Peter's positions: a diffractive analysis of authority in a year one classroom

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This article presents an ethnography of the entanglement of space, learning and teaching bodies and pedagogical authority in a primary school in Germany. We focus on the spatial placement of a boy diagnosed with ‘special needs’. Inspired by Carol Taylor’s analysis of a male teacher’s authority at a college. we describe the boy’s changeable seating position first with de Certeau’s spatial understanding of power relations and then with Barad’s agential realism. By conducting this ‘diffractive’ analysis of his performances, we can show how he is subjected to the teacher’s authority and has a remarkable authoritative power himself at the same time. Finally, by focussing on the relationship between the researcher and the boy, we discuss the process of data gathering as it is entangled with the interpretation of data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnography and Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)475-490
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 02.10.2021

    Research areas

  • Agential realism, bodies and space, diffractive approach, posthuman performativity, pedagogical authority
  • Educational science