Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Staff

Publication details for Dr Sam Hillyard

Hillyard, S. (2010). Ethnography's capacity to contribute to the cumulation of theory: a case study of differentiation-polarisation theory. Oxford Review of Education 36(6): 767-784.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The paper sets out to examine the role that ethnographic work can and should play in the development of sociological theory, focusing on the case study of differentiation–polarisation theory. It provides a detailed discussion of the work of Hargreaves (196736. Hargreaves , D. 1967 . Social relations in a secondary school , London : Routledge .

CrossRef

View all references), Lacey (197040. Lacey , C. 1970 . Hightown Grammar: the school as a social system , Manchester : Manchester University Press .

View all references) and Ball (198113. Ball , S. 1981 . Beachside Comprehensive. a case‐study of secondary schooling , Cambridge : Cambridge University Press .

View all references) and assesses the degree to which their work was ethnographic in contemporary terms. It argues that the model of theory development they offer does not need to be understood in the manner adopted by Hammersley in his account of their work as a model for theory development and testing in the sociology of education. Rather it requires the ethnographer to be more attuned towards setting and maintaining a theoretical agenda, by (a) being more preoccupied with refining existing or established theoretical ideas and concepts and (b) retaining the capacity for the fieldwork setting to inform and direct the study.

Contact Details

Institute of Advanced Study
Durham University
Cosin's Hall
Palace Green
Durham 
DH1 3RL
Telephone: +44 (0)191 334 2589
Email: enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk