Exploring Educational Research as a Multilayered Discursive Space
Stijn Mus addresses ‘Exploring Educational Research as a Multilayered Discursive Space’ (Chap. 9). In this chapter, a spatial metaphor to describe the pursuit of educational research is explored. During the last decades, all the possible candidates to safeguard the legitimacy of meaning in qualitative educational research—from scientific detachment to subjective agency—have come under pressure. What was shared by many of these orientations was a firm belief in empiricism and realist aesthetics to grasp the true nature of its object. A possible way out of this impasse might be to focus on the discourse itself and pay closer attention to the way realist aesthetics functions. Therefore, the chosen angle here is to focus back from the reality behind the text to the operative dimension of the text itself. Different levels of meaning, operative as different registers are identified, before exploring the ways in which their tropes influence one another. This will allow to appreciate how scientific conventions itself function as rhetorical codes to construct meaning. Starting from the fact that the text itself is performative for the emerging meaning, it is argued that educational research could be conceived as a cultural discussion, which engages in the construction of possible meanings and provides them an intersubjective—that is, a shared, public—character by gaining them legitimacy and recognition on the cultural forum. As such, qualitative research is caught in a permanent cycle of feedback loops between cultural description and cultural performance. From this follows the epistemic priority of the imagination over empiricism to bridge the seemingly natural and the not yet conceivable.
KeywordsQualitative Research Educational Research Subject Position Realist Mode Spatial Metaphor
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