Tag Archives: Disadvantage

Researching Marginalised Groups Symposium⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

It’s been a while since my last post – embarrassingly long. Full time work and a hefty commute have eaten up any available time I had to do this, but in trying to sort out my notes from some recent conferences, I took the plunge and got back on the blog-wagon. This might be interesting if you are working with either ethnographic approaches or marginalised/marginalising groups. It was a cracking day for me – lovely people and great discussions.

This symposium gave me an opportunity to find out more about ethnographic methodologies and about research project that had take place in the SoE. The following scholars gave accounts of their chapter in a recent co-authored book of the same title.

Marginalised and silenced voices were surfaced. Extremist groups also considered within this definition as they are ones who marginalise and we need to understand what they do and how the operate as well.

Kalwant Bhophal raised pertinent methodological questions: no matter who we are we affect the groups we research (her area of research interest is travellers and Roma communities).

How have we used the respondents?
have we unconsciously exploited them?
How do we affect the communities?
Our subjectivity affects our research

Research should always make a difference even if. It’s small.

Ethics – compromises are sometimes necessary. Discourse is often nebulous . Needs to be more transparent – duty to respondents, university, disciple.

ACCESS- problematics rapport an trust are key.

Openness and recognition of the right time to stop when dealing with students  are essential!.

Member checking –  giving transcripts back to respondents to check is an important part of trust building process – before data is analysed or used. This is important esp with marginalised groups.  Reflexivity and positionality – power is dynamic, not static: it will change throughout  the research process.

Gavin Bailey: Research Associate, University of Leicester

Interested in the ones who do the marginalising – the extremist groups within working class communities. Are hard to reach groups really hard to reach or are the just hard to hear?

Researches extremism in a community context.

What happens if the residents assoc happens to be run by BNP ACTIVISTS?

Extremism and how it is conceptualised in research Community as a key analytical object.

Stereotypes are dominant representation of these extremist group- see Jeremy Paxman griffiths interview: the way demonstrationss are represented in media is always as confrontational.

Being on Paxman – this is not being marginalised , this is mainstream media- doing the marginalising. The doer and the subject – needs to b broken down a bit.

GB’s study avoided the public representation and focused on what they do in their day jobs the extremist groups are the unit of analysis . Beware the focus on the spectacular groups- counter terrorists focusing on different groups who actually do violence Are they unreformable? Is that why they are ignored?

Activists have chosen to become activists – lots haven’t but are still in the dynamic Geographies of danger of otherness- community and culture as explanation. In this paradigm the research starts with these places. But often activists drive into perform activism and drive away Assumptions are being recreated – seek and you will find Stigmatising communities some objects become indicators of extremism- we know what it looks like and where to find it – so they think anti fascist or anti racist- what was the question again? Is it part of this older debate Where is the concern with white middle class attitudes and actions?

Try the implicit association test – see link.

Tiago Neves

This I found really challenging. Tiago completely overturned my assumptions about researching people and asked lots of awkward questions like – are these extremist groups really hard to reach? They are easy to reach them compared to bankers!

Ethnographic work – non intrusive or the most intrusive?

You study people – that’s ugly! To put them under the microscope , intrude in their lives is disturbing. We go into places we don’t know much about and try to make sense of what they do. Maybe we should make sense of out own lives? !Intrusion can cause deception – definition Impression management – the work of successfully staging a character(see Goffman). In ethnography we intentionally create a character in order to pry into people’s lives- that’s the ugly bit ethnography: it can blur the divide between a social encounter and a sociologically useful encounter.

The naturalism of the ethnographer is an artificiality What is reciprocity ? – an illusion? Who reaps the benefits or should we base this relationship on something else? Relational quandary. There are different motivations What can we do – get real – no person is perfect so no researcher is either Get real – there will always be betrayal, hands will get dirty Get ample – write about all our experiences detail context sensitive accounts of ethical matters as they pose themselves in the field.

Emiliano Grimaldi

Positionality symbolic violence and critical ethnography Foucauldian influences Experienced uneasiness- chapter draws on critical moments reflecting this in two research projects. Foucault – power and knowledge are mutually constitutive fieldwork has an inherently political nature – symbolic violence is inherent in fieldwork? Every time we engage – esp with marginalised groups – we exercise symbolic violence. See chapter on symbolic violence. This author gave a worrying account of some researchers’ interview data with Roma groups in Italy. Their responses were counter-indicative to the researchers’ expectations, and the manipulation, constant rephrasing, rewording reiterating on the part of the researchers was blatantly driving at a pre-determined conclusion; the participants were making it very difficult for them to arrive at it. A lesson in interviewing.

Stephen Locke

This was the least helpful presentation for me – it was lacking a bit of coherence, although it was on an interesting question of giving a face to those we study. Should we be protecting identity or giving a voice? What are the barriers to making visible those who are invisible, and how seriously do we take this ethical question – does protecting identity deny voice and agency to some respondents?

Questioning the IRB ethics boards:

Institutional control of knowledge/ legalistic nature of IRB/ conflicting ideas of informed consent: these are represented differently in north south divide between USA and South America. As an illustration of this in reviewing ethics guidelines, the US took 130 pages to explain their guidelines compared to 13 pages for Costa Rica and they were mostly concerned with science.

Am I more or less ethical after this?
This symposium has extended my knowledge and interest in ethnographic approaches, and certainly raised some very probing ethical questions . My area of research interest is teacher professional learning. I’m not sure how easy or relevant ethnographic approaches are to this subject area, but the ethical questions raised here are valid for any methodology involving people.

Follow-up:

Goffman,
Gold’s typology of participant observation 1958
RossDeuchar
Hammersley on ethical absolutism.


Researching Marginalised Groups Symposium⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

It’s been a while since my last post – embarrassingly long. Full time work and a hefty commute have eaten up any available time I had to do this, but in trying to sort out my notes from some recent conferences, I took the plunge and got back on the blog-wagon. This might be interesting if you are working with either ethnographic approaches or marginalised/marginalising groups. It was a cracking day for me – lovely people and great discussions.

This symposium gave me an opportunity to find out more about ethnographic methodologies and about research project that had take place in the SoE. The following scholars gave accounts of their chapter in a recent co-authored book of the same title.

Marginalised and silenced voices were surfaced. Extremist groups also considered within this definition as they are ones who marginalise and we need to understand what they do and how the operate as well.

Kalwant Bhophal raised pertinent methodological questions: no matter who we are we affect the groups we research (her area of research interest is travellers and Roma communities).

How have we used the respondents?
have we unconsciously exploited them?
How do we affect the communities?
Our subjectivity affects our research

Research should always make a difference even if. It’s small.

Ethics – compromises are sometimes necessary. Discourse is often nebulous . Needs to be more transparent – duty to respondents, university, disciple.

ACCESS- problematics rapport an trust are key.

Openness and recognition of the right time to stop when dealing with students  are essential!.

Member checking –  giving transcripts back to respondents to check is an important part of trust building process – before data is analysed or used. This is important esp with marginalised groups.  Reflexivity and positionality – power is dynamic, not static: it will change throughout  the research process.

Gavin Bailey: Research Associate, University of Leicester

Interested in the ones who do the marginalising – the extremist groups within working class communities. Are hard to reach groups really hard to reach or are the just hard to hear?

Researches extremism in a community context.

What happens if the residents assoc happens to be run by BNP ACTIVISTS?

Extremism and how it is conceptualised in research Community as a key analytical object.

Stereotypes are dominant representation of these extremist group- see Jeremy Paxman griffiths interview: the way demonstrationss are represented in media is always as confrontational.

Being on Paxman – this is not being marginalised , this is mainstream media- doing the marginalising. The doer and the subject – needs to b broken down a bit.

GB’s study avoided the public representation and focused on what they do in their day jobs the extremist groups are the unit of analysis . Beware the focus on the spectacular groups- counter terrorists focusing on different groups who actually do violence Are they unreformable? Is that why they are ignored?

Activists have chosen to become activists – lots haven’t but are still in the dynamic Geographies of danger of otherness- community and culture as explanation. In this paradigm the research starts with these places. But often activists drive into perform activism and drive away Assumptions are being recreated – seek and you will find Stigmatising communities some objects become indicators of extremism- we know what it looks like and where to find it – so they think anti fascist or anti racist- what was the question again? Is it part of this older debate Where is the concern with white middle class attitudes and actions?

Try the implicit association test – see link.

Tiago Neves

This I found really challenging. Tiago completely overturned my assumptions about researching people and asked lots of awkward questions like – are these extremist groups really hard to reach? They are easy to reach them compared to bankers!

Ethnographic work – non intrusive or the most intrusive?

You study people – that’s ugly! To put them under the microscope , intrude in their lives is disturbing. We go into places we don’t know much about and try to make sense of what they do. Maybe we should make sense of out own lives? !Intrusion can cause deception – definition Impression management – the work of successfully staging a character(see Goffman). In ethnography we intentionally create a character in order to pry into people’s lives- that’s the ugly bit ethnography: it can blur the divide between a social encounter and a sociologically useful encounter.

The naturalism of the ethnographer is an artificiality What is reciprocity ? – an illusion? Who reaps the benefits or should we base this relationship on something else? Relational quandary. There are different motivations What can we do – get real – no person is perfect so no researcher is either Get real – there will always be betrayal, hands will get dirty Get ample – write about all our experiences detail context sensitive accounts of ethical matters as they pose themselves in the field.

Emiliano Grimaldi

Positionality symbolic violence and critical ethnography Foucauldian influences Experienced uneasiness- chapter draws on critical moments reflecting this in two research projects. Foucault – power and knowledge are mutually constitutive fieldwork has an inherently political nature – symbolic violence is inherent in fieldwork? Every time we engage – esp with marginalised groups – we exercise symbolic violence. See chapter on symbolic violence. This author gave a worrying account of some researchers’ interview data with Roma groups in Italy. Their responses were counter-indicative to the researchers’ expectations, and the manipulation, constant rephrasing, rewording reiterating on the part of the researchers was blatantly driving at a pre-determined conclusion; the participants were making it very difficult for them to arrive at it. A lesson in interviewing.

Stephen Locke

This was the least helpful presentation for me – it was lacking a bit of coherence, although it was on an interesting question of giving a face to those we study. Should we be protecting identity or giving a voice? What are the barriers to making visible those who are invisible, and how seriously do we take this ethical question – does protecting identity deny voice and agency to some respondents?

Questioning the IRB ethics boards:

Institutional control of knowledge/ legalistic nature of IRB/ conflicting ideas of informed consent: these are represented differently in north south divide between USA and South America. As an illustration of this in reviewing ethics guidelines, the US took 130 pages to explain their guidelines compared to 13 pages for Costa Rica and they were mostly concerned with science.

Am I more or less ethical after this?
This symposium has extended my knowledge and interest in ethnographic approaches, and certainly raised some very probing ethical questions . My area of research interest is teacher professional learning. I’m not sure how easy or relevant ethnographic approaches are to this subject area, but the ethical questions raised here are valid for any methodology involving people.

Follow-up:

Goffman,
Gold’s typology of participant observation 1958
RossDeuchar
Hammersley on ethical absolutism.


SERA poverty and education network meeting 16th June 2015⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

Emporium-ezine-bannerApr15

SERA joined forces with the College Development Network and Scotland’s colleges to take part in the Emporium of Dangerous Ideas (#DangerousEd) – an annual ideas-fest full of interesting and creative change-orientated dangerous ideas, conversations and gatherings by and for educators across all sectors and agencies. This event was a sell out and was hosted at Scotland’s Colleges HQ in Stirling – a fine venue with easy parking, nice welcome and great lunch!

The  network is one of several facilitated by SERA and has been on the go since 2014. Today’s event was called Research as if Education Mattered. And Education as if Research Mattered. There was unsurprisingly a heavy bias towards the college sector among participants, and other  representation from CLD, EIS, GTCS, four universities, two local authorities Education Scotland and one youth organisation. The format was quick and snappy – using the Petcha Kucha format. I think this makes people talk very fast and the continuous rolling slideshow can be distracting when it adheres to the 4s per slide limit and gets out of synch with what presenters are saying. I prefer teachmeet format with no powerpoint  and 2 or 7 minute presentations, but it certainly is great for keeping things moving along.

The presentations were varied and each addressed different aspects of the impact of poverty in education. Highlights for me were Alistair Wilson of Strathclyde University talking about his study of mentoring young people in areas of high deprivation to support widening access to universities. Findings suggest young people’s social networks play a big part in improving access for them, and mentors can help to build their social capital to help them develop their social networks. This is maybe obvious but providing the mentoring is the key here and that’s what this project did. If you go to  fee-paying schools you get  advice like this , dedicated tutors to help you with your personal statement alone as well as all the benefits your social and cultural capital will bring you. Little surprise then that without such support there hasn’t been one young person emerge from one named north-east Glasgow secondary school to become a doctor in over 30 years. This school will no doubt be just as teeming with intelligent and capable young people  as many others- what an indictment of inequity in our system and Alistair reckons it will be exactly the same in another 30 years unless we do something to change it.

Other interesting data were shared by the CELCIS team on the difficulties and vulnerabilities of looked after children and approaches to helping their attainment by participative approaches; Stuart Hall  from his Families First in Renfrewshire project and  Stephen McKinney spoke about global issues concerning poverty and education – forcibly displaced children; the fine lines between children’s work, child labour and slavery and the invisible spectre of human trafficking.

All of this demonstrated the persistence and pervasiveness of poverty in education and that we actually have a wealth of data on this issue. Collaborative working across agencies and different sectors via networks such as this one will provide a way to make sense of this data and communicate some approaches towards tackling it – but  I’m left pondering as usual that it’s not just up to schools, teachers and other educators to solve this problem, and are more studies the answer?


Seminar series: Professor Peter Mayo 28/3/2014⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

We had a guest speaker at the latest in our research seminar series.  Professor Peter Mayo is Head of Education at the University of Malta and he was talking about his latest book, The Politics of Indignation. This talk was concerned with one specific chapter in the book on migration in southern Europe.  Critical pedagogy, sociology of education and social theory feature as his research interests.

It was clear from the beginning that we would be presented with a radical perspective on what is an utterly desperate situation.  Professor Mayo opened with a shocking statistic: 20 000 migrants have drowned in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to southern Europe in the last 20 years. That’s 1000 bodies per year. And these are the ones who had survived war, rape, the desert, the journey to the coast. It couldn’t really be any further from the idealised image of the Med more commonly suggested in the media, and also perhaps reflected in many people’s holiday experiences or aspirations.  I have been aware of reports of dead refugees washed up on southern Italian beaches and , and have read Partir, a moving, tragic but excellent fictionalised account by Moroccan author Tahar Ben Jelloun of a migrant’s attempt to cross the Straits of Gibraltar. This isn’t mainstream fiction however, (not available in translation into English) and the aforementioned reports aren’t commonplace in the UK.

The migration debate is topical. It’s a policy which is supported by the SNP, but hasn’t really surfaced as a major feature of their independence campaign yet. Maybe it never will. The arguments to support it are usually economic. Migrants are trafficked as human commodities in order to provide a cheap and necessary source of labour in a globalised economy.  Colonialism alone is not to blame for the wretchedness suffered by these people in their quest to find the better life in the promised land of their colonial power.  The problem is they too often find the Promised Land has closed its doors to them; the discourses of security treat them as criminals and rob them of their dignity, their possessions and even their freedom to express themselves in direct defiance of the Geneva Convention. Political intransigence inside Europe on this issue has created a value system which prioritises security over human life and the perversity of globalisation has made both a necessity and an object of loathing out of the migrant among some (perhaps working class) communities – divide and rule.

The discussion opened up into a broader treatment of activism and groundswell movements, and neo-liberalism in higher education and how globalisation is working to marginalise radicalism and social justice in research and recruitment.   It was a fascinating session, and a real pleasure to meet Professor Mayo. He was hopeful that in Scotland we have values in our education system which might mitigate the appalling racism he described. Whether we do or not, we certainly have a responsibility to ensure that inter-ethnicity is developed in a positive way.

There are some signs of hope. One of them for me is the fantastic work done by a close friend of mine, Maggie Lennon in the Bridges Programmes she set up and manages. Bridges find employment and education opportunities for refugees and asylum seekers. It has many successes to boast of and should be celebrated as a shining example of social entrepreneurship working for justice and integration. There is so much scope for educators to learn from this project, and maybe vice-versa.  There’s also a massive need for more programmes like Bridges if migrants are to be considered as more than economic commodities in Scotland, and elsewhere.

 


The ILiAD study: Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

This is a big 3 year study taking place in Northern Ireland, under the direction of Professor Ruth Leitch which has government funding. Prof Leitch came along to give a seminar today to the School of Education at Stirling University, and what she had to say was revealing, fascinating and also in places quite astonishing. Having set out the post-peace agreement context, and the divisive  system  they are working within, she went  on to explain  7 case studies which seemed to arise out of a preliminary survey mapping achievement against deprivation. A scattergraph showed that although there was a strong correlation between low achievement and high deprivation,  interestingly there were also a few outliers; anomalous cases which will be the main focus of this study.

The 7 case studies were drawn from this group. These studies represented wards of the province and data have been gathered to map out school populations, reflecting choice, attainment, distance travelled to schools etc. Although the focus of the study is deprivation and achievement, much of what was discussed last night centred on social issues of community ties and community leadership; loyalties; bonding and social organisation; sense of entitlement; values and the legacy of conflict, and systemically supported division.  The analysis will be framed through Boudieusian concepts of  social capital and reproduction, which seems appropriate, but I also wondered if there wasn’t a role for habitus to play there as well,  given the beliefs, pre-dispositions  assumptions and  ”bodily incorporations of social history” (Bourdieu 1990, p116) that seem to feature so prominently in this very complex field.

At first I thought that there might be a connection with the work of the Robert Owen Centre I mentioned last week. There obviously will be, but the complexities at work beneath the surface of the poverty-achievement connection which have been highlighted in this study show that it is by no means an apparently simple equation, and how much work needs to be done to get close to understanding this complex and enduring problem.

(Bourdieu, P: The Logic of Practice. Stanford CA, Stanford University Press)

PS – just learned that you can follow the project on twitter