Investigation and Analysis                                           Qualitative Methods
Family Background and            ...
Investigation and Analysis                                           Qualitative Methods
Family Background and            ...
Investigation and Analysis                                             Qualitative Methods
Family Background and          ...
Investigation and Analysis                                    Qualitative Methods
Family Background and                   ...
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Depth Interview Essay

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Master\'s Degree in Media & Cultural Analysis

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Depth Interview Essay

  1. 1. Investigation and Analysis Qualitative Methods Family Background and Depth Interview Educational Experiences 1. Analysis For the depth interview I invited and interviewed a friend of mine who lives in David Collett Hall, in the University Campus. Her name is Lucia Cordeiro, she’s Brazilian, her age is 22 and she studies Physical Education and Sports Science. The first clear observation that has to be highlighted from the interview is that family background, cultural life within the family and cultural education at school may, indeed, play a crucial role in stimulating and shaping our cultural choices and tastes. When asked about her current music tastes, Lucia answered that she could listen to any kind of music, excluding “metal music”, depending on her mood and spirit. In her words, then: “ Nowadays, I think I like a variety of things, different things… Previously, I went to phases that I liked certain kinds of music, but, now, I enjoy everything and it really depends on my mood and what I am doing.” In order to know if her current musical tastes were by any means shaped and determined by her family influence, I asked her if she was encouraged and stimulated to listen to any type of music and sounds at home. Her answer proves that family environment and cultural life within the family may, in fact, influence and even determine our tastes. Quoting her words: “My parents didn’t use to listen to much music, but because I have older brothers and sisters, I always listen to their music… and so… yes! I think they have helped to shape my musical tastes”. When asked about whether she had had music lessons, either in school or outside school, she said: “Actually, I had music lessons at school, but I didn’t give it much importance. It was just another subject that I had to pass… Also my school didn’t motivate us into music”. So, in Lucia’s case, music education at school did not have any role whatsoever in shaping her musical tastes. Student – João Cotrim 1
  2. 2. Investigation and Analysis Qualitative Methods Family Background and Depth Interview Educational Experiences Regarding Lucia’s reading choices, she only finds pleasure most recently in her life. Her background wasn’t very much into reading. She argued that, although she was sporadically motivated to read, she felt as she hadn’t been so much stimulated to read by her parents. From time to time, her parents would introduce and offer specific books, but rarely! Also, at school, she didn’t find much pleasure and interest in reading. She viewed it just like an obligation . In her words, then: “Now I love reading!… I discovered things that interest me, so I go and look for books and for things that I like, as when I was in school, everything was an obligation… we had to read! I never read a lot and I never had pleasure. My parents motivated me, actually, because they use to travel a lot to the U.S. and so they would bring back books for us. I think I read for a bit, because they gave me books and stimulated me to read, but not very much! Nowadays, because I know what I love, I like reading about autobiography. I found out that the last three, four books that I read were autobiographies by women who went after what they dreamt, as if they had this big dream of doing something and they went after it and, even though there were lots of obstacles, they just fought for what they believed”. At this point, in order to clarify why she had such special interest in reading autobiographies, I asked her whether she saw her self in such stories, and her answer was as follows: “umm… Yeah! I think what is happening to me is that I’m questioning myself about lots of things and I really want to do what I love! “. Further on, she said: “Today, I read for the purpose of self-knowledge and, actually, today I need a book by my bed side, because every night I like reading to go to bed. I think I am going through a phase that I want to know myself and that’s really helping me”. Student – João Cotrim 2
  3. 3. Investigation and Analysis Qualitative Methods Family Background and Depth Interview Educational Experiences This enquiry on Lucia’s reading taste shows that there might be a connection between our current tastes and our family background, most specifically, our parents’. In other words, in Lucia’s particular case, she didn’t use to have pleasure for reading, probably, because, back home, she didn’t have the proper environment for it and her parents didn’t use to read that much either. Also, educational experiences, and most particularly, school education may, indeed, influence and determine our taste for reading. In Lucia’s case, she didn’t feel stimulated by school to read. On the contrary, school made her find reading boring and as an obligation, rather than a pleasure activity. Regarding Lucia’s current art tastes, she revealed that she didn’t have any particular taste for any specific art for, although she felt she was a very creative person and that she needed to express her creativity in some way. She also said that she wished her parents as well as her school had had stimulated her more. In other words, Lucia felt that she had a great potential in the art’s field, but, unfortunately, it hadn’t been stimulated and developed enough. Quoting her words: “Yeah! I do! I think that in a way I’m a creative person and I need to express my creativity in some way… but, sometimes, I feel that the school didn’t give me the proper stimulus that I needed… I wish my parents would had stimulated me more… My parents use to have paintings hanged on the walls, but the kind of taste wasn’t particularly what I liked. It was more like the traditional stile… I like more modern things”. Once again, then, the enquiry on Lucia’s art tastes proved that family background, culture life within the family as well as cultural education at school do, in fact, influence and shape our cultural tastes. In Lucia’s case, although she had a great potential and aptitude for art, the lack of art education and stimulus both within her Student – João Cotrim 3
  4. 4. Investigation and Analysis Qualitative Methods Family Background and Depth Interview Educational Experiences family and in school, determined that, today, she doesn’t have a well shaped and sparkling art taste. Finally, when asked about her current TV tastes, Lucia answered that she didn’t use to see much TV. Only some travel and documentary programmes. Quite surprised by such answer, ask her whether, back home, she used to watch TV with her parents. She answered: “My parents use to see and, indeed, encourage me, my brothers and sisters to see programmes and films which had some kind of message.” This last enquiry on Lucia’s current TV tastes has confirmed the rule. Just like Lucia’s current music, books and art tastes, also her current TV choices may have been influenced, shaped and determined by the environment where she grew up and the cultural life within the family. 2. Conclusion Thus, the conclusion I can draw out of this investigation and research is that, just like the empirical research of Pierre Bourdieu shows, family background, the environment and cultural life within the family may, in fact, determine our tastes. But, despite the clear result of this research interview, there are some problems with its viability, as it only represents a single isolated case. The method of the depth interview helps us to know and understand in much profound way the exact causes and events that might have provoked a particular situation and conjuncture, and, thus, it also helps us to put in test a specific theory, but its “Achilles heel” is the fact that it represents an extremely narrow universe of evidence. One case doesn’t confirm the rule. In other words, the result of this specific research doesn’t allow us to generalise! Student – João Cotrim 4

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