Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1e

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1e

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“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].

The self emerges as a focus of mine

For many decades I have asked questions of my self, though in isolation of my music-making practice. The earliest recollection of me considering my self commenced in my mid to late teens. Certain events occurred: first, the death of a close friend; followed a couple of years later with the passing of my adored grandfather. Spurred by a number of other circumstances, I made sudden and sweeping change to the trajectory my life was on. The change was mostly unconscious: impulsive would be an accurate description of my sudden change.
Studying business at higher education level
The following year I commenced University studies, being accepted into a business undergraduate course, with management and communication as my streams. Why a Business Degree[1]? Emotionally, it was as far removed from a trade and the people I had recent experience with, as I could go. Secondly, I looked to the business owners around where I was doing a trade, looked at the cars they were driving, the clothes they were wearing, and the houses they were living in. I compared the glimpse of their life, to mine. I wore trade clothes, crawled under grease and oil dripping cars all day, and then went home with grease and oil reminders in my hair, under my fingernails, and engrained in my skin. Often, I had the skin from my knuckles removed, and burns on my forearms from undoing rust frozen bolts around hot exhaust pipes. Thirdly, perhaps most significantly, I had received a lot of feedback that I had developed sense for certain aspects of business. I recall receiving regular feedback from peers and customers in my trade workplace regarding my skills in customer relations – reliable, trustworthy and competent. Additionally, I realised that I had an advanced sense for systems within engineering contexts, and the workplace[2]. Of course, in commencing a business degree I was also following the footsteps of my father who worked for a large US corporation at the time. My dad was a sales executive and our family entertained his peers regularly in our house in the evening, or on weekends. My dinner table and social conversation was discussing all aspects of business – macro and micro. 
Studying sociology
With central modules of sociology embedded into the curriculum every semester, I immersed myself in learning the “nature and development of society and human behaviour” (Hornby 2005, 1,453). Embracing the HE undergraduate experience, I sought answers to life. I recall taking full advantage of any research essay in exploring topics of my interest. These included what could be considered quite typical works within a Business undergraduate program such as that of Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor and William Ouchi (Robbins et al 2009, 51; Griffin 1996, 54); but also included the works of George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (Singer 2001), and popular cultural works such as that of Eric Fromm (1997), Colin Wilson (1980), John Lennon (Wenner et al 1971) and George Harrison (Harrison & Taylor 2017). I also took advantage of the opportunity to explore other cultural values and beliefs systems such as Indian and Japanese philosophical approaches. I recall I was enquiring as to how cultures around the globe approached structuring society, and how the values and beliefs of the people within those cultures enabled them to function within the society. The more I read, the more I considered my own situation:
  • who am I?, and
  • what do I value and believe?
Abraham Maslow
Particularly influential for me at this time was the work of Maslow. Maslow proposed that all humans work through in their life, a hierarchy of five (5) needs. These were:
“physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation. In terms of motivation, Maslow argued that each step of the hierarchy must be satisfied before the next can be activated, and that once a need was satisfied it no longer motivated behaviour. Moreover, Maslow believed that self –actualisation – that is, achieving one’s full potential – was the summit of human being’s existence” (Robbins et al 2009, 51).
At that time in my life, in need of something to anchor my self, I recall making a conscious decision that the pursuit of achieving one’s full potential, was a worthy life pursuit. The more I explored the idea of self-actualisation, the more I read and considered motives across cultures, fields and disciplines, the more the idea of achieving one’s full potential resonated with me[3].

Focus on the self gains momentum as a social phenomenon

As outlined in blogs Doctoral Research Study – Parts 2a through 2e (Page 2015a), along with the rapid and broad technological changes of the past four (4) – five (5) decades, society has also significantly changed. Mechanisms such as social structure used to inform people as to their identities – who they were, and how they should view their self. As social structures in certain societies have changed, the need has arisen for members to review who they are, how they see themselves, and what they want out of their life:
“The ethic is individual self-fulfilment and achievement is the most powerful current in modern society. The choosing, deciding shaping human being who aspires to be the author if his or her own life, the creator of individual identity, is the central character of our time” (Beck in Taylor and Littleton 2012, 31).
The pursuit of improving lifestyle and image are now a focus of the inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain:
“Each person is engaged in shaping ‘who I am’, including through the construction of life narrative and the conscious presentation and manipulation of the external self. The later is presented through behaviours, bodily appearance and the many aspects of contemporary life which constitutes ‘lifestyle’ ” (Taylor and Littleton 2012, 31).

onion-layers

Footnotes
[1] A business base has provided me a very good base in understanding the business machinations of society. I have been involved in several businesses and organisational roles where my business qualification has greatly assisted my roles. In saying that, there were no Creative Media tertiary courses at the time. The closest type course was a Bachelor of Arts, or creative media-based trade courses. There were of course music programs, but they required entrance examinations along the lines of the formal AMEB music examination, of which I hadn’t ever studied/been trained in. The tertiary institution I attended was breaking new ground for tertiary institutions in Australia: one of the 1st examples of problem-based learning in Australia, with sociology and communication integrated within the curriculum. Understanding both sociology and communications has assisted me in just about every aspect of my life and practice since that time. Practice in the tertiary course’s group work allowed me to develop my soft skills, which has supported my growth and development in all aspects of practice.
[2]I had just spent four (4) years in an engineering trade, serving an apprenticeship. My experience was unusual, as I spent a considerable time running the service centre. This opportunity arose due to the high staff turnover within that organisation. As I was indentured for four (4) years, I could not leave without jeopardising my trade qualification. Additionally, as a motorcycle club member with the organisation that ran the Castrol 6 Hour Motorcycle Production race in Sydney, I was involved in developing systems for the scrutineering of the motorcycles to ensure compliance with the entry rules and regulatory requirements of that race.
[3]Self-actualisation is perhaps one of the few ideas that has remained with me over the past three (3) decades, irrespective of my location or practice.

onion-layers

This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f (Page 2016c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.

 

References
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Fromm, Erich. 1997. To have or to be? New York: Continuum.
Griffin, RW. 1996. Management. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Harrison, George and Derek Taylor. 2017. I Me Mine: The Extended Edition. 2nd ed. Guildford: Genesis Publications.
Hornby, Albert Sydney. 2005. Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. 7 ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f Accessed 31st January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure II – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1d Accessed 25th January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015b. Figure I – Praxis 4 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 1st December, 2015
Page, David L. 2015a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 2a Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Robbins, Stephen, Rolf Bergman, ID Stagg and Mary Coulter. 2009. Management 5. Sydney: Pearson Education Australia.
Singer, Peter. 2001. Hegel: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Taylor, Stephanie and Karen Littleton. 2012. Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Wenner, J, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. 1971. Lennon remembers: the Rolling Stone’ interviews [with John Lennon and Yoko Ono]. New York: Penguin.
Wilson, Colin. 1980. The new existentialism. Middlesex: Wildwood House.
– ©David L Page 28/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 31/02/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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