Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Christensen, G.
Ethical Reflections On Ethnographic Exposure Of Exclusion in PBL-Group Learning
(2021) in Fox, A., Busher, H., & Capewell, C. (Eds.). (2021). Thinking Critically and Ethically About Research for Education: Engaging with Voice and Empowerment in International Contexts (1st ed.). Routledge.
, pp. 107-119.

DOI: 10.4324/9781003094722-9

This chapter will address ethnographic exposure of exclusion in group learning: problem-based learning at Danish universities. The empirical data consists of qualitative interviews in groups and individually with students, teachers and administrators, a qualitative questionnaire, an ethnographic field study of students working in groups and a number of texts about small-group learning. The research project was founded on, firstly, a curiosity in what is actually going on when students are left to themselves in the PBL groups. Secondly, the project was inspired by Michel Foucault’s concepts of power, subjectification and critique in this case of the way groups are naturalised in the Danish pedagogical discourse as fundamentally good and unproblematic – which is far from the student’s experiences. Thus, the values were attached to doing critical research in a Foucauldian sense. Although conventional ethical principles and practices of informed consent, opportunities to withdraw and anonymisation were followed, on reflection the author is uncertain if the participants were directly empowered by the research. This chapter uses the concept of ethos, i.e. an obligation for the researcher to rethink the researcher role and, to paraphrase Foucault, what they are doing with what they are doing, which may be equivalent with giving the participants a voice. © 2022 selection and editorial matter, Alison Fox, Hugh Busher, Carmel Capewell; individual chapters, the contributors.

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