1st Edition

Theory and Educational Research Toward Critical Social Explanation

By Jean Anyon Copyright 2009
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    216 Pages
    by Routledge

    Most empirical researchers avoid the use of theory in their studies, providing data but little or no social explanation. Theoreticians, on the other hand, rarely test their ideas with empirical projects. As this groundbreaking volume makes clear, however, neither data nor theory alone is adequate to the task of social explanation—rather they form and inform each other as the inquiry process unfolds. Theory and Educational Research bridges the age-old theory/research divide by demonstrating how researchers can use critical social theory to determine appropriate empirical research strategies, and extend the analytical, critical – and sometimes emancipatory – power of data gathering and interpretation.

    Each chapter models a theoretically informed empiricism that places the data research yields in constant conversation with theoretical arsenals of powerful concepts. Personal reflections following each chapter chronicle the contributors’ trajectories of struggle and triumph utilizing theory and its powers in research. In the end this rich collection teaches education scholars how to deliberately engage with critical social theory in research to produce work that is simultaneously theoretically inspired, politically engaged, and empirically evocative.

    Introduction: Critical Social Theory, Educational Research, and Intellectual Agency, Jean Anyon

    Part I – Theory and Explanatory Analysis

    1. Critical Social Theory and the Study of Urban School Discipline: The Culture of Control in a Bronx High School, Kathleen Nolan

    Personal Reflection

    2. Theorizing Student Poetry as Resistance to School-based Surveillance: Not Any Theory Will Do, Jen Weiss

    Personal Reflection

    3. Theorizing Redistribution and Recognition in Urban Educational Research: ‘How Do We Get Dictionaries at Cleveland?’ Michael J. Dumas

    Personal Reflection

    Part II – Theorizing with Research Participants

    4. Theorizing Back: An Approach to Participatory Policy Analysis, Eve Tuck

    Personal Reflection

    5. Low-income Latina Parents, School Choice, and Pierre Bourdieu, Madeline Perez

    Personal Reflection

    6. Queer Theory and Teen Sexuality: Unclear Lines, Darla Linville

    Personal Reflection

    Epilogue, Michelle Fine


    Jean Anyon is Professor of Social and Educational Policy in the Urban Education Doctoral Program at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

    "This volume scrubs the mystique off social theories, making them accessible and even agreeable to a much wider audience, thus opening up immeasurable opportunities for future creative application. As instructor and students, we could not recommend this book more highly."--International Journal of Qualititative Studies in Education 2009

    "This has been a valuable book for me, and I recommend it to anyone considering using social theory in their research, particularly doctoral students."--Joseph A. Maxwell, Education Review, January 2010