Uses and misuses of poststructuralism in educational research

  • Hodgson N
  • Standish P
  • 41


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The use of poststructuralist thought in educational research is contrained to be its emancipatory and empowering potential and, on the other, a reluctance to be distracted from practical concerns and, hence, a fear of alienating the practitioner by speaking in terms of the theoretical. This leads to the sometimes superficial relationship that educational research has to ideas of this kind upon which it draws and of which it makes great claims. Othodoxies within those areas of educational research that position themselves as counter to orthodox research practice, and these stifle the potential of the rethinking of though that they seek. We take the use of the work of Michel Founcualt in educational research as an example of this. We then show how the purported adoption of poststructuralist thought in relation to narrative research can lead to a form of research practice that fails adequately to recognize its basis in those very constructions of knowledge that poststructuralist through has sought to criticize. If poststructuralist texts are to enable educational researchers to think differently, the ways in which they require an engagement with what may seem counter-intuitive need to come to light. The work of Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari is used to show how the turn to the self in poststructuralist-informed educational research might itself be turned to different ends.

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  • Naomi Hodgson

  • Paul Standish

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