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Educação em Revista

versão impressa ISSN 0102-4698versão On-line ISSN 1982-6621

Educ. rev. vol.33  Belo Horizonte  2017  Epub 13-Jul-2017 



Liana Arrais Serodio2  *

Guilherme do Val Toledo Prado2  **

2University of Campinas (Unicamp), Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil


This paper aims to present the emergence of the concept of “writing-event” in the methodological context, in which the narrative practice throughout the scope of research sustains all knowledge relating to Education. This is the result of a non-neutral and non-indifferent status taken by the researchers with respect to their research objects, and it is also connected to the understanding of the importance of the social context and to the valorization of the experienced event, which is always formative for all involved in the research. Human relations create a horizon of possibilities for the writing-event emergence in the materialization of language, described as the human-specific primary modeling device and encompassing any predetermined theory and/or methodology. By analyzing some of our studies, in particular the one in which the concept of writing-event emerged, we conclude that narrative inquiry’s radicality promotes knowledge creation in the field of Education.

Keywords: Narrative inquiry; Writing-event; Bakhtinian studies; Teachers’ training.


Life can be consciously comprehended only as an ongoing event, and not as Being qua a given. A life that has fallen away from answerability cannot have a philosophy: it is, in its very principle, fortuitous and incapable of being rooted. (BAKHTIN, 1993, p. 56)

Understanding life as an event, rather than as a given person, leads to the understanding of the writing-event as a responsible act. This conclusion was reached during research on the radicality of the methodology of narrative inquiry1. We were compelled to present this study due to the realization that narrative inquiry is a promoter of the knowing-event itself. Through understanding life as an event, and not as “Being qua a given”2, narrative inquiry becomes an instrument of understanding that materializes as an event, known as the writing-event.

“Understanding as a view of meaning, not as a phenomenal view, but a view of the living sense in the expression, a vision of the phenomenon as being internally understood, so to speak, self-understood” (BAKHTIN, 2003, p. 396), as something that makes sense, that “answers certain questions” (BAKHTIN, 2003, p. 381) enabled by the narrative practice of the research methodology, by an individual that knows himself and the other in a context/situation in which he recognizes himself in this relationship.

The present work presents the idea/concept of the writing-event revealed in dialogue with other studies carried out that use the same methodology of narrative inquiry and that share a historical-cultural vision of the world based on the works of Mikhail Bakhtin.

Dialogue is a Bakhtinian concept that is not restricted to linguistics and verbal language. When we refer to Bakhtin (2013, p. 209), we mention “dialogic relations.” We can say that this concept has a linguistic basis, while also extending into other fields as well. Of course, in order to be available for analysis in other fields, the objects must “embody themselves in language, become utterances, convert into the positions of different individuals expressed in language so that dialogic relations may arise from them.”

In considering the methodology of narrative inquiry taking Bakhtin (2010) as a basis, the responsibility/responsiveness of the act manifests itself in the fact that the researchers stop prioritizing the so-called objective interpretation of data and, instead, interpret it subjectively according to the singular nature of the dialogic relations with research subjects and their responses. In this context, the generated knowledge is an unexpected, collateral (though intended) result of the original research questions.

The position change from object to subject is possible for those who assume a relational “I-other” position in its essentially loving radicality, essentially human:

Lovelessness, indifference, will never be able to generate sufficient power to slow down and linger intently over an object, to hold and sculpt every detail and particular in it, however minute. Only love is capable of being aesthetically productive; only in correlation with the loved is fullness of the manifold possible. (BAKHTIN, 1993, p. 67).

That unexpected, “new” knowledge is the result of a search implicated in the relation and instrumentalized by narrative methodology. In the context of Bakhtinian ontology, it is enabled by the responsible/responsive act of the individual, who constitutes and is constituted by the other to whom we are not indifferent. As such, this knowledge is materialized as a writing-event. Stated differently, and with the help of a semiotic reference who came after Bakhtin, the writing-event is the materialization of the human capacity for primary modeling, also known as the capacity for language (SEBEOK, 1981; PONZIO, 2007; PONZIO; CALEFATO; PETRILLI, 2007).

We present several research projects from our group as empirical examples. They all have in common the fact that the researcher, as a teacher in some capacity, is part of the world of data production, a common methodology in our research group. A privileged collective reading inherent in these ongoing studies allows Serodio (2014) to understand that narrative as research methodology promotes “writing before the letters” (FERREIRA, 2013; PROENÇA, 2014; LEARDINE, 2014).

It is not our intention to deal with similarities or differences between the studies, but to demonstrate, in a timely manner, the occurrence of the writing-event itself, or else the proper context for its emergence. It is worthwhile to mention that these works base their data analyses on the evidential paradigm of Carlo Ginzburg (1989, p. 177), for whom “the main idea contained in this methodological proposition is that, if reality is opaque, there are privileged zones - signs, traces - that enable us to decipher it.”

After analyzing data related to musical language, Serodio (2014) chose to focus her studies on signs, to follow an “interpretive path” (PONZIO, 2007, p. 91):

A sign has not its meaning in itself, but in another sign which responds to it and which in turn is a sign if there is another sign to respond to it and interpret it, and so forth ad infinitum. Meaning is therefore not separable from the path and the direction of the path. How an interpreter relates itself, which relations he has: meaning is nothing more than that. (PONZIO; LOMUTO, 1997, p. 20)3

Serodio (2014) set out to determine what children and adolescents could describe about the activity of musical composition and what they perceive as the result, in the sense of what the compositions directly tell them. In order to do so, she proceeded with a “semioethic” interpretation (PONZIO; PETRILLI, 2003) of the signs relative to the didactic path and the meaning of the path to the students and the teacher/researcher. She chose to answer the research question through semiotics, an important field for Bakhtin, specifically by looking for its points of contact with modeling theory and semioethics:

The reality of ideological phenomena is the objective reality of social signs. The laws of this reality are the laws of semiotic communication and are directly determined by the total aggregate of social and economic laws. Ideological reality is the immediate superstructure above the economic basis. Individual consciousness is not the architect of this ideological superstructure, but only a tenant lodging in the social edifice of ideological signs. (BAKHTIN; VOLOCHÍNOV, 2006, p. 34)

We live an ideological crisis: “the contemporary crisis is, fundamentally, a crisis of the contemporary act. An abyss has formed between the motive of the actually performed act or deed and its product” (BAKHTIN, 2010, p. 115). Crisis and conflict constitute an initial disorientation, though they also serve as a compass to help us understand writing as an event. “Individual consciousness is a mere tenant lodging in the social edifice of ideological signs” (BAKHTIN; VOLOCHÍNOV, 2006, p. 34).

Based on the semiotic/anthropological theory of “language ability, that is, the possibility of an infinitum game of construction - and deconstruction - of new possible worlds” (PONZIO, 2006, p. 167), Serodio (2014) realized that the verbal narrative and the musical composition of the students leave a “written” legacy and generate knowledge. The production of musical expression becomes a powerful exercise in “writing before the letters” (PONZIO, 2006, p. 150) for musical training. Similarly, the production of a verbal narrative is a powerful research tool in education.

While not questioning narrative inquiry, Ponzio (2006; 2010) proposed writing as an action that, through the capacity for language, materializes, realizes, and makes itself concrete in an exterior form. The writing-event comprises and sustains the investigative narrative as presented by Connelly and Clandinin (1995), Josso (2006), Rego (2003), Passegi and Barbosa (2008), and Larrosa et al. (1995), and presents itself as a consequence of the studies detailed here in the form of a dialogic confrontation, as already observed in the present research group.4

Some of the roles of narrative inquiry in our research group

Narrative takes on many more roles than those that have been attributed to it; these include register, memory, historical reconstruction, job documentation, event exposure, and reflection, and can serve for the “characterization of phenomena related to human nature, as studied in the social sciences, literary theory, history, anthropology, art, cinema, education, and even certain aspects of evolutionary biology” (CONNELLY; CLANDININ, 1995, p. 12-13). These studies use different terminology depending on the different roles they play in the research methodology:

It is equally correct to say ‘inquiry into narrative’ as it is ‘narrative inquiry’. By this we mean that narrative is both phenomenon and method. Narrative names the structured quality of experience to be studied, and it names the pattern of inquiry for its study. (CONNELLY; CLANDININ, 1995, p. 12)

Aware of the diversity of the narrative role, the authors introduce distinctions, concentrating on (auto)biographies5, narratives of experience, and discourse analyses of said texts. According to the authors, narrative inquiry serves as a highly elucidative methodological approach which is also valid in non-verbal fields:

To preserve this distinction we use the reasonably well-established device of calling the phenomenon ‘story’ and the inquiry ‘narrative’. Thus, we say that people by nature live storied lives and live stories and tell stories of those lives, whereas narrative researchers describe such lives, collect and tell stories of them, and write narratives of experience (CONNELLY; CLANDININ, 1995, p. 12).

To add to this, we refer to the MSc dissertation of Serodio (2008),6 which used the narrative well beyond its role as a research tool as stated by Connelly and Clandinin (1995)7. She claimed that, at that moment, it was the only thinking strategy suitable to perform her research.

Since 2001, Serodio has been a member of this research group, which uses the researcher-teacher approach (Freire, 1996) that was more thoroughly developed by Geraldi, Pereira, and Fiorentini (1998). The theory dictates that teachers are the legitimate education researchers in schools, not only with regard to their own disciplines, but also with regard to the knowledge that they, their students, and other education professionals produce. Studies on authorship were subsequently carried out, working especially with Foucault and Bakhtin; this work (PRADO, 1992; GERALDI, 1993) resulted in Bakhtin becoming an integral part of the theoretical foundation of our group.

With regard to methodology, narrative inquiry is classified as qualitative research and is most closely associated with sociological and biographical as well as autobiographical work. It can also be associated with action research and case studies (PRADO; CUNHA, 2007), but nevertheless exhibits a fundamental difference, insomuch that it emerges during research, while the object of study/research is being narrated.

When used in teaching, narrative inquiry presents peculiarities, such as the research memory (PRADO; FERREIRA; FERNANDES, 2011), which is the registry of the researcher’s training at the same time correlated with the research activities and the data inventory (PRADO; MORAIS, 2011). This is an essential step, given that research documentation is extremely broad and that it requires organization and some classification criteria. Through this process, the research objects emerge contextualized to the subjects that produced them. Besides, and perhaps even more importantly, the narrative production of perceptions that took place throughout the process extends to the so-called analytical part of the research objects, which is not always presented as a separated chapter (something common in academic texts).

In an effort to explain one of the ways that narrative inquiry has continued to develop in our group, Soligo and Simas (2014, p. 413-425) “qualify” it as “narrative inquiry in three dimensions” - in particular, the “source of information, registration of research direction, and a way for w generating knowledge” (p. 413). This is an important contribution to the methodological description of research, considering that they deal with a diversity of theorists working on narrative studies.

Each real significant event in the context of research becomes a real narrative event, which is taken up in the reading and in the dialogue with the interlocutors. This process generates other narratives until, during the process, the researchers start to understand other questions embedded in the original question that were previously unavailable.

If regarded solely as a technical tool, narrative could turn into a mere transcription, something mnemotechnical (YATES, 2007), according to Milton José de Almeida8.

Writing narratives with a training aim has been a research methodology favored by Serodio since 2008, a part of the necessary but not always harmonious dialogue, as taught by Bakhtin (2003), of teaching experiences that take place and the search for words that transform the research, within the research, into other inquires within itself:

Narrative research, being at the same time technical and methodological, sustains a continuous dialogue among practice, experience, and the activity of seeking words for better narrating events perhaps becoming a research within the research. And it questions the adequate, the correct, and the real, by narrating. {...} Narrative dissemination in the centers of initial or continuous education is a valid choice, which can result in experiences in the recognition of the self and its relations with school, peers, students and with the place where one lives (SERODIO, 2008, p. 69, p. 71-72).

According to our first studies on narrative inquiry, “on intuitive bases,” as well explained by Pierini (2014) when referring to her MSc dissertation, to narrate constitutes a “comfortable way of explaining” what is told by the subjects, which produce the research objects:

My choice for a narrative language, which at the time of writing my MSc dissertation comfortably rested on intuitive bases, was reassured, however, in a manner theoretically endorsed by the explanation and the establishment of what the subjects think and by the production, from a past event, of a present, living event, by the promotion of resurgence of the subjective features, as well as their relations with the applied concepts; relations absolutely full of possibilities for subject revelation, so that, when speaking about themselves, these subjects would also speak about many others, about many other possibilities of being. (PIERINI, 2014, p. 77).

Ferreira (2013) emphasizes the importance of the narrative process in teachers’ training; furthermore, those individuals who provide teachers’ training also require a narrative-reflective process in their own training:

To perform an investigation in the context of a PhD program is, in a certain way and at a certain time, to create a path for oneself (JOSSO, 2004) and towards the other, recognizing in one’s own life story the training path, which reveals traces and signs of the correlations with the theme one intends to research. This is a path to be followed, fundamentally, through narrative writing and reflective thinking, exercising an introspective and prospective view towards the recalled experiences. (FERREIRA, 2013, p. 45).

Another point to consider regarding narrative as a research methodology in our group is that our research object is almost always the research practice itself or some of its characteristics, a fact that, concerning education research, legitimates research on teachers’ training.

At that time I did not think it was possible to investigate the research practice itself. Today I find in the methodology of autobiographic narrative research a path that is pleasant to follow. To narrate my experiences helps me better understand the events that I lived and that made the professional I currently am. (PROENÇA, 2014, p. 38)

As we can see, Proença (2014) also experienced the emergence of an understanding during the narrative act itself.

We think it important to point out that, considering cultural aspects, Serodio (2014) does not mention speech genres when discussing the narrative or the writing-event. We know, of course, that it is a genre that allows the use of narrative and presents rules that have been historically and culturally established. As a matter of fact, “we cannot be outside genre: however concrete he may be, the speaking individual belongs, as it is, to the genre that identifies him, and that enables his individual characterization” (PONZIO, 2010, p. 48).

However, genre imposition should not be an alibi for narrative to be used as a “technical action” (BAKHTIN, 2010, p. 117). Since “technical action” may represent a neutral, ideal, abstract genre that serves the most diverse interests, we propose the opposite: the no alibi imposes a genre - perhaps even an alteration in a genre. For the world of life and the world of culture to assume their dual responsibility, “an act should not contradict theory and thought, but include them in itself as necessary, entirely responsible moments” (BAKHTIN, 2010, p. 117), situated and contextualized in the life actually experienced by the researcher, a life that “can be understood by consciousness only in concrete responsibility” (BAKHTIN, 2010, p. 117).

As Ponzio wrote (2010, p. 49):

In the works of Bakhtin (2003, p. 261-307, p. 264), we can distinguish, in speech genres, the primary or simple genres, that is, genres used in the routine dialogue, and the secondary or complex genres, such as romance, theatrical genres, among others. Therefore, all genres materialize quotidian, common, concrete exchanges. Words from the primary genres becomes, in the secondary genres, more organized speech and loses its direct connection with the real context and with the purposes of the quotidian life, and, consequently, its instrumental, functional character. The speech frees itself from places in the discourse that make it monological, however dialogical it may be, where it is only taken into account in association with its ability to report to the object and its usefulness regarding the communication purposes of the subject. Speech becomes instead part of the context that establishes it, and with which it forms a relation that does not comply with any purpose anymore, and is not based on what it says, but on how it says. What matters is saying and not what is said, not the significant but the signified, which becomes itself the significant, assuming a sense/significance, a value (PONZIO, 2010, p. 49).

The oral narrative in a classroom, often used to share with the students a striking event, if told in a teacher’s room, is characterized as a primary genre (BAKHTIN, 2003) in its objective function of enabling “common, concrete” exchanges. When classified as a production belonging to a secondary genre (scientific, philosophical, and artistic genres), the context modifies the ways speech is valued. The way information is given becomes more important than information itself. Such process enables the discovery of intuitions, impressions hidden in the soul.

That is, without a doubt, a potential of the written narrative which imposes itself on the researcher within a discourse genre established in academia: to be valued based on the significant that becomes significative, with a value of its own, a value as an event. Teachers’ narrative and narrative inquiry conducted in our research group suggest another type of genre among the didact division of Bakhtin’s relatively stable speech genres (2003). Or they indicate, at least, the existence of intersections among genres. With our present proposition, we hope to broaden the dialogue.

Global semiotics, semioethics, responsible interpretation

Based on principles of semioethics, Serodio (2014) realized that to proceed narrative-methodologically and methodologic-narratively is to deal in a single act with the signs of life as well as with the life of signs. Similarly, dealing with the writing portion of research, in the sense that “writing is part of language ‘before the stilet or quill imprints it as letters on tablets, parchment or paper’” (LÉVINAS, 19829apudPONZIO; CALEFATO; PETRILLI, 2007, p. 121), is to deal with researching the writing, in that same sense of narrative interpretation as event, as life, as thinking, as an act that emerges in response to the other.

Sebeok (199010apudPONZIO; PETRILLI, 2001, p.7-8) affirms that semiosis and life converge, and so, full of signs, research and life converge, as well as writing and research.

This is a way of seeing the path of the narrative inquiry that emerged from the narrative inquiry of a didactic activity during music classes, at school, bringing young composers and their musical compositions to life in Serodio’s PhD thesis (2014).

We now present responsibility/responsiveness of the writing-event under the perspective of the global semiotics of T. A. Sebeok (1981). According to him, all living beings use signs because they cannot avoid doing it. However, the way they use them determines which sign and which writing they refer to:

There is a restricted view on writing, which has been associated with the transcription of the verbal language, and therefore reduced to a mere registry or a type of external cover, and consequently subaltern and subservient to speech itself. From this point of view writing would be nothing but mneumotechnical. (...) Writing subordinated to phonation, as a secondary encasement to secure vocalization, is at the service of memory, of the narrative description and of the subject prefixed to it, written within it and described by it.11 (PONZIO, 2006, p. 150).

The writing we regard as writing-event does not just play an orthographic role: it is a act conditioning - even preceding - the graphic transcription of thoughts into verbal signs (PONZIO, 2006, p. 150), since it enables the materialization of an ability specific to the human species, which consists in dealing with signs and using them to carry out acts that have significance.12

In this sense, we deal with signs necessarily using the human ability of primary modeling, one of the main foundations of semioethics, materializing them into a concrete act, also known as writing. Another foundation consists in the ethical act, the core of semioethics. Writing is therefore based on the intention of bringing into life that thing that, with context, most moves us in the non-indifferent relation with the other, with whom and for whom we produce.

With writing, we encompass spelling and the emotive-volitional intellectual production, significantly recreating a context that impelled us to create something that would have been impossible otherwise.

We also get closer to artistic symbolism13, by creating ways of expression that, directed to the other, create depth and a feeling of perspective:

{…} Bakhtin would refer to the symbol by citing an encyclopedic entry of SS Averincev, who collaborated with him and edited his writings. Using Averincev’s conception of “artistic symbol,” Bakhtin turns to the connection of the image with the symbol, which “confers depth and perspective.” The symbol implies a “dialectical correlation between identity and non-identity.” In the symbol, Bakhtin adds, quoting Averincev, “there is ‘the heat of the mystery that unites’, the juxtaposition of the self to the other, the warmth of love and the coldness of estrangement. Juxtaposition and confrontation.” Bakhtin insists that the meaning of symbol-image requires a relation to another meaning and interpretation, not on the basis of its closest context, but rather, in a remote, distant context, which opens identity to otherness. It is clear that such considerations are closely connected with those made by Bakhtin in Toward a Philosophy of the Act. (PONZIO, 2008, p. 11-12)

The artistic symbolism we perceive in teachers narratives and in more or less frequent passages of narrative inquiry is only possible with the other, who, because he listens to us, composes us, and for whom we compose a song or a thesis or for whom we tell our own life in a narrative speech. It is possible to see this characteristic in many of the theses and dissertations produced in our research group, due to its connection with art, either as materiality or allegory (Dance, Music, Photography, Literature).

Even though all this eventual production of writing as a materialization of the human ability of primary modeling may not be consciously described as such by the producer - the narrator of the narrative inquiry - to be aware of these production conditions is necessarily part of a group of conscious or meta-semiotic acts by the narrative researcher: the ethical acts done while dealing with the signs of life and the life of signs. Even if the researcher does not read a line of semiotics.

Thus, consciously responsive, or meta-semiotically, we understand this emotive-volitional narrative relation as the act of dealing with signs (semiotics) and its semiosis (MORRIS, 2009) in a way that is not indifferent to the subjects and the signs of research: a semioethic approach.

In dealing with the narrative writing of research and the narrative inquiry of writing in the urgency and emergence of life, as a “plan-to-accomplish,” all those who are others to researchers as narrators make us notice the convergence of the life of the writer, of whom and for whom life has meaning, of whom and to whom the researcher music teacher with whom we spoke carries out her research:

This valuative architectonic division of the world into I and those who are all others for me is not passive and fortuitous, but is an active and ought-to-be division. This architectonic is something-given as well as something-to-be-accomplished, for it is the architectonic of an event. It is not given as a finished and rigidified architectonic, into which I am placed passively. It is the yet-to-be-realized plane of my orientation in Being-as-event or an architectonic that is incessantly and actively realized through my answerable deed, upbuilt by my deed and possessing stability only in the answerability of my deed. The concrete ought is an architectonic ought: the ought to actualize one’s unique place in once-occurrent Being-as-event. And it is determined first and foremost as a contra position of I and the other (BAKHTIN, 1993, p. 75).

Narrative writing both as a training event and about a training event, and thus directed by the achievement in a still-to-be-realized-plan, extrapolates any method, in the sense of “demand” or “ordering” 14 (SERODIO, 2013).


With intuition as a compass, the unavoidable dialogue as tongue - ‘He who has a tongue, may go to Rome...’ - and a baggage full of memories, concepts, and also some prejudices, Serodio (2014) began to walk and to write. Perhaps one would say that what she did was to study with an inner question guiding her. And maybe she would agree. But would this be a path, a research method?

Thus, narrative inquiry could bee a method based on the study of a theme in a dialogue with the memories and the materiality of these contextualized and textualized memories, a unique and unrepeatable dialogue, just like living beings. Would it be possible to conceive a method that does not repeat itself? Yes, just this! A single method, as a process, as an event!?

For Serodio (2014), this path eventually became the social unveiling of her mind as the “realization of one’s own place in the unique event of Being” (BAKHTIN, 2010, p. 143). Narrative inquiry, as a method, as part of teachers and researchers training, would turn training into self-training and training with another - but only provided that it had the “signature” of the researcher herself, compelled by the motives and desires that led her to research, where the search is the search for a method/path that emerges in writing.

We recall that Serodio (2008) says that without the conjectured narrative method, she wouldn’t even have begun her research. The memory, the data inventory, the texts/compositions in comparison and contrast to scientific discourse genres (dissertation and thesis), the insistent retrieval of these texts/compositions as data that become utterances and are once more given at other times, all this were a way of dialoguing and following the path that the research required.

That path, we agree, would be a method!

Thus, narrative inquiry is a method based on the study of a topic in dialogue with the memories and the materiality (con)textualized with the purpose to apply investigative efforts implying writing as a producer and creator of the expressive materiality of thought aiming at the aesthetic finalizing of that effort.

Narrative inquiry in its drift, carried out by an individual non indifferent to the other, with a deeper purpose, becomes a powerful means of expression for the historic-cultural unveiling of the social organization of the mind, an “expression that organizes mental activity” (BAKHTIN, 2006, p. 114).

Teachers’ narrative is close to its communicative usefulness, as a primary, quotidian genre (BAKHTIN, 2003; SERODIO, 2013; PRADO, 2013) that, when in contact with the academic “social edifice”, does not lose this primary function of everyday communication .when discourses, arguments, and theories enter the scene, and then it becomes an academic means of conducting research.

Would it not be possible to infer that Sebeok, such as Serodio, had been discovering his utterances while writing, and that the claim of modelling ability and t the play of musement (Il gioco del fantasticare) were produced as in a game of imagination?15

Narrative, as a writing act, writing as language, and language as the human ability to create worlds, are the interface of translation from interior signs into the exterior signs of our dialogic readings. These are all expressions inherent to human semiosis and the inscription of an act in the space-time continuum, prior to any possible semiotics (as an act of conscious knowledge).

In the same sense, Serodio (2014) realizes that the written narrative goes even beyond the training and self-training proclaimed by narrative inquiry as it has been well disseminated beside artistic symbolism (BAKHTIN, 2003, p. 398-399; PONZIO, 2008, p.9-20). This is because it assumes, in the dual position I-other/writing-life, the status of the dual responsibility-responsiveness before quotidian relationships, in the double responsibility art-life (BAKHTIN, 2003, XXIII), and its accomplishment in the inherent resistance to the mutual non interpenetration, as a single event.

By continuing to listen to the other, as movements towards the other, by noticing the convergence of the writer’s life, a writer who and for whom life has a meaning, of whom and for whom she does research, she sees herself in a production of signs through the interpretation of these signs, an infinite, singular, individual and cultural interpretation.

In conclusion, by learning to listen to movements and motifs upon hearing musical movements and motifs arising from movements and motifs of students in their compositions, with all it means in terms of teachers’ training, musical training for children and adolescents, and the conceptualization of music and art, Serodio (2014) notices that, for other researchers that assume this responsible stance regardless of the materiality, the goals, and the questions of research, the writing-event may emerge as well.

From the generic human ability, in the social relationship with others to whom we are not indifferent, the uniqueness of the single, unrepeatable, sui generis act emerges: the writing-event.


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1By a researcher in the Faculty of Education at a public university in State of São Paulo, Brazil.

2The historical/cultural perspective of the linguistic philosophy of Bakhtin permeates the discourse in such a manner, that, in a single statement, many concepts developed by Bakhtin and his study circles might appear but not always be referenced. In this text, and more generally in the new discourse relating to the writing-event, the book Toward a Philosophy of the Act (BAKHTIN, 2010) is present not only in the form of words and statements; it has become, so to speak, a philosophy of life for the authors. We can say that Bakhtin constitutes ourselves, and, with our thoughts/writings put into words and actions, we become part of the infinite verbal chain within which he created so many links that enable us to understand life as an “event and not as Being qua a given”.

3 “A sign has its meaning in another sign which responds to it and which in turn is a sign if there is another sign to respond to it and interpret it, and so forth ad infinitum. The meaning is therefore not separable from the path and the direction of the path. How an interpreter relates itself, which relations he has: It means nothing more than that.” (PONZIO; LOMUTO, 1997, p. 20).

4A selection of pertinent works from our research group: group in the Faculty of Education at a public university in the State of São Paulo, Brazil: cf. PRADO; SOLIGO, 2005; PRADO; MORAIS, 2011; PRADO; FERREIRA; FERNANDES, 2011; FERREIRA, C. R., 2013; FERREIRA, L. H., 2014; PROENÇA, 2014; LEARDINE, 2014, PIERINI, 2014; SIMAS, 2014 (qualification exam); SOLIGO, 2014; SOLIGO; SIMAS, 2014.

5Available on: < content&view=category&layout=blog&id=40&Itemid=76>.

6Prado’s MSc dissertation (1992) is an important document for studies on narrative inquiry in education and teacher training. Prado is the research supervisor of Serodio (2014). Both their MSc dissertations were developed from the perspective of narrative inquiry in education as is discussed in this text, although in its first stages.

7Namely, as a means of compiling or producing narrative texts or described life experiences, in order to analyze narrative data and compile qualitative and/or quantitative data.

8Courses taught at the state university and attended by this researcher in 2009, 2010, and 2012.

9LÉVINAS, Emmanuel. L’Au-delà du verset. Paris: Minuit, 1982.

10SEBEOK, Thomas A. Semiotic and Communication: a dialogue with Thomas A. Sebeok. In: SWITZER, J. Y. et al. (Org.). The Southern Communication Journal 55, 1990, p.391.

11Free translation from the original: Della scrittura si ha una visione ristretta. Essa è identificata con la trascrizione del linguaggio orale, e dunque è ridotta a semplice registrazione di esso, a una sorta di rivestimento esterno con una conseguente subalternità e ancillarità rispetto all’orale. In questo senso la scrittura non sarebbe altro che una mneumotecnica. {…} La scrittura subalterna alla phoné, la scrittura come involucro secondario per fissare al vocalismo, è al servizio della memoria, della descrizione narrativa, al servizio del soggetto in essa prefissato, in-scritto e da essa de-scritto (PONZIO, 2006, p. 150).

12Significance is presented by Barthes, as a consequence of the dialogic character, as the inexhaustible intertextuality of the literary text which gives movement to the significant (PONZIO; CALEFATO; PETRILLI, 2007, p. 45). That is, using the term ‘significance’, we can indicate the way of being of the signs through movement. Nevertheless, we use ‘significance’ to refer to the signs in which movement and consequently the autonomy of the significant are particularly consistent (apud BARTHES, 1971 in PONZIO; CALEFATO; PETRILLI, 2007, p. 105).

13Trying not to create an aura around the “artistic symbolism” which we mentioned before and to which we will return later, we refer to Augusto Ponzio (2008). We however warn the reader that many of his thoughts are discussed in many books and articles, because they support each other with regard to concepts relatively ‘new’ to many of us education researchers, like every Bakhtinian theory

14Entry in philosophy dictionary (LALANDE, 1993). The quotes in the following reference are quotations, which the author refers to in her own bibliography. We find it important to present it here, at least in part.

15The Play of Musement is the title of a book by T. Sebeok, 1981.

Received: May 24, 2015; Accepted: March 19, 2017

Contact: Liana Arrais Serodio, Rua João Leme, 50. Cidade Universitária, Barão Geraldo, Campinas|SP|Brazil, CEP: 13.083-410


Doctor in Education at the University of Campinas {Universidade de Campinas}, associate researcher at GEPEC - Study and Research Group on Continuing Education. E-mail: <>.


Doctor in Applied Linguistics at the University of Campinas, Professor of School Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Campinas {Universidade de Campinas}, coordinator of GEPEC - Study and Research Group on Continuing Education. E-mail: <>.

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