Surfacing assumptions via ‘metaxic’ method: An arts-based method for team fieldwork

Michelle Evans, Kate Smith

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The purpose of this article is to present an arts-based method for collaborative research underpinned by the performative turn in ethnography (Denzin, 2003). The article presents the ‘metaxic method’, building on the term metaxis invented by Boal (1995) whereby individuals feel ‘belonging completely and simultaneously to two different, autonomous worlds’ (1995: 43). Before bringing participants into a research engagement using the metaxic method there is preparation work for the research team to do. We present a process derived from Augusto Boal’s ‘Cop in the Head’ theatre game where the ‘play’ is periodically interrupted to seek insight and critical reflection. This research team preparation process is performative and playful, using role to bring alive the frame of performative research in pursuit of surfacing epistemological assumptions. In doing so, researchers have had a prequalitative fieldwork opportunity to experience difference together. It is at this point that the metaxic method can be introduced. This experience is a critical mirroring of theoretical/political commitments and an opportunity, through having a partial experience of ‘other’ to consider the potential collective and community dimensions possible through research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-339
Number of pages16
JournalQualitative Research
Issue number3
Early online date19 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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