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ERIC Number: EJ903521
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 66
ISSN: ISSN-0077-5762
Educational Research as a Reflexive Science of Constitution
Packer, Martin
Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, v109 n1 p17-33 2010
"Constitution" is a relationship of mutual formation between people and their form of life. Neither can exist without the other. In the 1970s, proposals were made in various social sciences, including anthropology, political science, and sociology, for a new kind of inquiry that would focus squarely on constitution. It would be an explicitly interpretive kind of investigation, based on immersion of the researcher in the form of life to be studied, and would avoid the dualisms that had plagued social science in the past. These proposals were influential, but in retrospect they had several limitations. One limitation was the absence of a coherent conception of constitution. A second was a naivete about ethnographic fieldwork and its interpretive or hermeneutic aspect, especially a failure to fully grasp both the character of the ethnographer's involvement in the field and the limits to what that involvement provides. In this chapter, the author describes how constitution is now conceptualized and then explores the consequences for fieldwork, including the best stance for the researcher to adopt. He suggests that educational research ought to pose questions about constitution and that to answer such questions, they will use a methodology that goes beyond both randomized clinical trials and customary qualitative research methods.
Teachers College, Columbia University. 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A