This book is a synoptic survey of fifty years of ethnography in formal and informal educational settings. Uniquely, it pulls together the core findings from both the anthropology and the sociology of education, drawing on international research to explore a range of themes, from movement and mobilities to the body, identity, time and space.

Conclusions: Through the Roiling Smoke

Conclusions: Through the Roiling Smoke

Conclusions: Through the roiling smoke

The chapter subtitle comes from James Lee Burke's conclusion to his novel In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead (1995: 344). Burke's hero, who has been troubled by ghosts of Confederate soldiers from the American civil war era throughout the story, sees, through ‘the roiling smoke’ the ‘weary’ yet still gallant combatants for whom ‘the contest is never quite over’, because ‘the field [is] never quite ours’. I write this conclusion with a strong sense that the contest is not over, the field is not mine, and roiling smoke obscures important fundamental issues. Writing from the UK, but paying attention to the much larger landscape of ethnographic educational research in North America, I often ...

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