07 SES 10 JS, Critical Reflections on Social Justice and Equality in Education, Part I: Critical Ethnography in Nordic Context- with European Refelctions
Joint Session with NW 19
The present chapter can be seen as an empirically grounded theoretical reflection on critique in critical ethnography. It starts off in an experience of trying to work with critical ethnography in researching “privileged” masculinities in higher technology education, but finding the notion of criticality potentially problematic in relation to such research. Following an exploration of what it means to be critical in critical ethnography, it is argued that characterizing critical ethnography through its alignment with its research subjects becomes problematic when we turn our focus away from marginalized groups and instead focus on norms and subjects being included and privileged by such norms. An associated foundationalist tendency to ground one's critical perspective in an opposition towards the power structures that work to disprivilege a group studied is also problematized. An attempt to point towards a notion of criticality less tied up to the solidaric mode of inquiry previously identified as characteristic of critical ethnography concludes the chapter. Incorporating aspects of Foucault's notion of problematization and Mouffe’s argumentation for pluralization, it is suggested that aspiring to politicize rather than to advance a certain political position can be a way to avoid some of the problems discussed.
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