Highlights and Overview of the History of Educational Ethnography

  • Yon D
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Abstract

In broad brush strokes, this essay identifies and reviews key trends and theoretical orientations that have shaped the field of educational ethnography from the period of its inception to the closing decade of the twentieth century. It demonstrates how the growth of educational ethnography as a subfield within anthropology reflects a growing focus on prescriptive, applied, and reformist research within urban contexts. It maps the transition from modernist formulations of the field in its formative days, when ethnographies laid claim to being sealed and scientific texts, to the more recent formulations shaped by postmodern and poststructural ideas that undermine earlier meanings of culture and call attention to the explanatory limits of ethnography. This review draws on examples from North America and Britain and makes no claim to being exhaustive of the vast and growing field. Although it delineates what distinguishes successive decades of educational ethnography, the essay argues for understanding the

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Authors

  • Daniel A. Yon

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