It may seem incongruous to come across a ‘sole authored’ text amidst a journal special issue on collaborative writing. For my part the contradiction ‘plays’ eloquently with what it might mean to be/come a singular-yet-silted-up-accumulation of a human being. This paper represents not so much an assemblage (although that, too) as a collectively auto/biographical constellation, accumulation, and distillation of the traces that have remained lying around and about after many decades spent engaged with collective, collaborative and participatory writing.
By themselves these sediments and dregs do not amount to much and certainly do not fit together, but as they have accumulated over time they have come to represent something of a body of work. Hence, the conditions of possibility surface for me to give an account of the very particular kinds of ethical know-how that I have witnessed emerging from many groups of people writing together collaboratively within (and to some extent against) the Academy.
This paper draws on feminist sensibilities, narrative and poststructuralist ideas, therapeutic practices, Utopian methodologies and multiple writing accumulations over time to suggest that the continued and explicit practice of collaborative writing amongst social researchers alters the academic spaces they inhabit and the ethical know-how that they come by. In time the (albeit fragile) emergence of this different sense of scholarship and scholarly work and even, perhaps, of what it means to be a human being amidst human beings and other elements can begin to rework and expand the social imagination.
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