Posts Tagged ‘research’
Teacher to Alexander the Great and Plato’s pupil, Aristotle, is in some ways a more important educational theorist and philosopher than Socrates or Plato. His work has resonated down the ages, and although we have only fragments from his book On Education, we have enough secondary evidence to piece together his theories on the subject. He was more empirically-minded than Plato or Socrates. Aristotle was the first to classify areas of human knowledge into distinct disciplines such as mathematics, biology, and ethics. Some of these classifications are still used today. Learning by doing was a fundamental issue in his theory of learning. ‘Anything we have to learn to do we learn by the actual doing of it…’ he says, echoing many a modern theorist.
From the vantage point of the colonized, the term ‘research‘ is inextricably linked with European colonialism; the ways in which scientific research has been implicated in the worst excesses of imperialism remains a powerful remembered history for many of the world’s colonized peoples. Here, an indigenous researcher issues a clarion call for the decolonization of research methods.
The book is divided into two parts. In the first, the author critically examines the historical and philosophical base of Western research. Extending the work of Foucault, she explores the intersections of imperialism, knowledge and research, and the different ways in which imperialism is embedded in disciplines of knowledge and methodologies as ‘regimes of truth‘. Providing a history of knowledge from the Enlightenment to Postcoloniality, she also discusses the fate of concepts such as ‘discovery, ‘claiming’ and ‘naming’ through which the west has incorporated and continues to incorporate the indigenous world within its own web.
The second part of the book meets the urgent need for people who are carrying out their own research projects, for literature which validates their frustrations in dealing with various western paradigms, academic traditions and methodologies, which continue to position the indigenous as ‘Other’. In setting an agenda for planning and implementing indigenous research, the author shows how such programmes are part of the wider project of reclaiming control over indigenous ways of knowing and being.
Exploring the broad range of issues which have confronted, and continue to confront, indigenous peoples, in their encounters with western knowledge, this book also sets a standard for truly emancipatory research. It brilliantly demonstrates that ‘when indigenous peoples become the researchers and not merely the researched, the activity of research is transformed.’
In a recent analysis of anglophone scholarship, Baker and Heyning considered both where and when Foucault’s name was made to live and also analyzed the kinds of work such naming has performed, i.e., the substantive claims made in the name of or through Foucault. In regard to where and when, the most marked uptake of Foucault occurred in the second half of the 1990s in the humanities and social sciences, with the field of philosophy indexing the earliest discussions of his work.
Three predominant uses of Foucault in education appeared:
- historicization and philosophizing projects with relativization emphases (a more “problematizing” Foucault).
- denaturalization projects without overt historical emphases and with diversity emphases (a more “sociological” Foucault).
- critical reconstruction projects with solution emphases (a more “administrative” Foucault).
This paper takes off from Baker and Heyning’s survey of anglophone uses of Foucault by examining substantive examples of such recombinatorial approaches to Foucault and the plateaus they serve. It will suggest that specific responses to Foucault’s work at the turn of the twenty‐first century are sustained in part by historical propensities in the field to a) scientize and template theoretical frameworks, b) normalize‐govern particular approaches as standardized methodology amid swirling and recombinatorial tendencies, and c) carve out moralistic dualisms around their utility.
This article seeks to demonstrate a particular application of Foucault’s philosophical approach to a particular issue in education: that of personal autonomy. The paper surveys and extends the approach taken by James Marshall in his book Michel Foucault: Personal autonomy and education. After surveying Marshall’s writing on the issue I extend Marshall’s approach, critically analysing the work of Rob Reich and Meira Levinson, two contemporary philosophers who advocate models of personal autonomy as the basis for a liberal education.
Change in the Field – Changing the Field – Bourdieu and the Methodological Practice of Educational Research
Bourdieu‘s social theory offers a way of understanding some of the most important features of the field of educational research, while also providing educational researchers with a rich conceptual apparatus for their practice. This article addresses both of these methodological themes and the connections between them. We begin by outlining some key trends in educational research, mainly in Britain, over recent decades in terms of Bourdieu’s Field Theory. Special attention is given to the relative positioning of researchers and the formation of an `avant-garde‘. We refer to the impact of educational policy and attacks on educational research, with attendant effects on the field, and on the formation and legitimacy of knowledge about educational processes. This analysis is followed by an example taken from a contemporary research project in which principles derived from Bourdieu’s approach have been adopted in framing methodology. We give particular attention to the terms of the programme in which the project forms a part, and key aspects of it such as `user engagement‘. Both methodological justifications and consequences are discussed, as well as tensions with dominant expectations of research processes and outcomes. Finally, we argue that, following Bourdieu’s own public strategies of sociopolitical action, educational research methodology that is radically reflexive has the capacity to found a critically effective discourse with practical consequences.