Wondering in the dark: The generative power of unknowing in the arts and in qualitative inquiry

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter, the author fcouses on the interplay in the arts and in qualitative research, between knowing and unknowing—forces that at times resist each other as incompatible opposites, but more often support each other towards greater depth and fulfillment, with vital implications for the conduct of qualitative research. Methods and theories serve as an external compass, by their nature belonging to an area of knowing. The author addresses what she see the missing mind-state of unknowing underlying perception in all its openness as an essential part of the journey towards expanded visions and understandings. The concept of unknowing can be too quickly classified as disgraceful ignorance or laudable beginner’s mind. Having been intrigued by the generative power of unknowing in qualitative research for some 35 years, grappling with its forbidding aspects, as well as with its affordances and possibilities, rather than rushing to the knowing layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQualitative Inquiry at a Crossroads
Subtitle of host publicationPolitical, Performative, and Methodological Reflections
EditorsNorman K Denzin, Michael D Giardina
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780429056796
ISBN (Print)9780367174385, 9780367174392
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Publication series

NameInternational Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Series

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences


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