The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Chapter 9: Using drama to understand street-level practice
The focus of this chapter is the challenge of investigating the intentions, commitments and perspectives of a particular group of street-level actors – professionals. Research often discounts intentions or assumes that actors’ intentions and commitments are easily read. These approaches, though, can miss expertise embodied in practice. The author argues that we need to augment current research approaches to engage with deeply embedded knowledge and commitments. Techniques from drama, it is suggested, have the potential to develop the repertoire of qualitative research to better engage with street-level practices and capture the complex and dynamic material needed to understand professional practices. The author draws on material from a research project involving drama practitioners to illustrate this argument, and explain how, through this project, collaborators identified and developed a research approach, drawing on techniques and ideas from interactive and immersive drama practice, which are sensitive tools to investigate expertise underpinning professional practices at street level.
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