Power and Method demonstrates that political activism can and should be infused into the research process. Contesting the traditional assumptions that have dominated thinking about the nature and meaning of research--validity, objectivity and the researcher/"subject" relationship--the volume showcases alternative methods, enabling scholars to make a difference in the lives of classed, gendered and raced "subjects" and grapple honestly and openly with the way power is woven into the research process.
Committed to the notion that the challenge to redefine the research process faces not only educational researchers, Power and Method includes contributions from scholars in the allied social sciences and the humanities. Responses from researchers working women's studies, anthropology, sociology and literature conclude each section and highlight common and alternative perspectives on the central themes that run throughout the volume.
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION The Shifting Terrain of Methodological Debates SECTION ONE: PERSPECTIVES ON POWER AND METHOD Feminist, Dis-stance and Other Stances: Negotiations of Power Inside Feminist Research, Fertile Obsession: Validity After Poststructuralism, (Response) When Method Becomes Power, Gay and Lesbian, Queer Relations With Educational Research, On Method and Hope, (Response) Red Ribbons at the Cracker Barrel, Cultural, The Power to Know One Thing Is Never the Power to Know all Things: Methodological Notes on Two Studies of Black American Teachers, Witchcraft and Blessings, Science and Rationality: Discourses of Power and Silence in Collaborative Work with Navajo Schools, (Response) Empowering the Culturally Diversified Sociological Voice, SECTION TWO: POWER AND METHOD IN CONTEXT, Relationships Within Qualitative Research, Alternative Methodologies and the Research Context, Distance and Relation Reconsidered: Tensions in the Ethnographic Text, (Response) Expanding Our Notions of "Critical Qualitative Methodology": Bringing Race, Class, and Gender into the Discussion SECTION THREE: POWER AND METHOD REVISITED Extending Power and Specifying Method Within the Discourse of Activist Research
"... the essays provide a change of perspective that is often needed to understand one's own biases and constraints in the tasks of research." -- Journal of Research on Christian Education
"Power and Method is one of the most powerful books on methods that I have read in a long time. Gitlin has put together a volume which challenges the whole enterprise of research. . . . Gitlin and contributors focus on the ways in which research can be reconceptualized so that it can more powerfully connect with some of our most persistant problems in our schools, particularly those which swirl around social class, race and gender. The volume explodes persistant myths about research and probes carefully into dilemmas surrrounding what it means to move into activist based research. Power and Method needs to be read by anyone connected with research projects in schools." -- Lois Weis, State University of New York at Buffalo
". . . Power and Method is a testimony that we have come a long way in understanding the connections among education, power and research for social transformation. Focusing on contemporary debates about qualitative and quantitative research, the contributors to this book reassert the importance of political activism in educational research. They avoid the essentialist and politically naive dichotomies that abound in educational research which separate education from politics or science from power as if these practices were worlds apart. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Power and Method is an insightful book based on postmodernist and poststructuralist arguments, but it is also an invitation to committment, engagement and struggle for progressive causes. Indeed, it is a very healthy addition to the critical literature in educational research and method, and to the scholarship of class, race and gender in education." -- Carlos Alberto Torres, University of
"Power and Method is a state-of-the-art educational text on the topic of the intersection of current research methodologies and the complex and contradictory institutional and expressive worlds of late-century social actors. Gitlin has managed to pull together an extraordinary cast of fellow travelers who tackle the thorniest questions relating to the issue of identity, represenation, power and ethics in the research site itself. These are issues that are typically banished from the imagination of hegemonic researchers and their corporate and governmental sponsors." -- Cameron McCarthy