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QIXXXX10.1177/1077800417704469Qualitative InquiryNordstrom

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Qualitative Inquiry

Antimethodology: Postqualitative
112
The Author(s) 2017
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DOI: 10.1177/1077800417704469
https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800417704469
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Susan Naomi Nordstrom1

Abstract
In this article, I explain antimethodologya creative and generative methodologyand its resulting research conventions
that were put to work in a study about an assemblage of humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving in family history
genealogy. Antimethodology is a middle space that is created between reterritorializing forces (e.g., conventional qualitative
inquiry) and deterritorializing forces (e.g., poststructural and posthuman theories that throw positivist and interpretivist
theories that ground conventional qualitative inquiry into radical doubt). Antimethodology, then, cannot be replicated or
transferred to other studies. Rather, each iteration of antimethodology materializes from the forces at work in a research
context. I offer research conventions, or contingent meetings between these forces, as a way to rethink methods, data,
and other practices within qualitative inquiry/research.

Keywords
postqualitative, methodology, Deleuze

This article begins with a series of events that have passed A Series of Events
through me beginning (I think, though I am not sure) in 2009
when I became methodologically responsible to a project The following sections contain a series of events that ask,
about nonhuman objects (e.g., photographs, documents, and What can a study do? (Manning, 2016). In such a series
other artifacts) used in family history genealogy practices. of events, the rigor must emerge from within the occasion
The movement of the events forced me to recognize the of experience, from the events own stakes in its coming-to-
entangled intersections among the what, who, how, and why be (Manning, 2016, p. 38). To maintain such a sense of
of inquiry (Kuntz, 2015, p. 17). The shifting intersections rigor, I do not overly situate the following events (Manning,
among processes, people, objects, purposes, and so on, of 2016). The following events contain minor gestures, not-
the project constitute an intermezzo that asked me to radi- yets that pulsate with rigorous in between movements that
cally rethink the habits and concepts of qualitative research carry with them virtual potential (Manning, 2016). The fol-
as generative research conventions that operate in the middle lowing series of events
of the reterritorializing forces of conventional qualitative
may go nowhere. But what they will do no matter what, is
research and the deterritorializing forces of posthumanist
create a process and, even better, a practice, and it is this that
theories. Antimethodology materializes in between these will have made a difference. For it will have made felt the urge
forces. Because these forces are always moving, antimethod- of appetition, and with it the works affirmation of the not-yet.
ology is multiple and refuses singularity (Koro-Ljungberg, (p. 39)
2016). Consequently, I make no grand claims toward a logi-
cal series of practices that other researchers can insert into
their work. I ask what else antimethodology can become in And . . . And . . . And
the postqualitative moment. To do this work, the first part of Methodology came too late for my study that got to work in
the article, A Series of Events, offers a stream of con- an assemblage of humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliv-
sciousness of elastic, incipient, and tentative research events ing in family history genealogy (St. Pierre, 2011).1 When I
that carry with them minor gestures, sites of dissonance,
staging disturbances that open experience to new modes of
expression (Manning, 2016, p. 2). The second part of the 1
University of Memphis, TN, USA
article, Generative Conventions, theorizes those events.
Corresponding Author:
The final part of the article, Antimethodology, offers a Susan Naomi Nordstrom, University of Memphis, 101 C Ball Hall,
series of procedures that aim to help readers make the mul- Memphis, TN 38152, USA.
tiple of antimethodology. Email: susan.nordstrom@gmail.com
2 Qualitative Inquiry 00(0)

wrote the research proposal in 2009 for the research that got qualitative inquirys focus on unitary being, a being that
to work in an assemblage of humans, nonhumans, living, exists (Simondon, 2009, p. 6) and can be known through
and nonliving in family history genealogy, I quickly real- methodologies such as case study and narrative inquiry as
ized that this assemblage disrupted conventional humanist well as data collection methods such as interviewing and
qualitative inquirys foundational conceptualizations of observation. As I have stated elsewhere (Nordstrom,
humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving. Conventional 2015b), conventional qualitative research rests on a realist
qualitative research is subject-centered in that it primarily ontology, in which being is considered as consistent in its
uses methods such as interviewing and participant observa- unity, given to itself, founded upon itself, not created,
tion to draw information from people face to face to pro- resistant to that which it is not (Simondon, 2009, p. 4). In
duce to knowledge about people and the meaning they such an ontology, being is stable, can be known and
make of their lived experiences. If nonhumans such as doc- recorded, and works within binary divisions, such as Self/
uments, photographs, and artifacts are included within a Other. Moreover, such an ontology focuses on humans
conventional qualitative research project, they are generally rather than nonhumans and on living humans rather than
viewed as secondary, ancillary data sources about people. nonliving humans. The questions I posed suggested another
However, my study considered nonhumans and humans ontology of these termsSimondons individuation and
(participants) to be equally important in the production of ontogenesis.
knowledge. The human/nonhuman binary could not hold in Simondon (2009) described individuation as consider-
this study. Conventional qualitative research also relies on ing as primordial the operation of individuation from which
living people in that living people are interviewed and the individual comes to exist and of which its characteristics
observed. However, my study focused on nonliving humans reflect the development, the regime and finally the modali-
and how nonhumans animate the nonliving humans. The ties (p. 5). In other words, the individual is grasped as a
nonliving was equally important in knowledge production. relative reality (p. 5), a residue, a partial and relative reso-
The living/nonliving binary could not hold in this study. lution (p. 5) of contingent and constantly shifting relation-
Conceptually, I assumed the human, nonhuman, living, and ships. Barthelemy (2013) explained, The living being . . .
nonliving to be operating in a logic of the and (Deleuze & possess[es] a complex and durable individuality; its associ-
Guattari, 1987, p. 25, emphasis in original), and I wanted to ated milieu participates in its being, which is therefore a
study the process of formation of these terms and the assem- theatre of individuation (p. 213). Simply put, an individ-
blage they create in family history genealogy. I wanted to ual is a site of individuation and such a site is always in
know what these processes did and the felt reality of motion and composing itself. For the purposes of my study,
[those] relations (Massumi, 2002, p. 16) or the residues of individuals refer to both humans and nonhumans. As
those relations. Because I conceptualized humans, nonhu- Barthelemy explained, Simondons technical object also
mans, living, and nonliving differently, I had no methodolo- undergoes the process of concretization through which
gies, no methods that I could plug into the study. I only had the technical object calls forth an associated milieu that it
theories. I had to invent through repetition and differentia- integrates into its functioning (p. 213). Both human and
tion (Deleuze, 1994).2 nonhuman, then, call forth a milieu that is always in motion
that contingently forms them. Human and nonhuman indi-
viduals, then, are in a constant state of genesis, always cre-
Ontological Event ating, always becoming. Simondon uses the term
Deleuze (1991) wrote, Philosophy must constitute itself ontogenesis to describe such a process. He claimed that
as the theory of what we are doing, not as a theory of what ontogenesis is genesis of the individual (p. 5), a becom-
there is (p. 133). And, so, I set off with a plan to think, ing, a mode of resolution that is rich in potentials (p. 6).
live, and become with the logic of the and (Deleuze & Becoming, then, is an ontological framework of movement
Guattari, 1987, p. 25, emphasis in original) among humans, in which stasis of an individual is just a special kind of
nonhumans, living, and nonliving assemblage in family movement (Massumi, 2002), a slowing down, a momentary
history genealogy. To think, live, and become with this resolution of the relationships that contingently form an
assemblage, I attended to the and of the assemblage and individual (both human and nonhuman). Simondons onto-
what it did and continues to do in family history genealogy. genesis and individuation, however, focuses solely on the
How do humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving move living. To attend to the nonliving, I drew on Deleuzes
together in family history genealogy? How do other sys- (1993) fold, a movement [that] cannot be stopped (p. 12).
tems (e.g., theories, politics, and so on) work in this pro- While the physical body is no longer, the soul participates
cess? How does this process produce residues of these in a whole dramaturgy of souls, which makes them rise,
relations? How does this process create something else, descend, and rise again (p. 74). The infinite fold that is in
something new? These questions suggest a different onto- constant movement and flux pumps this dramaturgy with
logical framework that shifts away from conventional vitality. The nonliving, the deceased, forge their new
Nordstrom 3

present (p. 74) through the constant folding between living context, participants, and the object of knowledge rather
and nonliving. Becoming, then, has neither culmination than actively composing them as they materialize in a mov-
nor subject, but draw[s] one another into zones of proximity ing ontology. To help me think in this moving ontology, the
or undecidability (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 507) for questions I posed worked with processes of formation and
humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving. In other words, how these processes worked in the assemblage of humans,
an individual is always in movement, never completed, nonhumans, living, and nonliving family history geneal-
never whole thereby making that individual nebulous, even ogy. By simply asking about the work of this assemblage, I
after death. Such undecidability, however, is not a lack. was able to get to work in the middle (Deleuze, 1995,
Instead, undecidability overflows with potentiality gener- p. 161) and follow the processes rather than predetermine
ated by ever-shifting relationships. them.
In addition to disrupting conventional qualitative
researchs focus on unitary and living being, this ontologi-
Object-Interview Event
cal framework fractures the classical logic of induction and
deduction that grounds conventional qualitative inquiry as To help me work in the middle and follow the relationships
evidenced by practices such as coding (Bendassolli, 2013). between humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving and
Simondon (1992) reminded us that classical logic cannot what these relationships generate, I invented a method, the
be used to understand individuation (p. 312) and that clas- object-interview (Nordstrom, 2013b). I had to invent
sical logic reduces the study of individuation and ontogen- because no method in conventional qualitative research
esis. In other words, induction and deduction are perfectly would help me to attend to the relationships among humans,
fine to use when studying unitary being. But, I was not nonhumans, living, and nonliving and what those relation-
interested in unitary being. To study, live, and become in ships might produce. The object-interview is a conversa-
ontogenetic relations, I had to engage in transduction, an tional space in which humans, nonhumans, living, and
individuation in process (Simondon, 1992, p. 313). nonliving are entangled together to produce knowledge. I
Simondon (1992) described transduction as correspond[ing] created an open-ended interview guide, mainly for the pur-
to a discovery of dimensions according to which a problem- poses of appeasing the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
atic can be defined (p. 313). The problematic of my study, However, I never once used that guide because that guide
the assemblage of human, nonhuman, living, and nonliv- would have attempted to anticipate individuation and onto-
ing in family history genealogy must be studied in the genesis rather than engage in these processes as they mate-
dimensions those terms (i.e., human, nonhuman, living, rialized in space and time. My work consisted of freeing up
and nonliving) create. Helmreich (2007) explained that a spaces for individuation and ontogenesis rather than suc-
transductive focus in ethnography would be a mode of cumb to traditional methods of data collection that unify
attention that asks how definitions of subjects, objects, and being and stultify individuation and ontogenesis. My task
field emerge in material relations that cannot be modeled in was not to succumb to the allure of a unitary sense of being
advance (p. 632). In this way, transduction shifts Crottys that desires interpretive questions (What do you mean?) or
(2003) definition of methodology as a strategy or a plan of phenomenological questions (How did that make you feel?
What was that like when you encountered that object?). The
action into a different space. The strategy or plan of action,
conversational object-interview became both a physical and
if one can call it that, is to get to work in the middle and
linguistic space of exploring connections among humans,
becomings. In other words, the strategy became a way of
nonhumans, living, and nonliving. The physical spaces of
seeing [the living, nonliving, human, and nonhuman
the object-interviews became overwhelmed with relations
relationships and the residues of those relationships in family and the residues of those relations. Piles of photographs,
history genealogy] in the middle rather than looking down on artifacts, and documents populated tables in participants
them from above or up at them below, or from left to right or homes where we conversed. Those piles steamed with the
right to left. (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 23) movements among humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliv-
ing. These movements materialized a language dripping
Seeing in the middle asked me to radically rethink the with the residues of the associations and relations between
supposed stability of statement of the problem and those terms (Deleuze, 1991) in each object-interview.
research questions. These entities only function within Each object-interview created its own unstable structure of
classical formulations of logic. In both induction and relationsits own language of associationismamong
deduction, the question comes first and in so doing stabi- these entities. No one object-interview was the same, even
lize the context, participants, and the object of knowledge. with the same interviewee. The invented object-interview
One must define these areas. What do you want to know? was not even replicable in the study for which it was
Who will help you know that? Where will you go to col- invented. This invented method was itself a product of
lect data? In effect, the statement and questions striate ontogenesis, a becoming method.
4 Qualitative Inquiry 00(0)

Data Data Event The concept ensemble of life manifested from the data
assemblage that allowed me to create new ways of think-
The object-interviews connected to other data (e.g., theories ing (Colebrook, 2002, p. 17) about family history geneal-
I used to help me see in the middle; theories that material- ogy. I explain the concept in more detail elsewhere
ized in the object-interview transcripts; weather, dreams (Nordstrom, 2013b, 2015a). Here, I provide a definition in
[St. Pierre, 1997]; spectral data [Nordstrom, 2013a]; and so movement: An ensemble of life is a loose grouping of
on) in what I call a data assemblage (Nordstrom, 2015a), objects that continuously moves with an ancestor and is
yet another invention (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987). Manning open and connectable to other objects, ancestors as well as
(2016) reminded us that an assemblage has too often been social, historical, and cultural milieus, just to name a few.
read as an object or existent configuration, rather than its To create this concept, I moved between examples from the
potentializing directionality (p. 123). The data assemblage data assemblage and theories, specifically Deleuzes (1990,
is not a thing or object, rather, it caries within itself a sense 1993, 2006) fold, event, and a life.3 Elsewhere (Nordstrom,
of movement and connectability (p. 123). The data assem- 2015a), I explain how theory was always already moving
blage focuses on what data do rather than how they can be about in the data assemblage. The fold, events, and
organized (Manning, 2016). Deleuzes (2006) a life were already moving and shifting in
As a moving entity of ontogenetic residues of transduc- the assemblage. As I read Deleuzes writings on these con-
tion and individuation that somehow functions together cepts, the concepts amplified and pulsated with new vitality.
(Bogue, 2003, p. 98), the data assemblage made it possible Deleuzes writings, then, were not a system of signs or
to think data relationally instead of categorically, which, as conventions that we impose upon the world in order to
Foucault (1977) reminded us, reduces being. As data move organize or differentiate our experience (Colebrook, 2002,
together, they work together to produce knowledge, in what p. 20). I did not insert these Deleuzian concepts into the data
Bennett (2010) might call an agentic assemblage. Each con- assemblage. Instead, Deleuzes writings about these con-
stitutive line of the assemblage is vibratory in which both cepts became actions, or constant questions and creations
the membership changes over time and the members them- in response to experience (p. 20) in the data assemblage. In
selves undergo internal alteration (p. 35). In other words, other words, Deleuzes concepts responded to the data
the various data are always changing; as they modulate, assemblage and the data assemblage responded back in a
they shift the assemblage. It is useful, then, to think of the constant relay. The concepts became entangled with the
word data as a verb. The data data as they move in modulat- data assemblage and creat[ed] a future (p. 21), a future
ing ontogenesis. As the data data (or whatever it is that they that had already announced itself in the data assemblage.
do), they contingently structure themselves, to grow and Because the concept manifested itself from a generative
morph in different and unanticipated connections. The data data assemblage, the ensemble of life has moved and shifted
assemblage, therefore, is a veritable invention (Deleuze as I put different examples together to see what those exam-
& Guattari, 1987, p. 406), a moving constellation of data ples might do in other writings. Each time I write about the
dataing that is pumped by individuation and ontogenesis. ensemble of life, it becomes something else, something
subtly different from other iterations of the concept. To do
Knowledge Event this day, I am surprised to see the work of this concept as it
moves and shifts, always responsive to new, different, and
Most of the existing studies on family history genealogy use sometimes unanticipated experiences and theories.
humanist categories, such as subject-centered identity, to
describe family history genealogists and their work. For
example, the existing literature focuses on family history Writing Event
genealogists identities (e.g., Hackstaff, 2009a, 2009b, As ontogenesis churns a contingently structuring assem-
2010; Nash, 2002; Tutton, 2004; Tyler, 2005), family his- blage, I can never anticipate ethical events. Deleuze (1990)
tory genealogists research practices (e.g., Bishop, 2008; wrote, Either ethics makes no sense at all, or this is what
Duff & Johnson, 2003; Lambert, 1996; Veale, 2004), mem- it means and has nothing else to say: not to be unworthy of
ory work (e.g., Harevan, 1978; Lambert, 1996, 2002, 2003; what happens to us (p. 149). Each thought and piece of
Parham, 2008), and family history genealogy and its rela- writing about this study is an attempt to not be unworthy
tion to the field of history (e.g., Rosenzweig & Thelen, of this study. Deleuze and Parnet (2002) and his notes about
1998). Clearly, these humanist categories are both known his and Guattaris (1986) book on Kafka guide this work.
and assumed (Colebrook, 2002). The data assemblage, He wrote,
however, seeks to create linkages not yet assembled, to
produce ways of becoming, to invent new modes of exis- Think of the author you are writing about. Think of him so hard
tence (Manning, 2016, p. 124). What knowledge does a that he can no longer be an object, and equally so that you
data assemblage produce about family history genealogy? cannot identify with him. Avoid the double shame of the
Nordstrom 5

scholar and the familiar. Give back to an author a little of the dataing and they will continue to data. Analysis, then,
joy, the energy, the life of love and politics that he new how to becomes a constant series of Deleuzian unending encounters
give and invent. So many did writers must have wept over what that force us to think (Deleuze, 1994, p. 79). Thoughts
has been written about them. (p. 119) compose me, this study, as slow beings (Deleuze, 2006,
p. 283). We are always too late as ideas, conversations, and
In many ways, this quote illustrates what I try to do when I entanglements continue to connect to each other. From the
think and write about this study. Each piece of writing is residues of connections made possible by ontogenesis, I
driven by a power of creation [and the] cultivation of joy attempt to map realms to come (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987,
(Sellars, 2006, p. 166). Each piece of writing attempts to p. 5) by imagining, creating, and inventing possibilities with
give back what participants, theorists, and other scholars these connections.
have so generously given me. Each piece of writing aims
not to make these people weep over my writing. Each piece
of writing aims to cultivate joy through different ways of Problematic Events
thinking. Deleuze and Parnet (2002) went on to write, I Manning (2016) wrote that agencement, or assemblage, is
hope that Kafka was pleased with the book that we did on not an action directed by an existing subject, but a force of
him, and it is for that reason that the book pleased nobody distributed directionality in the event (p. 137). The assem-
(p. 119). As I continue to write about this study and, in par- blage of humans, nonhumans, living, and nonliving at
ticular, the ensemble of life, I hope to please the partici- work in family history genealogy generated known and
pants, their ancestors, my ancestors, Deleuze, and other unknown forces that moved the research events described
authors I cite. My writing hopes to create joy by affirming above. Each of the research events carry forces with them
the ontogenesis that continues to pump through this study. that move me to think differently to this day. I soon real-
Writing about ontogenesis and the residues that it pro- ized that there was no researcher behind this study. The
duces is always an approximation, always working at the research created me. In so doing, these research events
border which separates our knowledge from out ignorance became momentary recognitions in which I discover[ed]
and transforms the one into the other (Deleuze, 1994, p. how [my] practices situated [me] (Stengers, 2011, p. 372).
xxi). Writing about this study is a way for me to keep sur- Research concepts and practices learned in qualitative
prising myself at that border. I suspect that I give other research courses along with posthumanist theories collided
scholars headaches. Why wont she just say what she did? together in the assemblage. These collisions were produc-
What is so damned difficult about it? Why cant she just sit tive, generative even though they operated in two different
still? Why cant this study she keeps writing about keep ontologies. Practices were no longer pure mechanism(s)
still? These questions gesture toward what Lather (2015) or routine process(es) (Malabou, 2008, p. vii) as inter-
called the gravitational pull of humanism (p. 100); such a views became object-interviews (Nordstrom, 2013b) and a
pull is weighted by implications that pin down and nor- data set became a data assemblage (Nordstrom, 2015a).
malize a process so that others can replicate a study and Practices became creative and generative tensions that
draw sure knowledge from it. And, if that gives people a moved with questions and problems (Colebrook, 2002,
headache, well, then, I suppose I am okay with it. I cannot p. 21) that have no right answer. They have no right answer
anticipate what the rhythms of ontogenesis will create. Much because they are in an intermezzo, a generative middle
like the etymology of the word implication, ontogenesis space, where things pick up speed . . . [that] is necessarily
entangles me and generates life-affirming difference. constituted by the already familiar distinctions of social
Six years now have passed since I formally collected science, and to pick up speed is to recreate its concepts
data. During those 6 years, however, the study has kept from within (Fugelsang & Sorensen, p. 6). A collective
assembling itself. For example, I am still in contact with the collision of research events in an assemblage, then, asked
11 family history genealogists. The genealogists still contact me to rethink the practicesthe habits and conceptsof
me when they find new objects associated with their ances- qualitative research.
tors. One genealogist sent me a book she wrote about her
genealogical work. I still read and reread theories to help me
Generative Conventions
think differently about the study. This study, it seems, will
not end. When there exist no other drives than the assem- Clearly, I have not le[ft] conventional qualitative methodol-
blages themselves (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. 259), ogy behind, refuse[d] it (St. Pierre, 2015, p. 86) because I
studies never begin or stop. The beginning and ending still use concepts such as methodology, data, interview, and
points of a study became arbitrary markers of space and time so on, to describe the events of this study. Through research
that momentarily pause around the points that are usually classes, these concepts have formed a second nature
determined by outside forces (i.e., graduation deadlines set (Ravaisson, 2008), one that is difficult to refuse. MacLure
by universities). Data keep dataing. They always were (2013) described the difficulty of refusing these practices,
6 Qualitative Inquiry 00(0)

these habits. She wrote that is difficult, of course, not to on to write that the habits are developed and given upon
sink into the old habits of humanism and hubris that promise the plane of immanence of radical experience (p. 105).
some kind of depleted mastery over the world through the Habits and concepts, or habitsconcepts, then become
dogmatic exercise of methodological good sense or common conventions (p. 105) that ask the question, What is the
sense (p. 666). To help me think and occupy this undoing of habit that constitutes its concept? (p. 106). The term con-
these acquired habits and concepts, I have found Ravaissons ventions articulates a meeting, a contingent agreement,
(2008) essay on habits and Deleuzes singular and collective between habit and concept. Conventions of research become
work with Guattari on habits, concepts, language, and sci- a way to think about how habits and concepts cannot be
ence to be particularly useful. thought apart from one another. Moreover, conventions of
research gesture to Ravaissons (2008) idea that habits are
dispositions manifested by virtual potential in a middle
Habits and Concepts
space. Likewise, concepts, as Deleuze and Guattari (1994)
Ravaissons (2008) rethinking of habits positions them as note, are neither stable entities nor the essence or the thing
ontological dispositions with capacities of change. Rather (p. 21). Rather, as Colebrook (2002) suggested, concepts
than thinking about research habits as permanent entities create possibilities for thinking beyond what is already
that are somehow outside of transitory change (p. 25), known or assumed (p. 19) as they are incarnated or effec-
habits can be understood as a power of beginning tuated in bodies (Deleuze & Guattari, 1994, p. 21). Because
(Malabou, 2008, p. viii) that begin again and again in the conventions of research are not stable, they manifest them-
middle. Habits, Ravaisson argued, is a moving middle selves differently in each project. A new meeting, or an
term (p. 59) between a multiplicity of tendencies that occur unholy agreement, is always possible.
in transitory space and time. As research habits are put to
work in different multiplicities, they respond to a variety of
tendencies (e.g., theories, contexts, people, time, etc.). As An Unholy Science
these habits respond to these tendencies, they momentarily
Deleuze and Guattaris (1987) thoughts about royal science
cohere between the living beings activities and its milieu
(or more sedentary practices of science) and nomadic sci-
(Grosz, 2013, p. 218). Habits, then, move and shift in rela-
ence (a more eccentric science) provide useful ways to
tionship to the multiplicities from which they manifest. As
think about such unholy unions. In this instance, royal sci-
habits are repeated, they may very well draw from repeti-
entific practices refer to conventional qualitative research
tion something new: difference (Deleuze, 1994, p. 70).
and its drive to normalize qualitative research through a
This difference then creates an aptitude for change
series of discrete processes that form an imperative.
(Malabou, 2008, p. ix). Habits as middle spaces become
Nomadic science, however, follows the connections
elaboration[s] of tendency, production[s] of potentiality
between singularities of matter and traits of expression, and
(Grosz, 2013, p. 223). Grosz (2013) wrote the following
lodges on the level of these connections (p. 369). The con-
about Ravaissons conceptualization of habits:
nective and elastic nomadic science generated by poststruc-
tural theories deterritorializes the more striated, or royal,
They entail a change, a new virtuality, a new tendency to act, a
new potentiality. They bring about a new ability, the capacity to scientific practices, as I have attempted to demonstrate in
persist, thrive, change and grow in the face of a world that is the previous sections. Nomadic science, however, can never
itself subject to endless and often random change. Habits be disconnected from royal sciencea reterritorializing
provide the ability to change ones tendencies, to reorient ones practicethat continually imposes its form of sovereignty
actions to address the new, and to able to experience the on the inventions of nomad science (p. 362). In other
unexpected. (p. 221) words, the eccentric and deterritorializing creativity of
nomadic science practices is reterritorialized by royal sci-
In a moving ontology, in a world in which being does not sit ence. Stengers (2011) wrote, The only who is dangerous,
still, habits contingently move between individuals and irremediably destructive or tolerant, is someone who
milieus. As habits persist and change (Ravaisson, 2008) in a believes himself to be purely nomadic, because he can
moving ontology, they are at once both poison and rem- only define his practice in contrast to all others (p. 373).
edy (Malabou, 2008, p. xix). In sum, habits occupy a mid- Nomadic and royal science cannot be teased apart. Rather,
dle space that is constituted by movement. As habits repeat science, or research conventions, defines itself between the
and differentiate in this transitory space, they mobilize the complementary movements of a deterritorializing nomadic
potential of doing and thinking the habit differently. science and a reterritorializing royal science. For example,
Habits, however, cannot be divorced from concepts. For, I named the data assemblage to gesture toward the connec-
as Deleuze and Guattari (1994) wrote, Wherever there are tivity and elasticity between the two sciences. Research
habits there are concepts (p. 105). Deleuze and Guattari go conventions, then, are situated within these complementary
Nordstrom 7

movements with the and play[ing] the role of a tensor shift in conventions began to express ones openness to the
(p. 99) among royal and nomadic forces. future, along with ones relation of connection to the past:
Deleuze and Guattaris (1987) notion of continuous vari- [they] express the continuity of ones attractions and desires,
ation is useful to think about the complementary move- a cohesion that is endlessly open to modification (Grosz,
ments between the two sciences and conventions those 2013, p. 224). In this way, methodology, for example,
movements produce. Research conventions built on a con- becomes a series of balancing acts (Braidotti, 2011,
tinuous line of variation create a new form of redundancy. p. 284) in an assemblage that is out of joint but also
AND . . . AND . . . AND . . . (Deleuze & Guattari, 1987, p. engaged with the times, to be vowed to the future but active
98), an atypical expression of all of the possible conjunc- in the here and now (pp. 284-285). These balancing acts
tions (p. 99) between royal and nomadic scientific forces. generated different actualized research convention possi-
Research conventions become residues of the and as well as bilities that always carry with them virtual potential.
historical. Deleuze and Guattari wrote,

Not only are there as many statements as there are effectuations,


Strategic Enactments of Royal Science
but all of the statements are present in the effectuation of one I cannot simply pretend royal science away or assume that I
among them, so that the line of variation is virtual, in other am somehow outside of its reterritorializing forces. As
words, real without being actual, and consequently continuous Deleuze and Guattaris (1987) wrote,
regardless of the leaps the statements make. (p. 94)
The State does not give power (pouvoir) to the intellectuals or
For example, when the term methodology is built on the line conceptual innovators; on the contrary, it makes them a strictly
of continuous variation, it is at once all of its previous itera- dependent organ with an autonomy that is only imagined yet
tions as well as possible future iterations. A continuous line sufficient to divest those whose job it becomes imply to reproduce
of variation does not erase the history of methodology, for or implement of all of their power (puissance). (p. 368)
example, the forces of its colonialist and imperialistic itera-
tions (Tuhwai Smith, 2012). Rather, building methodology In order for me to do research with humans, the study has to
on a line of continuous variation asks researchers to be be sanctioned by the IRB at my university. The IRB oper-
accountable for all its iterations, even as a concept moves ates firmly within positivism, a royal science that, as many
along the line. In this sense, A variable can be continuous of us know, sometimes does not even recognize qualitative
over a portion of its trajectory, then leap or skip, without research as a scientific methodology. Deleuze and Guattari
that affecting its continuous variation (Deleuze & Guattari, (1987) suggested that Royal science is inseparable from a
1987, p. 95). As methodology becomes a mobile concept hylomorphic model implying both a form that organizes
and is deployed in certain contexts, it carries with it a his- matter and a matter prepared for the form (p. 369). Specific
tory of previous actualizations and virtual possibilities of to IRB, I have to organize the study, the matter, into particu-
doing research differently. On a line of continuous varia- lar practices, specifically positivist epistemologies and
tion, the practices of these terms are not pure reiteration ontologies. For example, I have to clearly delineate research
(Manning, 2012, p. 56), but instead, are repetition with a questions even though I anticipate and know they will
difference (p. 56). In this way, research conventions, such change with individuation and ontogenesis. Likewise, I
as methodology, materialize a particular repetition and dif- have to position the methodology and methods of data col-
ference that is responsive to the research project at hand. A lection as static entities. I have to anticipate all the data I
materialized research convention thus becomes a series of will collect and all the ethical issues that might arise during
questions. How does a research convention repeat and dif- the study. I have to anticipate how participants might
ferentiate in a study? How do research conventions move respond to interview questions and any possible discomfort
through movement again (Manning, 2012, p. 56)? What and gains from participating in the study. Simply put, I have
remains of a repeated change, the residue of repetition to both discursively and materially produce a study within
(Malabou, 2008, p. viii) in a study? How might these resi- positivism so that it will be sanctioned by those in power, in
dues create glimpses of research conventions that are in this instance the IRB.
fact constituted by a resource of possibilities (p. viii)? I call this work strategic enactments of royal science.
These questions gesture toward the tension-limit[s] These enactments help me navigate the politics of my
between the two kinds of science (Deleuze & Guattari, present-based practices of [my] everyday life (Lather,
1987, p. 364). Conventions of research hence became prac- 2015, p. 111). I cannot pretend the neoliberal academy that
tices of thinking with AND, instead of thinking IS, instead is grounded in royal scientific practices away. The forces of
of thinking for IS: empiricism has never had another secret. royal scientific conventions thereby reterritorialize much of
Try it, it is quite extraordinary thought, and yet it is life my work. As many qualitative researchers know, we still
(Deleuze & Parnet, 2002, p. 57, emphasis in original). This have to defend qualitative research to others. I have to use
8 Qualitative Inquiry 00(0)

words like data and methodology to situate my research species. The proper name fundamentally designates something
so that others can understand it. For example, I carefully that is of the order of the event, of becoming or of haecceity. (p.
write about my research in job applications, research award 264)
dossiers, yearly evaluations, and so on, so that it can be
sanctioned by those (e.g., department chairs and deans) in In other words, the proper name does not do the verb to
power. Moreover, I cannot pretend away the colonialist and research. Simply put, we have never done research. Rather,
imperialistic history of research (Tuhwai Smith, 2012), to research happens to us, moves through us, and marks us
especially given my positionality as a White researcher who with events and becomings. Researcher becomes charac-
is situated in the academy. As I strategically enact royal sci- terized by events and becomingsthe speeds that compose
ence, I must be careful and aware about how research con- them and the affects that fill them (p. 264). Researcher is
ventions materialize in a research study. How might research always already decentered in tenuous movement. She
conventions mobilize and materialize dangerous colonial becomes a shuttlecock in a game of badminton between
and imperialistic forces? How might other forces bring reterritorializing royal and deterritorializing nomadic forces.
about different iterations of research conventions that are In such a game, Subjectivity is rather a process ontology of
antioppositional? Strategic enactments of royal science help auto-poiesis or self-styling, which involves complex and
me to navigate not only my everyday politics but also the continuous negotiations with dominant norms and values
larger politics of research. and hence also multiple forms of accountability (Braidotti,
2012, p. 31). In this self-styling, there is no magic pill that
immunizes her from royal science. Nor is there a pill that
A + Researcher + To Research makes her purely nomadic. Perhaps the only magic pill she
I have titled this section, A Researcher to Research to ges- might want to take is that of the Deleuzoguattarian proper
ture toward a collective researcher subjectivity of traitor name Researcher, a pill to remind her that to research
prophets, insofar as they perform a treachery in relation to happens to her and will forever change her.
our more dominant affective/signifying regimes (OSullivan, The A in A researcher serves as an individuating
2009, p. 248). This collective subjectivity is in between the function within a collectivity (p. 264). The indeterminate
forces of nomadic and royal science and working on continu- article A contingently positions researcher within the
ous lines of variation. This collective is political, problem- researcher to research collectivity. The A becomes a
atic, pastpresentfuture, and undefinable. This collective, momentary recognition in the grammatical formation of the
then, does not offer a reassuring mirror reflection of a sub- subject, a marker of an event or a becoming. For example,
jectivity in place (p. 248). Instead, it diffracts, shakes up, not once have I felt like or known with certainty that I was
cracks, and fissures any sense of stability. To make this col- a researcher or that I was doing research. I have always felt
lective subjectivity, I draw from Deleuze and Guattaris like the research has carried me, taken me to places I could
(1987) becoming grammar of indefinite article + a proper not anticipate. I was never quite sure what or how I was
name + infinitive verb (p. 263). doing research. Research events passed through me,
Deleuze and Guattari (1987) began their discussion of the changed me, and became part of me. These moments . . .
above formula of becoming with the infinitive verb. To when the self is emptied out, dissolving into rawer and more
research situates the action of research in Aeon, the floating, elementary sensationsmark heightened levels of aware-
nonpulsed time (p. 263) rather than chronological time that is ness and receptivity (Braidotti, 2011, p. 234) and beg ques-
pulsed and linear. In Aeon, there is no singular past, present, tions. What particular iteration of habits and concepts
and future. Rather, all these times indeterminately coexist constituted a particular research convention in a particular
together. To research becomes indeterminate, a sum of all project? What was the work of those habits and concepts in
its past, present, and future iterations. To research, then, a research convention? As I began to think through these
enables us to get to work on lines of continuous variation. In questions, I was able to momentarily recognize myself
this way, to research and its constituent research conven- within the a researcher to research collectivity. Each
tions open to the virtual. To research becomes an event, event, becoming, became a constitutive component that
something that passes through us, something we must try and [had] to be affirmed as part of [my]self (Sellars, 2006, p.
figure out later, something that cannot be codified, because 161). Not once did I feel threatened by these events (Sellars,
another event is always possible and even the same event may 2006). Rather, these became affirmative moments of recog-
very well pass through us differently. nition within the statement A + Researcher + To research.
Deleuze and Guattari (1987) explained the proper name
as follows: Antimethodology
The proper name does not indicate a subject; nor does a noun Lather (2015) explained that postqualitative research is
take on the value of a proper name as a function of a form or a the passage of qualitative research beyond itself [as] it
Nordstrom 9

moves deeper into complication and accountability to Antimethodology treats the habits and concepts of quali-
complexity and the political value of not being so sure tative research as elastic ontological entities with capaci-
(p. 107). Each passage composes those interested in ties to change. The use of anti in antimethodology
postqualitative research differently and, consequently, the suggests the movement of methodology on that line of con-
practices they enact in their research. In this way, each tinuous variation as well as how methodology moves
passage is a doing, rather than entity. The passage, the between the complementary reterritorializing forces of
series of research events and the theorization of those royal science and deterritorializing forces of nomadic sci-
events, articulated throughout this article have created ence that render research conventions malleable. As they
a particular ecology of practices, antimethodology. move, research conventions must remain on the plane of
Antimethodology resists an approach ordered definition composition (Manning, 2012, p. 10). On the plane of com-
of reason and practices. Rather, it is a product of what position, a researcher can only think with AND (Deleuze
a study does. Antimethodology seeks to momentarily & Parnet, 2002, p. 57). The AND shifts questions. Rather
contain the anarchy (Manning, 2016, p. 36) of a studys than asking what or why questions that focus on thinking
doings. These doings, particularly in postqualitative with IS (p. 57), antimethodology asks questions about
research, are always in passage as Lather describes above. how to proceed (Foucault, 1983, p. xii) in the AND. How
Rather than define antimethodology as a set of repeatable does antimethodology move in between complementary
and linear instructions, in this section I offer a series of reterritorializing and deterritorializing forces? How does
procedures, a set of conditions toward repeatable differ- antimethodology proceed and move in a study? How do
ence (p. 89). The following procedures seek to set a politics, desire, and so on, proceed in antimethodology?
path into motion that asks to be returned to, toward differ- How do previous iterations of antimethodology move in a
ent results (p. 89). This path, however, may fail and it study? How might antimethodology contribute to coloniz-
may not work in every study (Manning, 2016). This path ing practices (Tuhwai Smith, 2012)? How do virtual poten-
is one of experimental possibilities. This path asks, What tials animate antimethodology differently? These questions
else can antimethodology do in the postqualitative? What place antimethodology and its resulting creative research
antimethodological experimentations might bring about conventions on a plane of composition so that they can
different ways of knowing and being? begin to express ones openness to the future, along with
Antimethodology is affirmative. Massumi (2002) wrote ones relation of connection to the past: [they] express the
the following about writing that I believe can be extended to continuity of ones attractions and desires, a cohesion that is
research. He wrote, If you know where you will end up endlessly open to modification (Grosz, 2013, p. 224).
when you begin, nothing has happened in the meantime. Antimethodology is strategic. Antimethodology provides
You have to be willing to surprise yourself writing things a way for researchers to occupy an academic schizo-society.
you didnt think you thought (p. 18). When antimethodol- Citing Buchanan, Kuntz (2015) wrote, we literally live
ogy happens to me, I have no idea what is happening or within a schizo-society . . . the incessant production of mul-
where a study is going. I have to trust in the surprises, the tiple and often contradictory truths that lead to our schizo-
research events, that radically alter how I do and think anti- phrenic state (p. 97). For those researchers doing
methodology. I have to trust in the assemblage that entan- postqualitative work, we sometimes have to position our
gles me. I have to resist that lure to think that I can somehow work through strategic enactments of royal science so that
step outside of the assemblage in wrestle it into categories. we get and retain jobs, for example. As such, multiple meth-
I have to trust that I will eventually catch up to the doings of odological truths occupy us and we them. The forces of
a study. This is affirmative work. It affirms wild experience these truths push and pull us, always positioning us in the
and the possibilities for thinking and doing research at the middle of them. The middle, however, is not a place of
limits of thought and practice. This is joyous creation. paralysis or docility (Kuntz, 2015). In the middle of forces,
Antimethodology is an ongoing practice. Anti- one can enact strategic enactments of royal science to
methodology is not a thing or an entity. As such, antimethod- describe their work that may very well subvert those very
ology is not a successor regime, something that can be easily same royal scientific practices.
replicated, or the answer to methodological questions in Antimethodology is a + researcher + to research. The
postqualitative inquiry. Readers cannot simply plug this researcher is not in advance of the research. Rather, anti-
methodology into a project. Each study will bring about methodology decenters the researcher such that she asks,
a new set of problems, which are, of course, linked to con- Was that me? (Manning, 2016, p. 37). Each study creates
cepts and habits that emerge from multiplicities. Because different generative research conventions that undoubtedly
each study is a unique and untimely conglomeration of position her differently and may very well render her imper-
problems, there is no way to systematize antimethodology ceptible to herself.
(St. Pierre, 2015). If anything, antimethodology is an open Antimethodology is a doing. Antimethodology con-
system that is available to constant modification. stantly makes, unmakes, and remakes itself as it travels
10 Qualitative Inquiry 00(0)

after individuation and ontogenesis, to see for yourself, go some [planes] [and] more active on others (Manning, 2012,
check something, some inexpressible feeling deriving from p. 11). For example, an ancestor is at once living, nonliving,
a dream or nightmare . . . to see if [something] really exists human, and nonhuman. An ancestors identity takes form
[and how] it exists somewhere, out there (Deleuze, 1995, (p. 10) through language, materials, culture, nature, and so
on; the ancestor contingently stabilizes on a plane. In this
p. 78). Antimethodology engages transduction as a way of
way, an ancestor might be more nonliving than living, more
seeing, seeing in the middle, and seeing how methodology
human than nonhuman. The term humans, nonhumans, liv-
materializes in space and time. Antimethodology invents ing, and nonliving gestures to this contingent identity forma-
and connects. Antimethodology affirms ontogeneisis, tion in a family history genealogy assemblage.
becoming, never-ending, ever-undulating potentiality and 2. Without a doubt, qualitative researchers are masterful inven-
possibility. Antimethodology moves between moments of tors. For some time, we have taken methodologies and meth-
stasis and residues of movement (Massumi, 2002). ods and shaped them to meet the needs of studies. However,
Antimethodology materializes from reterritorializing and most of these inventions repeat rather than repeat and differ-
deterritorializing forcesforces that crack and fissure the entiate. To do the work that this assemblage asked me to do, I
researcher. Antimethodology happened, happens, and con- had to both repeat and differentiate methodology and methods
tinues to happen. Antimethodology creates and cultivates to design a study that could get to work in the assemblage.
3. Deleuze and Guattari (1994) wrote that a concept consti-
rather than reproduces. Antimethodology is a creative con-
tutes a philosophical language within languagenot just a
tagion (p. 19).
vocabulary but a syntax that attains the sublime or a great
beauty (p. 8). Deleuzes (1990, 1993, 2006) fold, events,
Acknowledgments and a life constitute the ensemble of life. Participants in the
The author thanks the reviewers for their keen advice. She also study frequently referred to nonhuman objects (e.g., photo-
gives thanks to Dr. Jasmine Ulmer for her smart and supportive graphs, documents, and other artifacts) with proper names or
readings of the many drafts of this article. Last, she thanks Dr. personal pronouns. In this way, the nonhuman objects (e.g.,
Norman Denzin for his gracious support and advice during the photographs, documents, and other artifacts) that living
final revisions of this article. participants shared with me folded, unfolded, and refolded
with nonliving ancestors such that nonhumans and humans
Declaration of Conflicting Interests could not be thought apart. Halewood (2005) explained,
There is hence no distinction between the material and the
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with social, between subjects and objects; all existence is a com-
respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this plex combination of the two (p. 75). In addition, the fold-
article. ing humans and nonhumans also connected to larger social,
cultural, and historical milieus. Participants used the folding,
Funding unfolding, and refolding nonhumans and humans to intro-
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, duce verb-rich stories. These verbs express events. Deleuze
authorship, and/or publication of this article. (1990) wrote,

All objects = x [the virtual] are persons and are defined


Notes by predicates. But these predicates are no longer the ana-
1. Some readers might be confused by the term humans, nonhu- lytic predicates of individuals determined within a world
mans, living, and nonliving. The combination of these terms which carry out the description of these individuals. On
is taken from the following binaries: human/nonhuman and the contrary, they are predicates which define persons
living/nonliving. Deleuze and Guattari (1987) wrote, Arrive synthetically, and open different worlds and individuali-
at the magic formula we all seekpluralism = monismvia ties to hem as o many variables or possibilities. (p. 115)
all the dualisms that are the enemy, an entirely necessary As participants shared verb-rich stories with me, the event
enemy, the furniture we are forever rearranging (p. 20-21). (e.g., birth, marriage, purchase of a home, and death) actual-
In my study, the aforementioned binary relationships became ized again. When I study the transcripts full of nonhumans
my very necessary enemies. The work of antimethodology, and humans, the events actualize again. A persons life then,
then, became the constant arranging and rearranging of these is not singular and cannot be exhausted. Each time a persons
terms in family history genealogy. The process of arrang- life events are actualized, it conveys the possible. Something
ing, organizing, fitting together (Wise, 2005, p. 77) of these new and different is always possible. Deleuzes (1995) a life
terms is not static. Rather, the process is always moving and animates this possibility. A life should not be confused with
shifting. Simply put, binary terms are in constant movement an individuals life. Rather, a life is a resource or reserve
in an assemblage. The combination of humans, nonhumans, of other possibilities, our connections (Rajchman, 2000,
living, and nonliving suggests their movement, and, at times, p. 184). The productive force of a life animates the ensemble
undecidability, in the family history genealogy assemblage of life. The ensemble of life, then, is a loose grouping of non-
that has entangled me for so long. As these terms move and human objects that ceaselessly fold, unfold, and refold with
shift in an assemblage, they create a grammar of movement, nonliving humans. The event-filled ensemble of life is ani-
a metastable grammar in which the terms are more stable on mated by a lifes possibilities.
Nordstrom 11

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NY: Zone Books. Susan Naomi Nordstrom is an assistant professor of educational
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(G. Flanders, Trans.). Parrhesia, 7, 4-16. University of Memphis, Tennessee, the United States. Her research
Stengers, I. (2011). Cosmopolitics II (R. Bononno, Trans.). agenda includes poststructural and posthumanist theories about
Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. humannonhuman relations and qualitative research methodology.