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Authority and ethics: A case for estrangement in educational research and research education

Dowling, P; Whiteman, N; (2020) Authority and ethics: A case for estrangement in educational research and research education. British Educational Research Journal 10.1002/berj.3639. Green open access

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Abstract

This article focuses attention on an underexamined issue in the literature on educational research ethics: how ethical authority is established in educational research. We address this from a perspective that disrupts naturalised approaches to ethics, arguing that rather than seeking ‘rights’ or ‘wrongs’, researchers are always tasked with constructing ethical stances. Attention can then be placed on the array of embodied and objectified resources that might be recruited in establishing these. Through an engagement with published academic accounts of ethical reflection and decision‐making, the article explores the ways that educational researchers achieve or sometimes question their ethical security in respect of their research activity. The analysis we present draws out the referential strategies that constitute ethical subjectivity and maps the diversity of anchoring points that might be recruited in this action. We also draw attention to the process of recontextualisation that is inevitable when one activity (or aspect of an activity) regards another, introducing necessary incoherence into ethical practice. The case we present celebrates rather than seeking to conceal or repair such disruption.

Type: Article
Title: Authority and ethics: A case for estrangement in educational research and research education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/berj.3639
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3639
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2020 The Authors. British Educational Research Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: ethics, recontextualisation, scepticism
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097809
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