Critical ethnography in the VMT project
Epperson, Terrence W.
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The approach of the VMT Project has usually been described as design-based research in the learning sciences. However, it can also be understood as ethnography, using a micro-ethnographic style of interaction analysis to study the construction of social order in the exotic culture of virtual math teams. This chapter reviews the history of critical ethnography (CE) to describe the orientation and concerns of a stream of social science theorizing that seems particularly relevant to the work of the VMT research team. CE adopted the ideas of critical social theory and philosophy from Kant to Habermas. It passed through two distinct generations of thought. After reviewing this history, the chapter focuses on three key phenomena that are characteristic of CE analysis: temporalizing, objectification and intersubjectivity. It then suggests that these phenomena are also significant within the VMT analysis, where they receive detailed analysis of empirical data. The VMT Project can be seen as a productive extension of CE work in a contemporary social setting.
Epperson, T.W. (2009). Critical ethnography in the VMT project. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Studying Virtual Math Teams (pp. 529-553). Boston, MA: Springer.
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