AERC: Institutional Ethnography: A Tool for Interrogating the Institutional and Political Conditions of Individual Experience

Tonette Rocco

Presenters: Ursula Wright & Tonette Rocco
Institutional Ethnography: A Tool for Interrogating the Institutional and Political Conditions of Individual Experience
Personal Story in the context of Institutional Ethnography
Dissertation – Battered Women and experiences at work
“Faces at the bottom of the well” book – Dereck Bell

Incorporating discussion with Bell’s last chapter in the book Space Traders
Discusses how spacemen come down from outer space and trade with the US. They have money and renewable energy sources willing to give US in exchange for African American citizens. Analyzing all the different players of this situation and all different decision points relates to what institutional ethnography is about. You may have one or two sides but this means multi-layer approach

This session came from a dissertation ~
Adult education is embedded in dominant cultures unless marginalized voices are allowed.

Alternative vision for adult education – institutional ethnography – research as social practice.

Dominant ideologies fall short because they are Marginalizing, prescriptive, stigmatizing, limiting, perpetuating. This occurs without even notice that it is being done.

Institutional ethnography
– looks at macro and micro at the SAME time. Looks at interconnected and interrated relationships.
– It is a crticial ethnography
– looks at institutional systems across various sites
– looks at tools between local experience and extra local settings and administration
– way of seeing individual experience within a macrosocial context

Dereck Bell chapter looks at President, then Cabinet, then goes to the anti-trade coalition, corporate leaders who are anti-to the trade, constitutional scholars, Jews been a voice of black civil rites, white supremacist group, and down the list. Look at ruling relations and look at how it feeds to decision making.

Premise of IE
– Individual experiences are organized by larger power relations (ruling relations).
– Ruling relations are viewed as purposeful, organized systematic processes and practices used to manage and control a person’s life outside that person’s knowledge
– The goal is to uncover and actively combat the pwoer relations asking “How does this happen as it does?
– The analysis of power is an important analytic tool

Research Methods of IE
How is the problem identified? Interviews or focus groups serve as a director
How is data used? To co-investigate and understand how activities are coordinated by more than one location or action
How is it different from traditional ethnography? Data is not the topic or object of interest but is the entry point into understanding the ruling relations

Types of Data
Entry Level Data – data related to the local setting and individuals interacting there
Translocal Data – data extending beyond an individual’s account of their experience to include extended social relations

1. Entry into the experience – observe to see more layers and levels, interviews, focus groups.
Gain an understanding of individuals standpoint in order to investigate power on an institutional level

2. Undestanding the experience – mapping, focus groups, document analysis.
Gain an undestanding of how these experiences are shaped by certain actions or processes based onthe individual’s account

3. Undersatnding the connection – mapping, focus groups, document analysis, textual analysis, interviews – Gain an understanding of and establish connections between macro and micro relations and how they are organized to rule-aim is to uncover what the person does not see.

Explicating the Findings
1. Reveal the masked political and social power relations embdded in experience
2. Uncover the texts and textual processes that shape and control people’s lives in unknown ways
3. Provide practical tools to foster change
4. Address the solution on both macro and mirco levels
5. Create a map, diagram or flowchart
6. Conduct and publish a documentary or textual analysis of documents
7. Develop new policies, workshops, create academic research, training for worksite, provide insight to individual, provide resources

How does power moves? Not just in one direction but various directions as well. So maps are important and visualizing this relationship is important

Macro and Micro are continually interconnected

Implications for HRD
1. Tool to uncover limitations of research
2. Examning the impact of social context
3. Tool to uncover marginalizing legislation
4. Tool to address how knowledge is managed and the discourve that frames it
5. Tool to provide adults with knowledge to navigate through systems of power in which they interact with
6. Tool to uncover how ruling relations impact learning and performance

Therefore: Interrogate the institution from all levels to get a clearer big picture

1 comment to AERC: Institutional Ethnography: A Tool for Interrogating the Institutional and Political Conditions of Individual Experience

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