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Strategic Uncertainties: Ethics, Politics and Risk in Contemporary Educational Research

By Phyllida Coombes, Mike Danaher, Patrick Alan Danaher



Contemporary educational researchers encounter all kinds of ethical and political dilemmas and tensions in conducting research in postmodern contents. In doing so, they must engage with research as 'risky business', and they must enact strategies that will maximize benefits and minimize harm arising from their projects.

The chapters in this book elaborate the author' respective and multiple efforts to embrace these challenges. Each chapter takes up in different ways the idea of Ian Stronach and Maggie MacLure (1997) that research is full of 'strategic uncertainties' that create opportunities to question, disrupt and transform existing experiences of marginalization. One chapter is about Japanese and Norwegian whaling, one about research with English Gypsies and one about Venezuelan fairground people; other chapters depict research about Australian education. All the chapters demonstrate the international relevance of their research.

The 14 chapters are divided into four sections:

  • Research language and literacies
  • Research collaborations
  • Researching environments and spaces
  • Researching technologies

Strategic Uncertainties contains theoretically framed and methodologically rigorous reflections on many of the ethic and political risks in educational research in the early 21st century, as well as practical strategies for engaging with those risks.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables



Jeanne McConachie


Ian Stronach and Maggie MacLure

Editorial Introduction

Phyllida Coombes, Mike Danaher and Patrick Alan Danaher

Section One: Researching Language and Literacies

Edited by Patrick Alan Danaher

  • Section One Section Introduction

Patrick Alan Danaher

  • Chapter One: (De)Constructing Educational Risk: A Discursive and Ecological Approach to Research

Robyn Rowan

  • Chapter Two: Research Is Not a Dirty Word: The Risks Involved in Trying to Overcome the Teacher/Theorist Divide

Jenny McDougall

  • Chapter Three: Ethical and Political Dimensions of Strategic Risk-Taking in Research

R. E. (Bobby) Harreveld

  • Chapter Four: Developing a Critical Writing Course: A Risky Business

Sue McIntosh

  • Chapter Five: Freedom to Live: The Ethical Responsibilities of Researching a Hero.s Journey

Jenny Simpson

Section Two: Research Collaborations

Edited by Mike Danaher

  • Section Two Section Introduction

Mike Danaher

  • Chapter Six: The Risks and Realities of Researching Relationships: A Case of Collegiality

Lucy Jarzabkowski

  • Chapter Seven: Doing Research with Teachers, Parents and Students: The Ethics and Politics of Collaborative Research

Carmen Mills and Trevor Gale

Section Three: Researching Environments and Spaces

Edited by Phyllida Coombes

  • Section Three Section Introduction

Phyllida Coombes

  • Chapter Eight: (En)Gendering Risk: Reflecting on Risks and Dilemmas When Researching Academic Women in a Hostile Terrain

Teresa Moore

  • Chapter Nine: Moralising Risky Environments: The Ethical and Political Nature of Environmental Education Research

Mike Danaher

  • Chapter Ten: Navigating Without Fixed Points: The Perils of Open Ended Research

Martin Levinson

  • Chapter Eleven: Inter-systemic Research and Collaboration: Ethical and Political Dimensions and Elements of Risk Among Cooperative Communities

Beverley Moriarty

  • Chapter Twelve: Mobilising Spatial Risks: Reflections on Researching Venezuelan and Australian Fairground People.s Educational Experiences

Emilio A. Anteliz, Geoff Danaher and Patrick Alan Danaher

Section Four: Researching Technologies

Edited by Mike Danaher

  • Section Four Section Introduction

Mike Danaher

  • Chapter Thirteen: No More Bricks in the Wall: Researching Postmodernism, post-Literacy and Education

Bernadette Walker-Gibbs

  • Chapter Fourteen: Technological Agents?: Exploring the Ethics, Risks and Politics of Researching Non-human Actants

Jo Luck

Respondent.s Conclusion: Cui Bono?

Máirín Kenny

Notes on Contributors


Mike Danaher


Strategic Uncertainties: Ethics, Politics and Risk in Contemporary Educational Research

Published: 2004
Pages: xiv+210
Post Pressed

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