- 教育社会学研究 (ISSN:03873145)
- vol.74, pp.39-57, 2004-05-20 (Released:2011-03-18)
This paper examines the importance of ethnography using the theory of constructionism, especially toward the understanding and improvement of educationalproblems. Conventionally, ethnography involved the researcher understandinga fact subjectively, and the method of applying an analytic diagram andunderstanding. Both methods adopted the ontological perspective of observationand investigation. However, researchers can learn facts interpreted by thepeople of a community and through the stories that they retell. This method iscalled the ethnography of constructionism. The characteristic of this method isthat it is not concerned over whether something is a fact or not, but rather triesto grasp correctly what people of the local place tell. In other words, theinvestigation is the ethnography of a tale, and since the aim of investigation isto discover facts, the task becomes understanding a tale. The researcher is apartner in a dialog, and the research serves as the practice of the dialog.Is there no method to employ such ethnography effectively? Until now, research following the principle of construction has analyzed public discourseusing public records. However, the ethnography of trouble has recently beenpresented. Trouble indicates problems for the people of the local place, or thingsthat are topics for them. For example, students and teachers understand thatthere are problems in schools today. How do they cope with these troubles inschool education? When teachers and students are interviewed, their understandingsdiffer depending on their positions. In particular, it is easy for those inpositions of power to spread understanding on educational problems in a waythat are beneficial to them.While those with a strong position can express a strong dominant narrativewhich creates trust in people, the narrative of those in a weak position is rarelyheard by many people. The former is a dominant narrative and the latter is analternative narrative. This relation is called the politics of a narrative. The taskof the researcher is to listen carefully to the tale of those in a weak position, compile the tale, and transmit it to many people through a report. In this way, the researcher adjusts the dynamics of the narrative. This perspective ofresearch practice is called “polyvocality.”As a case study, the features of the narrative of a dropout student and otherstudents are analyzed, and compared with those of the teacher's narrative. Suchresearch uses the ethnography of constructionism and is considered to be a “clinical method”.