Jenny Ros

Jenny Ros

University of Lausanne

Thesis: Collaboration in the psychiatric and mental handicap fields: Analysis of systemic contradictions in the light of cultural-historical activity theory and dialogism

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Research supervisor: Prof. Michèle Grossen

I am a doctoral student in psychology, working at the University of Lausanne under the supervision of Prof. Michèle Grossen. My doctoral dissertation deals with the theme of multidisciplinary collaboration in the field of mental handicap and psychiatry. Currently, I am spending a year as a visiting student at the Centre of Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) of the University of Helsinki, directed by Prof. Engeström. Next year, I will go back to Switzerland where I will have one more year to finish the redaction of my dissertation.

Currently, I am analysing transcripts of video recordings of weekly team meetings. Regarding the research questions outlined in my abstract, as well as the kind of data I am analysing, I think that it is of utmost importance to combine two theoretical frameworks: the cultural historical activity theory and the dialogical approach. The cultural historical activity theory allows me to conduct a global analysis joining the micro and macro levels of the data. Indeed, as they are very heterogeneous (ranging from general observations of the field to interviews), it is essential to have an analytic tool that create bridges between them. Furthermore, it allows me to analyse the systemic contradictions, which is a central issue to understand work collaboration. The dialogical approach provides important tools to conduct more fine grain discourse analysis. It is really useful to understand, for example, how the in situ interactions work and to identify dynamic linguistic clues of systemic contradictions.

The main challenge I am facing when combining those two approaches is to connect the different concepts and analytical tools they are offering. For example, how can the activity theoretical analysis of contradictions, changes and learning be supported by the dialogical analysis of categorisation and positioning process? The coding scheme I am building aims at developing this kind of questions. I am applying for the ISCAR summer university, because this course will offer me epistemological and methodological tools and reflection that would be very helpful to deal with the issues I am currently dealing with.