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Ethnography, materiality, and theprinciple of symmetry: problematising anthropocentrism and interactionism in the ethnography ofeducation
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 tochallenge the methodological and empirical orthodoxies ofanthropocentrism and interactionism that have long informeddominant discourses of ethnographic work. We use ANT to opennew possibilities for understanding education as emergent inrelational fields where non-human forces are as equally necessaryas and possess an agency equivalent to, human forces: theprinciple of symmetry. We argue that this generates importantconceptual as well as political possibilities in constituting differentpossible outcomes in the accomplishment of ethnographies ofeducation. We draw attention to the problematic of thedecentring of the human subject and the critical investigation ofthe interface between people and objects that frame this specialissue, and also propose a methodological response framed by acommitment to empirical research through ethnography as wellas 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
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-21902DOI: 10.1080/17457823.2019.1683756OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-21902DiVA, id: diva2:1366372
Available from: 2019-10-29 Created: 2019-10-29 Last updated: 2019-10-29Bibliographically approved

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Beach, Dennis

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