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Doing critical ethnography and struggling around

Robinson, J. (2012) Doing critical ethnography and struggling around. In: Oxford Ethnography and Education Conference, 10 - 12 September 2012, New College, Oxford, UK



Whilst critical ethnography is an appropriate and beneficial research approach for troubling school policy such as behaviour management in large institutions like public high schools it does present some challenges and difficulties for the lone ethnographer. This paper traces an ‘insider’ experience as researcher and secondary school teacher as I investigate the Behaviour Management in Schools Policy (2001, 2008) in Western Australia through the understandings and experiences of 27 sixteen year old school students. As I unpacked many of the struggles and contradictions between what policy was claiming to do and what was really happening on the ground in student’s lives, I also found spaces and possibilities to continue my research. It is the strategies for discovering meaning from social action and analysis of data as well as experience with the ethical dilemmas of engaging in critical ethnography that I share throughout this paper.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
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