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ERIC Number: EJ820171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jul
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-0962-0214
Theorising the Mundane: The Significance of Agency
Clegg, Sue
International Studies in Sociology of Education, v15 n2 p149-164 Jul 2005
In this article I argue that qualitative research that focuses attention on how change is being understood and experienced on the ground can contribute to broader theoretical insights. In recent research I have been exploring how lecturers apply their understandings of learning outcomes and personal development planning. At one level, these practices are mundane, yet they are subject to increased regulation, policy debate and scrutiny. In understanding macro-level changes, as well as deconstructing policy rhetoric, we need theoretical work that pays attention to the exercise of agency at the micro-level. The article presents a critical realist analysis of the significance of agency as developed by Margaret Archer. The argument for the importance of detailed analysis of mundane practices is then elaborated in the analysis of specific examples. The conclusions are not based on privileging a particular method. Rather, I argue that, in theorising about teaching and learning, and change in higher education, we need a clear focus on agency as the impact of macro-level changes are mediated through the understandings of specific actors, and their creativity and resistance.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A