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Ethnography, materiality, and the principle of symmetry: problematising anthropocentrism and interactionism in the ethnography of education
School of Education, Durham University.
University of Borås, Faculty of Librarianship, Information, Education and IT. (PAUS)
2019 (English)In: Ethnography and Education, ISSN 1745-7823, E-ISSN 1745-7831Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we draw on actor-network theory (ANT) in order to challenge the methodological and empirical orthodoxies of anthropocentrism and interactionism that have long informed dominant discourses of ethnographic work. We use ANT to open new possibilities for understanding education as emergent in relational fields where non-human forces are as equally necessary as and possess an agency equivalent to, human forces: the principle of symmetry. We argue that this generates important conceptual as well as political possibilities in constituting different possible outcomes in the accomplishment of ethnographies of education. We draw attention to the problematic of the decentring of the human subject and the critical investigation of the interface between people and objects that frame this special issue, and also propose a methodological response framed by a commitment to empirical research through ethnography as well as a theoretical response framed by relational materialism, operationalised here through recourse to ANT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Actor-network theory, ethnography, materialism, post-structuralism, relational symmetry
National Category
Educational Sciences Social Anthropology
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-21973DOI: 10.1080/17457823.2019.1683756ISI: 000492888200001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-21973DiVA, id: diva2:1368955
Available from: 2019-11-09 Created: 2019-11-09 Last updated: 2019-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Beach, Dennis

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