Ethnography and education
 Researching education policy:
Ethnographic experiences

Geoff Troman, Bob Jeffrey and Dennis Beach

This book draws on the work of three experienced ethnographers who have studied the effects of education policy on teachers’ work in the United Kingdom and Sweden. The book traces some of the issues and experiences in the development of ethnographic projects examining policy developments—from planning, through analysis and writing, to outcomes as methodological articles.

Ethnographic research into teachers’ work seeks to understand educational and social change. As in other European countries, the UK education system has undergone massive restructuring since the late 1970s, with proliferating neo-liberal modes of regulation. Policy has had teachers as its focus for change, recently redefining and reworking teachers and teaching. There is a crucial role for an ethnographic case study approach to complement analyses of official educational policy. In general, the experiences, perspectives and emotions of the actors who implement policy, and the social, cultural, political, economic and emotional contexts in which they do so has been neglected. The ethnographic method is well placed to study these areas of social life since it investigates the perspectives and behaviours of people within, in this case, education cultures. It charts the daily lived experience and impact of policy on educational subjects.


  • Introduction
  • Section I—Policy and the ethnographic process
    • No entry signs: educational change and some problems encountered in negotiating entry to educational settings. Geoff Troman
    • Time for ethnography, Bob Jeffrey and Geoff Troman
    • Researching primary teachers’ work: Examining policy and practice through interactionist ethnography, Geoff Troman
  • Section II—Policy, representation and dissemination
    • How to ‘describe’ ethnographic research sites, Bob Jeffrey
    • The deceptive imagination and ethnographic writing, Dennis Beach
    • Artistic representation and research writing, Dennis Beach
    • Tales from the interface: Disseminating ethnography for policy making, Geoff Troman
  • References


Geoff Troman, Reader in Education Policy, Froebel College, School of Education, Roehampton University.

Bob Jeffrey, Research Fellow, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, Open University.

Dennis  Beach, Professor, Institute of Education, University College Borås.
ISBN 1872767621                                  160 pp                                                    £10.95
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