A Conversation with the Research of John Smyth
This book is the culmination of a longstanding relationship founded on a commit- ment to creating a more humane, democratic and socially just school. The ideas driving this intellectual labour and enduring friendship originated about twenty- five years ago and continues today in various collaborative research projects, publi- cations, conferences, and workshops across three Australian states. The fact that a book of this nature can be written in an era of rampant individualism, competition and commodification of academic labour is testimony to the enduring passion, doggedness and scholarship championed so adeptly by John Smyth. This book is, therefore, a rare opportunity for us to come together and reflexively describe our experience of ‘doing’ critical educational research in uncertain times. We hope the book can serve as a useful resource in terms of ideas and inspiration for students, practitioners and colleagues wanting to pursue a critical research agenda in their own schools and communities. Above all, we hope it will inspire a spirit of ‘intel- lectual rebellion’ (Thomas, 1993) and ‘playfulness of mind’ (Mills, 1971) among educational researchers as an antidote to virulent forms of positivist research cur- rently holding sway in official circles. At the outset, we are pretty clear about what we don’t want to do. We are loath to write yet another text on ‘how-to-do’ research. We believe critical research is xiv | doing critical educational research far too complex and sophisticated to slavishly follow some kind of ‘methods fetish’ (Bartolome, 1994) or checklist of instructions. Instead, we attempt...
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