, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 139-153
Date: 24 Feb 2013

Presidential Address: Culture and the future of education research

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Abstract

Recent changes in higher education have confronted education research with a conundrum: how our traditionally multidisciplinary field can refine itself as a unified discipline. In this address I sketch out what this conundrum may mean for education research, both substantively and methodologically, in the future. I propose that one starting point is for education researchers to consider what unites rather than divides us. One common, unifying conceptual concern is with the operation of culture/s in educational settings. I use the narratives of two teachers from different places and times to illustrate how culture analysis can be a fruitful tool for understanding the experience and practice of Education. In my conclusion, I extend the theme of culture to education research itself. I suggest that the challenge of disciplinary identity confronting education research requires a culture change in the modus operandi of our practice, and that this will involve an articulated focus on methodological pluralism, interdisciplinarity, and the use of new modes of communication as key unifying elements of the discipline of education research.