Between traditions: Stephen Ball and the critical sociology of education
Stephen Ball's work has deservedly received a good deal of attention. In this article, I detail a number of tasks in which the critical sociologist of education – as a 'public intellectual' – should engage. I then place Ball's work within these tasks and evaluate his contributions to them. In the process, I show that one of the things that set Stephen Ball apart from many others is his insistence that both structural and poststructural theories and analyses are necessary for 'bearing witness' and for an adequate critical understanding of educational realities. I demonstrate how he creatively employs both sets of traditions. At the same time as I am very positive in my evaluation of his contributions, I suggest a number of issues that Ball and those who are rightly influenced by his work could productively deal with to go further into the complexities of the relationship between education and the politics of redistribution and recognition.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 November 2013
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- Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.
Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.
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