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Publication date: 17 December 2016

Lionel C. Howard and Arshad I. Ali

In this chapter, we propose a blended methodological approach (critical) educational ethnography, to address problems of education. The chapter includes a brief overview…

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In this chapter, we propose a blended methodological approach (critical) educational ethnography, to address problems of education. The chapter includes a brief overview of critical and educational ethnography, which inform the methodology, followed by a discussion of the essential elements and pedagogical objectives that undergird and operationalize the methodology. The essential elements include articulating a critical context, defining and understanding culture, establishing relationships and embeddedness, and multiple ways of knowing. Rather than articulate a curriculum and content for teaching (critical) educational ethnography, pedagogical objectives are provided to support the development of novice researchers (i.e., doctoral students, researchers-in-training).

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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Explorations in Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-886-5

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Ayana Allen and Stephen D. Hancock

The purpose of this chapter is to propose a new direction in ethnographic research in education through the emergence of critical presence ethnography (CPE). Through a…

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The purpose of this chapter is to propose a new direction in ethnographic research in education through the emergence of critical presence ethnography (CPE). Through a review of the evolution of the field of ethnography as well as the positionality of the self as ethnographer, this chapter illuminates the ways in which critical ethnographic commitments and critical reflexivity can support a critical presence perspective that captures the ways in which the researcher impacts the internal epistemology and ontology of the research environment. This chapter is a conceptual chapter and does not include a specific research design, methods, or approaches. As a conceptual piece, there are no clear-cut findings, however a review of the extant literature concerning the field of ethnography is presented as well as the roles, opportunities, and tensions that ethnographers experience in the field. Based on the authors’ ethnographic work in the field, they employ a CPE to capture the ripples of self in the research context.

The limitations of this work are that it is only presented in its conceptual form and has not been implemented nor tested in the field. As such, the implications of this work are that it be further developed and operationalized in the field of ethnography. Upon implementation and in depth testing, CPE may have the potential to positively impact the way in which education ethnographers manage researcher identity, conceptions of the self, and researcher bias within a given context. This chapter builds upon a strong body of literature concerning ethnography and critical ethnography in education. Using these processes of ethnography and the ways in which the positionality of the ethnographic researcher have been conceptualized and operationalized in the extant ethnographic literature, our work seeks to provide a way in which the ethnographer can measure his or her impact on the given context. Although infant in our conceptualization, we aspire to contribute to the conversation about ethnography, researcher positionality, and context.

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Jesse Davie-Kessler

This chapter examines the practical and conceptual limitations and possibilities of using ethnographic methods in the college writing classroom for the purpose of…

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This chapter examines the practical and conceptual limitations and possibilities of using ethnographic methods in the college writing classroom for the purpose of instructors’ professional development. The study is based on ethnographic research with a second-year course in Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric. The study’s dual foci included the teacher–researcher’s pedagogical practices and students’ learning, and entailed participant-observation and the recording of ethnographic fieldnotes. It builds on the anthropology of literacy, a tradition of action research among educational ethnographers, and scholarship on composition pedagogy. Participant-observation could be helpful to other college instructors interested in improving their teaching. However, combining participant-observation with direct student feedback through interviews or surveys will be most effective in shaping educators’ professional development. Using participant-observation for professional development in the college writing classroom did not only situate me, the ethnographer, as both subject and object of research. Unexpectedly, my research also placed ethnographic methods as objects of research. By examining student learning and teaching practices ethnographically, researchers create opportunities to illuminate assumptions related to research as well as broader lessons about the study of teaching and learning.

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Aviva Bower

This chapter explores queer theory as a “thought of a method” in educational ethnography by sharing stories of two third grade boys and situating them in a discussion of…

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This chapter explores queer theory as a “thought of a method” in educational ethnography by sharing stories of two third grade boys and situating them in a discussion of Britzman’s ideas about reading and Butler’s notion of fantasy. The stories are presented as a possible queer educational ethnography, in which the ethnographer writes the fantastic narrative of the boys as they read creatively to reveal and unsettle gender and reading as sites of constraint to which other constraints adhere. The boys’ reading itself is a queer reading of these constraints and as such makes alterity visible and possible. The study and the methodological framework suggest that educational ethnographers and other adults who work in schools should become attuned to the markers of constraint and alterity, so as to recognize, shelter, and maintain the alterity that children make possible. The chapter asserts children must be allowed to read for alterity, and shows how fantastic narratives that emerge from such readings are limited by the hushing of individuals who disallow alterity in classrooms. Ultimately, this chapter is relevant to ethnographers of education in that it suggests that queer theory not only is necessary to narrate and thus shelter the ways that gender can and should be unsettled in classrooms, but also allows us to narrate and shelter other queer urgencies related to fear, violence, and vulnerability that children experience or share in classrooms. Implications for the current climate of school reform based on standardization of curriculum are also discussed.

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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Book part
Publication date: 10 January 2007

Martin Forsey

Critical ethnography first emerged as a distinctive research approach in education studies in the late 1960s (Anderson, 1989, p. 250). It has now achieved a degree of…

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Critical ethnography first emerged as a distinctive research approach in education studies in the late 1960s (Anderson, 1989, p. 250). It has now achieved a degree of respectability and has taken its place as part of the qualitative tradition in universities (Jordan & Yeomans, 1995, p. 399). Critical ethnography reflects what Geertz (1983) identified as a ‘blurring of genres’. As the name suggests, it is marked by a confluence of interpretivist field studies and critical streams of thought (Goodman, 1998, p. 51). These converging streams, arising from a variety of sources and pushed along by the currents of Marxist, neo-Marxist and feminist social theory, swirl together into a dynamically enriched mixture of the methods and theories of anthropology, sociology and education. Not surprisingly the streams formed in different parts of the globe, while composed of all of the elements just named, are configured slightly differently. As Priyadharshini (2003, p. 421) recently noted in comparing British and American strands of educational ethnography, the Western side of the Atlantic is marked by a much stronger tradition of educational anthropology than in the UK. And these differences make a difference.

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Methodological Developments in Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-500-0

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Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2005

Barbara Korth

I am the oldest daughter from a family of five girls. I was born in the 1950s and had my first real encounters with feminism as a social movement during the second wave…

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I am the oldest daughter from a family of five girls. I was born in the 1950s and had my first real encounters with feminism as a social movement during the second wave women's liberation movement in the United States in the 1970s. This movement had an important impact on me. Despite the appeal of the women's movement for me, I lived a powerfully gendered life. I had not been allowed to read The Lord of the rings series in school because I was a girl. I detested Barbie dolls and yet was sentenced to hours of play with them if I was to have any social life at all. I had to pretend that I neither liked nor was competent at math and science. My high school boyfriend was paying me a compliment when decades after high school he told me, “At least you never let on that you were smart. I always appreciated that about you.” When I attended the first day of a basic calculus class at a public university in 1981, the professor announced, “No female has ever passed a class with me.” In 1983, I was reprimanded by my elementary school principal for wearing slacks to teach. This was reminiscent of my childhood days when my parents finally, but only, allowed me to wear trousers to school on Fridays. In 1990, my 5-year-old daughter told me, “Well, mom, everyone knows boys are smarter than girls” (of course she has since changed her mind!).

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Methodological Issues and Practices in Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-374-7

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

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New Directions in Educational Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-623-2

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2016

Marguerite Anne Fillion Wilson and Denise Gray Yull

While scholars recognize that parent engagement in children’s education is beneficial, much of the normative parent involvement literature rests on the assumption that…

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While scholars recognize that parent engagement in children’s education is beneficial, much of the normative parent involvement literature rests on the assumption that marginalized parents of color must be taught white middle-class norms of conduct in order to engage with the school system. In this chapter, we describe the ways our critical ethnographic implementation and analysis of the Parent Mentor Program – a parent engagement project in a small urban school district in Central New York – re-envisions parent engagement in three interrelated ways. First, we argue that the project is race-, class-, gender-, and power-conscious, drawing on the interrelated theoretical frames of Critical Race Theory and Critical Whiteness Studies. Second, we argue that the program and research are unique in utilizing the toolkit of critical ethnography to not merely describe, but also to intervene in educational inequity. Third, we argue that the program has a more holistic goal than much of the parent engagement literature, as it seeks to connect parent engagement and activism with the larger antiracist goal of using restorative justice strategies to disrupt the disproportionate disciplining of Black students. Focusing on critical ethnographic methods in practice, we analyze the shifting positionalities of a multiracial research team as we grappled with methodological dilemmas in the first three years of the program. We document how we balanced the goals of introducing a race-conscious framework and catalyzing critical consciousness with the realities of constantly renegotiating entry in a school district characterized by colorblindness and colormuteness.

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