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On Structure and Agency in Ethnographies of Education
University of Borås, School of Education and Behavioural Science.
2011 (English)In: European Educational Research Journal (online), ISSN 1474-9041, E-ISSN 1474-9041, Vol. 10, no 4, 471-482 p.Article in journal (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The articles in this collection conceptualise and describe notions of human agency within educational exchanges and relationships. They are based on ethnography, which is now a common approach to educational research that has also been featured in previous special issues of the present journal. According to these special issues, ethnography is important to educational research as it takes us inside everyday educational contexts and brings us close to everyday practices and the people involved in these, in a manner that helps correct the oversimplifications of more distal approaches and that provides insider perspectives on everyday action and institutional arrangements (Beach et al, 2004). In the terms of Beach (2010a), Trondman (2008) and Willis & Trondman (2000), ethnography is in this sense about developing close-up detailed descriptions of education identities and activities through situated investigations that produce knowledge about basic educational conditions and practices and the perspectives of the participants involved in them, in order to identify and develop previously unexplored dimensions of education without over steering from purely personal ideas or pet theories. It provides valuable and detailed inside knowledge of what are often otherwise seen as closed social processes by opening up the black box of institutional educational activities and practices. Participant observation field notes and interview transcripts are usually the main data sources for analysis in educational ethnography, which is also often closely linked to particular theories (Trondman, 2008) and related methodologies (Beach et al, 2004; Jeffrey & Troman, 2004). Common amongst these theories at present are forms of discourse analysis, analytical induction, constant comparative method and processes of immanent criticism deriving from the Frankfurt school of critical theory and employed in the Birmingham (Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies) school of critical cultural ethnography (e.g. Willis, 1977). There are thus key theoretical, practical and methodological differences within ethnography (Beach, 2010a). It is not a seamless, neutral observational practice (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983...

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Symposium Journals , 2011. Vol. 10, no 4, 471-482 p.
Keyword [en]
etnography, structure and agency
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Teacher Education and Education Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-3270DOI: 10.2304/eerj.2011.10.4.572Local ID: 2320/9929OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-3270DiVA: diva2:871367
Available from: 2015-11-13 Created: 2015-11-13

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