• Culture, Personal Experience and Agency

      Sullivan, Paul W.; McCarthy, J.; Wright, P. (2006)
      In this article, we explore what we perceive to be a gap between agency as articulated in practice theories and agency as personally experienced. The gap is not created by a turn to practice in theorizing, but by the tendency to produce theoretical representations that silence the particularity of experience and the diversity of voices in experience. In exploring the gap, we identify aspects of practice theories that explicitly commit to theoretical representation over personal experience and describe Bakhtin's commitment to action and personal experience as an alternative. In order to exemplify Bakhtin's approach in practice, we then present an analysis of one artist-teacher's experience of her own agency in making art and in teaching. Finally, we comment on what a commitment to representational theorizing does to accounts of an artist's activities and personal experience.
    • Medical training as adventure-wonder and adventure-ordeal: a dialogical analysis of affect-laden pedagogy

      Madill, A.; Sullivan, Paul W. (2010)
      Our purpose is to examine the possibilities of Bakhtinian dialogical analysis for understanding students' experiences of medical training. Twenty-three interviews were conducted with eleven British medical students intercalating in psychology. Forty emotionally resonant key moments were identified for analysis. Our analysis illustrates students' use of the professional genre to present their training as emotionally neutral. However, we show how medical training can be framed in more unofficial and affective-laden ways in which threshold moments of crisis are presented as space-time breaches characteristic of the genres of adventure-wonder and adventure-ordeal. This affect was often depotentiated in the narratives through brief allusion to the professional genre. This cycling between genres suggests that the students were searching for an appropriate way in which to frame their experiences, a central dilemma being the extent to which medical training makes sense within an immediate and affect-laden, or future-orientated and affect-neutral, pedagogy. Finally, we identify how consultants are an important aspect of the affective experience of medical training who, at their best, offer inspiring exemplars of flexible movement between official and unofficial ways of being a doctor. In conclusion, we demonstrate the potential of genres to make sense, and to organize the experience, of medical training spatially in terms of moving between personal and impersonal contact, temporally in terms of moving between the extraordinary and routine, and affectively in terms of moving between potent and neutral affect. Learning to use the professional genre is part of enculturation as a doctor and can be helpful in providing a framework restoring coherence and composure through engaging with, and reformulating, difficult experiences. However, it is important to take seriously the resistance many of the students demonstrated to the professional genre as a possible barometer of its acceptability to the general public.
    • Supplemented zinc does not alter mood in healthy older European adults - a randomised placebo-controlled trial: the Zenith study

      Stewart-Knox, Barbara; Rae, G.; Simpson, E.E.A.; McConville, C.; O'Connor, J.M.; Polito, A.; Andriollo-Sanchez, M.; Coudray, C.; Strain, J.J. (2011)
      OBJECTIVE: Older people are vulnerable to zinc deficiency, which may impact upon their mood. This randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind intervention study aimed to investigate the effect of oral zinc gluconate supplementation (15 mg/d; 30 mg/d; and placebo) on subjective mood (affect) in older Europeans. SUBJECTS: Healthy volunteers (n 387) aged 55-87 years were recruited. SETTING: Volunteers in Rome (Italy; n 108) and Grenoble (France; n 91) were aged 70-87 years and those in Coleraine (Northern Ireland; n 93) and Clermont-Ferrand (France; n 95) were aged 55-70 years. DESIGN: Mood was measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Scale on four occasions per day over 4 d at baseline, 3 and 6 months post-intervention. RESULTS: Mixed ANOVA indicated that neither positive nor negative affect altered in response to zinc (15 mg/d or 30 mg/d) compared to placebo in either the 55-70 years or the >/=70 years age group. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that zinc does not benefit mood in healthy older people.