Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2014 Archive

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Research for making the familiar strange and the strange familiar


27 November 2014

One of the challenges faced by people conducting research into  education policy is how best to manage the tension between increasingly focused and explicit policy interventions that are targeted at specific education sites – including schools or workplaces – and the increasing diffusion of policymaking across agencies at all levels, from individual schools to the OECD and global education publishing houses.

Meaningful research findings require a repertoire of research methodologies that interrogate and analyse the vernacularisation of policy at local sites without overemphasising local agency.

In this session, Lesley Farrell, Professor of Education at the University of Melbourne, will talk about the ways in which she and her colleagues have used institutional ethnography in the Peopling Educational Policy: implementing the Australian Curriculum in Mathematics and English project and how a different team is assessing its use for a project on Australia’s Language and Literacy education policyscape.

Professor Farrell says that the attraction of institutional ethnography is that, although it starts with everyday social practice, it doesn’t end there. It aims to understand the ‘taken for granted’ social relations that coordinate and organise the everyday. It focuses particularly on the role of texts as ‘special coordinators of people’s activities’ (Smith 2005: 66) and the ways in which particular texts connect local and translocal practices, so that local practices become intimately and routinely connected to centralised, external agencies (Farrell 2001).

Event details

Research for making the familiar strange and the strange familiar: institutional ethnography

Where Room 638, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
Education Building A35
Click image for interactive map.


27 November 2014

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