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    Dancing on the Threshold of Time: An Orphic Journey into the Second Half of Life.

    Morris, Eileen (2021) Dancing on the Threshold of Time: An Orphic Journey into the Second Half of Life. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    My thesis is concerned with storying the lived experience of being on the threshold between the first and the second half of life, using the archetypal mythical framework of Orpheus and Eurydice, a story of love, loss and transformation. This work produces an alternative knowledge about this stage of adult development, in attending to the process of loss, mourning and letting go. Drawing on the conceptual framework of poststructuralism and social constructionism, the thesis is developed by troubling the legitimacy of our social and cultural constructions, disrupting their power through our storytelling, making visible how we make meaning and create knowledge. It offers an alternative viewpoint to the predominant psychological narrative of “the first person perspective” (Zahavi, 2008:107), to being storied and understood in our social and cultural contexts, “as a product of narratively structured life” (Zahavi, 2008:107), “rather than separated pieces related only to [our] personal psychology” (Etherington, 2009: 228).The autoethnographic expression of this stage of adult development is re-imagined in this thesis, in being situated in the betwixt and between reveried space of the upper and the lower worlds, the living and the dead, the conscious and the unconscious. It is here, in this narrative space, we bear witness to, and avow each other’s unfinished stories of love and loss, opening up a “narrative of reconciliation” (Ahmed, 2014: 35), freeing us like Orpheus and Eurydice, into our own destinies. In the movement of these six Orphic Moments, there is a rhythm often visible and invisible that traces the bitter-sweetness of being on the threshold of time, between the first and the second half of life. Each Moment signifies an invitation to accept the Orphic/Eurydician call to “stand in the heat of this transformation fire” (Hollis, 2006, 31), and become deeply immersed in mourning to that place of transformation, with the living and the dead. This study produces a new methodological knowledge of this phase of adult development, through a process of engaging relationally and reciprocally with each other, in becoming witnesses to each other’s stories, enabling “a transformation of the self, from which there is no return” (Butler, 2005: 28). This thesis gestures to an alternative view on how we can re-imagine more expansive ways of living for the second half of life, where “voice is always provisional and contingent, always becoming” (Grant, 2013: 8), where we can “produce a different knowledge and produce knowledge differently” (St. Pierre, 1997: 613).

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Dancing; Threshold; Time; Orphic Journey; Second Half; Life;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 14933
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 11:09
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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