Decanonizing the Field
Part IV: The dynamics of ideological production
part iv the dynamics of ideological production · 1 8 · ideology and methodological attitude Patti Lather There is no social practice outside of ideology. —Hall (1985:103) In 1983, Eisner wrote, “for 80 years educational research has been defined largely as a species of educational psychology … in turn … influenced largely by behaviorism” (p. 14). Just five years later, Eisner’s words seem dated: the grip of psychologism on educational theory and practice has been loosened by an explosion that has transformed the landscape of what we do in the name of educational research. This explosion goes by many names: phenomenological, hermeneutic, naturalistic, critical, feminist, neo-Marxist, constructivist. And now, of course, we have the proliferation of “post-conditions”: postpositiv- ism, postmodernism, poststructuralism, post-Marxism, and, my least favorite, postfeminism.1 In spite of so many differences within each of these terms that they are better referred to in the plural, e.g., feminisms, postmodernisms, each questions the basic assumptions of what it means to do science. What we are faced with, in essence, is a transdisciplinary disarray regarding standards and canons where a proliferation of contending paradigms is causing some diffusion of legitimacy and authority (Marcus and Fischer, 1986; Clifford and Marcus, 1986). 366 patti lather As I said at the 1987 AERA conference,2 all of this shifting, all of this de-centering and dis-establishing of fundamental categories, gets dizzying. It is not easy to sort out the seduction of “the glamour of high theory” (Jan Mohamed and Lloyd, 1987:7) from what is useful for those...
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