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Cultivating a worldly repose: the contribution of Sally Gadow's work to interpretive inquiry

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This paper discusses the contribution that the work of Sally Gadow makes to understandings of interpretive inquiry and it's potential to inform and influence nursing practice, research, and education. The discussion draws on several of Gadow's published works that make explicit her understandings of what it means to be interpretive, to be open to multiple truths, to hear multiple voices, to have a history, to be experienced, and to recognize agency in language. Situating this discussion of Gadow's contribution in opposition to a metaphysics of genius is intended to move our understanding of particular work past the subjectivity that produced it, past the subjectivized responses to the work, past the reporting on myself – my thoughts, my perspectives, my experiences – to explore, to see the worthwhileness or even the possibilities of exploring the work itself and the worlds it evokes. This paper is a deliberate attempt to disrupt the call to the author to save us from the task of interpreting the questions that the work itself places us under. Gadow's work itself points us away from a valorization of the voice of the author of the work, a single voice, and towards a cultivation of a worldly repose where each interpretive account points us to some longstanding whole to which the work belongs and from which it gains its sense and significance.

Keywords: Gadow; agency; engagement; experience; interpretive inquiry; language; suffering; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Associate Professor,

Publication date: July 1, 2003


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