WINNER: 2004 AESA Critics' Choice Award
"With wonderful clarity Maggie MacLure shows how deconstructionism opens new avenues of critical inquiry and understanding for educational researchers. In exposing the hidden, ideological side of terms like clarity, certainty, mastery, and relevance she allows us to see schooling and educational policy in new ways. In so doing she allows us to imagine classrooms as liberating, pedagogical places, as places where new forms of desire, knowledge, and learning take place" - Norman K. Denzin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This book is both practical and provocative. It demonstrates the insights and the challenges of a discourse-based orientation to educational and social research. Drawing on a variety of educational and social science 'texts' - including press articles, life history interviews, parent-teacher consultations, policy debates and ethnographies - the author shows how knowledge, power, identities and realities are constructed and problematised in discourse.
The book also deals with research itself as discursive practice, examining the texts that qualitative researchers produce and consume: reports, monographs, journal articles. Practical examples are included for researchers and graduate students wishing to 'interrogate' their own data from a discourse perspective. The author develops a critical awareness of the researcher's role as writer/reader of texts.
The book makes the case for 'discursive literacy' in research. While its primary allegiances are to poststructuralism and deconstruction, it draws from a wide range of disciplines, including interaction sociology, feminist ethnography, literary theory, critical discourse analysis and art history. What holds the book together is the persistent question: how to do educational research and social research within a 'crisis of representation' that has unsettled the relationship between words and worlds?