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Qual II 2016--Week 2

Recap Macrosocial frameworks, Apple, Welles, Intro Phenomenology

Jerry Rosiek

on 20 January 2016

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Transcript of Qual II 2016--Week 2

Qualitative Research Methodology II: Critical and Post-critical Inquiry
Check-In: if you were to collect something...
Ideology--introuce the idea
Recap: theoretical frameworks
Recap: macrosocial frameworks
Discuss Bowels and Gintis or Hansen
Discuss Apple
First prospectus assignment discussion
Intro next week's readings
Gots and needs
Theoretical Framework
Unit of Analysis
and Data Sources
Method of
Data Analysis
Mode of Representation
Marxism & Critical Theory
Macrosocial Dynamics
Ideological Analysis:
Identify Contradictions that Sustain Structural Inequality
Third person descriptive prose
Inform Struggle for Economic Justice
Marxist Sociology
Qualitative Research
Theoretical frameworks with a Macrosocial Unit of Analysis
Marxism/Critical Theory
Why talk about
theoretical frameworks?
Michael Apple
Curriculum and the Labor Process: The Logic of Technical Control
Apple begins the essay with a general overview of the modes of social control exerted in a capitalist social-cultural-economic system. He identifies three modes of control:
direct control
technical control
bureaucratic control
The latter two are more recent developments in capitalist societies, and are more sophisticated means of controlling the products of labor.
Apple focuses on "technical control" and outlines how labor gets deskilled and then re-skilled so that it costs less and is more malleable and controllable by employers. This process, which used to be applied only to blue-collar professions is increasingly being applied to those in the managerial class. In this case, Apple is looking at the work of teachers.
The deskilling of teaching has impacts on the curriculum students receive. In fact Apple argues that the emerging system of technical control of the work of teaching is producing a certain kind of student subjectivity--one where technical competence is replacing ethical and political bonds as the basis of community.
Apple highlights possible modes of resistance at the close of his essay. He is not optimistic, but he adheres to the Marxist observation that ideologies that sustain capitalism always involve contradictions, which can be sites of subversion and resistance.
Small Group Discussion Questions
Have you ever experienced a form of technical control in your life? Why might it be difficult to know for sure, according to Apple?

Apple says he is focused in this essay not on the content, but on the form, of curriculum. What does he mean by that? How is the form related to the content?

What is the relation to the form curriculum takes in the new educational improvement movements and the larger economic structure? Is it simply that some companies want to sell curriculum packages and textbooks? Or is there more going on (according to apple)?
Ideology... is indispensable in any society if men are to be formed, transformed and equipped to respond to the demands of their conditions of existence.

Louis Althusser
. . . ideology has to do with legitimating the power of a dominant social group or class....The process of legitimation would seem to involve at least six different strategies.
A dominant power may legitimate itself by promoting beliefs and values congenial to it
naturalizing and universalizing such beliefs so as to render them self-evident and apparently inevitable
denigrating ideas which might challenge it;
excluding rival forms of thought...
and obscuring social reality in ways convenient to itself.
Such ‘mystification,’... frequently takes the form of masking or suppressing social conflicts, from which arises the conception of
ideology as an imaginary resolution of real contradictions
. In any actual ideological formation, all six of these strategies are likely to interact in complex ways.
Terry Eagleton
Ideology is a system of thought that is structured in such a way that is distracts people from the causes of their own suffering and oppression.

individualist ideologies
bourgeois social science
celebrating recreation and entertainment as "escape"

Real science, according to this view, requires a critical interrogation of the ideological influences on a study's design and focus. This self-interrogation is called REFLEXIVITY.
Bowles & Gintis
small group discussion
What ideology is distorting the profession of teaching/counseling?
How is it distorting it?
What contradictions do they identify that illustrates that the prevailing view is an ideology and not "the truth"?
Prospectus Assignment
You will write two research prospectuses (prospecti?) One for a critical theory informed study and one for a post-critical or poststructural theory informed study.

This assignment involves five elements.

An introduction of the research topic that ends by identifying a research question.
A brief indication of the theoretical framework being used and why you chose it.
An indication of the unit of analysis and data sources for the study.
An indication of the method of analysis for the study.
A brief description of the style and organization of the writing.
What you hope to achieve with the study--identify primary audience, what you hope to convince them of, and what they will do with that information/understanding.

A Critical Theory study should:

identify a form of macrosocial oppression that is reproduced in schools, counseling, or other settings.
identify the ideology that prevents people from seeing the causes of that oppression (usually a blame the victim framework)
empirically documents the operation of that ideology in daily deflections of attention
critiques the self-serving pretentions of so-called reform or helping professions as distractions from structural macrosocial problems
calls for a change not at the individual level, but at a structural or collective level.

Take a few minutes to brainstorm possible topics for a critical theory informed study in your field. (Students may choose the same topic.)
Next Week

Paul Willis and Amy Welles


Some big picture background...
The idea that we are systematically deceived about the causes of our oppression.
This does not refer to a conspiricacy theory.
Not a new idea to those on the receiving end of oppression.
Let's try to appreciate the almost mystical impact of the enlightenement on Europe. The success of mathematized science was a metaphysical wonder.
Hundreds of generations of Europeans had searched for the truth behind the truth. Religious theories. Occult theories. Rumors of miricales abounded, but were never directly seen.
Meanwhile artisans got on with the daily tasks of measuring and building things.
Folks like Galileo and Newton borrowed heavily from this repetoire of artisan skills. And it turns out, the key to secrets about how the universe operated lie in this profane place!
This idea of power and truth emerging from the profane activity of the craftsman, not the aristocrat or priest, shattered the social order, but affirmed some very deep cultural narratives--e.g. Christ was born among the poor, not the wealthy.
Inspired a democratic revolution....
There was really a sense that a new age of hope, justice, and possibility had been born.

This was eventually extended to the social sciences.
Imagine for a moment, however, that you were a part of this early European enlightenement.

That you could buy into the idea that the old biases will, with enough effort, eventually burn away...

Then, you began to see the new social sciences do something strange. They began to look away from the hardest problems of the day. They began to avoid questions that would require insitutional changes that would harm the interests of the most wealthy and powerful. Worse, science began to be used to actually reinforce social stratification.
It is hard to appreciate this sense of possibility in our deeply (and justifiably) cynical age.
Even those who could see that the old biases lingered--classism, racism, patrarchy, greed and avarice--or that the new scientific enlightenment was at times cited as evidence of white supremacy or male supremacy--all of this was considered a mistake that could be cleared up. The utopian vision remained intact--a global community of humans bound together by rationality purged of superstition and partisan bias.
4 basic conceptiosn of social change
Liberal Incrementalism
Radical Economic Structural Change
Radical Essentialism
Postmodern Deconstruction
This was new. It was not old biases creeping in. It was the new, enlightenement rationality itself being perverted. It was the medicine that had showed so much promise becoming tainted.
Not by a conspiracy. Bright, well-intentioned people were helping this happen.
Hope itself was at risk. Justice. The possibility of a beloved community.
Karl Marx is the most famous of a few dozen folk who began to argue that we need not regress. That instead, we could apply rational and scientific analysis to rationality itself, and thereby purge it of its new distortions.
The urgent question was -- how do we think about this. Is the answer to jetison rationality and science and return to old ways? Hope for something new? But nothing new seemed to be available. And the old ways of nationalistic and tribal warfare in Europe did not seem right once something better had been imagined.
Applying rationality to itself is called reflexivity. And the study of the distortions of rationality was called ideology. Later that term would also be used to refer to the distortions themselves. Marx and his cohort believed ideologies were being driven by economic interests.
The study of ideology was an effort to rescue science from corruption. It was committed to precise careful analysis. The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory was a group that took up the task of carefully reforming the social sciences in particular. The core analytic was identifying the contradictions between stated goals, means, and empirical social conditions in bourgouise social analysis.
This is the larger drama behind Bowles and Gintiss's work and Michale Apple's technical breakdown of how ideology distorts education research and policy. They wanted rational policy that dealt with the real problems of the schooling system, not small incremental problems that functioned as excuses for dealing with structural inequality.
Its not hard to see why many critical graduate students get attracted to ideologicl analysis.

Even scholars suspect of the enlightenement project--Sandy Grande, Cornel West, Judith Butler--find something of use, something compelling in these ideas.
Of course there were always amateurish versions of critical analysis. And internal arguments and schisms among critical theorists. But this was the shared project.
These scholars were widely read, but largely ignored by the policy world. This did not surprise them. No critical theorist believes they are writing for state and federal policy makers. They are writing for activists who will be organizing at the ground level to push back against oppressive institutions.
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