Critical ethnography in schools: reflections on power, positionality, and privilege
(2021) International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
This paper is a critical reflection of a critical ethnography, a study focused on how ‘healthy lifestyle education’ programmes were implemented and experienced in two primary schools. In an attempt to disrupt the status quo I employed a range of ethnographic methods: ‘hanging out’ with children and adults; building trusting relationships; having research conversations with participants; observing children and adults; and, journaling. However, the messy assemblage of diverse organisations, people, relations of power, discourses, truths, and practices, resulted in the emergence of ethical and methodological conundrums, including how to represent children’s voices, whether (or not) to ‘intervene’ during problematic pedagogical moments, and how to ‘act’ as a critical ethnographic researcher in schools. Applying a critical lens to my own methodology helped to ensure that I embarked on a continuous, reflexive process; one that enabled a critique of research methods and a negotiation of issues of power, positionality, and privilege. © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
corporations; Critical ethnography; Foucault; methods; power; primary schools