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APLNG Roundtable. Analyzing Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge Esther Prins Adult Education Program. Deciding what and how to analyze. Watched and listened to video Read transcript Struck by narrator’s description of mother’s actions

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APLNG Roundtable

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APLNG Roundtable

Analyzing Sophal Ear: Escaping the Khmer Rouge

Esther Prins

Adult Education Program


Deciding what and how to analyze

  • Watched and listened to video

  • Read transcript

  • Struck by narrator’s description of mother’s actions

  • Decided to use Ahearn’s (2001) definition of agency

    • “Culturally constrained capacity to act”

    • Reviewed Ahearn’s analysis of letter

    • Use of “sensitizing concepts” (Blumer, 1969)


Analytical Procedures

  • Highlighted instances of:

    • External forces acting upon narrator, family (subject, verb)

    • Actions taken by narrator, family (subject, verb)

    • Resources for agency: who or what created opportunity to act or enhanced ability to act

  • Operationalized codes (iterative)

  • Added 4th code: obstacles to achieving desired result


Analytical Procedures

  • Added 5th code to reflect outcomes of actions

    • Mother’s actions 

      • She passed test

      • Family moved to Vietnam

      • Speaker is “here today” (and narrative therefore exists)

      • Mother is present at TED talk

    • Speaker’s actions 

      • Tribunal accepted complaint registering father’s death

    • Theoretical significance: Agentic acts don’t necessarily achieve desired result (Ahearn, Lareau)


  • What was done to narrator, parents, family by others

  • Agency: narrator, parents, family take action

  • Resources for agency (what created opportunity or enhanced ability to act)

  • Constraints & obstacles (factors that undermined likelihood of achieving desired result)

  • Outcome of agency


Analytical Procedures

  • Transferred text and analysis to NVivo

  • The paths not taken

    • Characterization of the Khmer Rouge

    • Description of place (Cambodia and Vietnam): pretty, idyllic, fear, freedom, lawless


References

  • Ahearn, L. (2001). Invitations to love: Literacy, love letters, and social change in Nepal. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  • Ahearn, L. (2001). Language and agency. Annual Review of Anthropology, 30, 109–37.

  • Blumer, H. (1969) Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

  • Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race, and family life. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

  • Lareau, A., & Horvat, E. M. (1999). Moments of social inclusion and exclusion: Race, class, and cultural capital in family-school relationships. Sociology of Education, 72(1), 37-53.


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