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“What’s he writing in there?” Reciprocal field relations and relational curiosity in ethnographies of education

Tummons, Jonathan

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Abstract

The notion of the ethnographer as participant observer, as an active agent rather than passive observer within the research field, is well established within conversations about method and methodology. Less well explored is the extent to which the inherent curiosity and inquisitiveness of the ethnographer might be reciprocated: how might this reciprocity be established and how might it contribute to the construction of knowledge? Through a focus on the ways in which one of the most visible aspects of ethnographic field work – writing field notes – was made sense of and then interrogated by research respondents during an eight-month ethnography of workplace learning, this article argues that reciprocal field relations characterised by a willingness for the researcher to be interrogated about their work in a manner akin to the ways in which the researched are, here described as relational curiosity, both sustains good ethical engagement in the field and enhances the empirical warrant of the ethnography.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 10, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 25, 2024
Publication Date Jun 25, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 27, 2024
Journal Ethnography and Education
Print ISSN 1745-7823
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2024.2368032
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/2500726

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