philosophical method and the moves within social research to attend to the performativity, creativity or inventiveness of research methods. With a focus on my own research, which explored the relations between 13 girls' bodies and images from a feminist-Deleuzian position, I argue here that the interconnected issues of becoming, uniqueness and coincidence that Bergson raises connect with concerns in social research about ontology, concepts and methods. In particular, I suggest that relationality is crucial to these connections. Drawing through the significance of relations, I argue that intimate, intuitive research is desirable because of the ethics that it opens up and enables; ethics intimate in attention to the becoming unique to the object at stake in research and in the attempt to coincide with this uniqueness.

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This is the post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing) version. It does not use publisher's layout or pagination.


bodies; ethics; images; intuition; relationality

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Date Deposited:

18 Oct 2013 08:22

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:53

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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