Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education
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Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education

Edited by Sara Delamont

The Handbook of Qualitative Research in Education offers both basic and advanced discussions of data collection, analysis and representation of all the best qualitative methods used in educational research.
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Chapter 8: Queer Theory, Ethnography and Education

Cassandra Wells, Anna MacLeod and Blye Frank


Cassandra Wells, Anna MacLeod and Blye Frank HOW TO DO QUEER ETHNOGRAPHY IN EDUCATION? Articulating a methodology for queer ethnography in education requires a number of contextualizing caveats regarding how its component parts have been developed and understood in academia. The process and practice of critical ethnography merits some elaboration, as do the concepts of queer studies and queer theory, not to mention an explanation of what is meant by research in education. In addition, the tools and methods of ethnographic research will need to be modified according to the requirements of the queer ethos as described. While these tasks seem straightforward, as we investigate the aims and methods of queer research and critical ethnography in the enterprise of education, the limits of each come into focus and pose irresolvable conundrums for those seeking to do queer ethnographic research. A queer ethos is oppositional and thus in a constant state of formation as it reorients to the changing discourses of ‘the mainstream’. With this moving target in mind, this chapter will sketch out the borders of a queer ethnography for education, drawing on insights from critical ethnography, queer theory and ‘after-queer’ perspectives. While these principles will provide some direction to prospective researchers, they will also raise important and confounding questions. Therefore, we suggest that the practice of queer ethnography requires, above all, thoughtfulness and imagination. CRITICAL ETHNOGRAPHY IN EDUCATION Ethnography is both a product and method of social research that uses a variety of tools, including long-term observation, interviews and...

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