Exorcising an ethnography in limbo

Vigurs, Katy (2019) Exorcising an ethnography in limbo. In: The Lost Ethnographies: Methodological Insights from Projects that Never Were. Emerald. ISBN 9781787147744

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Abstract

I feel haunted; troubled by the ethnography that I conducted some years ago of a new partnership group that was attempting to set up a community learning centre. I’m aware that it doesn’t sound like a particularly alarming research topic, and perhaps that is where some of the issues began. I did not expect an ethnographic haunting to occur. The partnership recruited me less than a year into the creation of the project and I spent two years as a sort of ‘researcher in residence’. The original idea was that I would observe the initial development of the project and then, when the community learning centre was established, I would research the centre’s activities and how they were experienced by village residents. However, fairly soon into the project, problematic dynamics developed within the group, leading to irreconcilable conflict between members. The community learning centre was never established and I was left to piece together an ethnography of a failed partnership. Researching an increasingly dysfunctional partnership was an emotionally exhausting activity, especially when relationships between members became progressively hostile. Managing data collection and analysis at this time was difficult, but I was shocked that, a number of months (and now years) later, revisiting the data for publication purposes remained uncomfortable. I managed to produce my PhD thesis on the back of this study, but I have not felt able to go back to the data, despite there being findings worthy of publication. This ethnography is in a state of limbo and is at risk of becoming lost forever. In this chapter, I explore the reasons for this and discuss lessons learned for future projects.

Item Type: Book Section
Date: 7 January 2019
Subjects: X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE) > Re-thinking Practitioner Education and Professional Practice
REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Depositing User: Katy Vigurs
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 11:37
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2020 10:25
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7921

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