chapter  7
23 Pages

Studying Side by Side: Collaborative Action Ethnography in Educational Research

ByFrederick Erickson

Laura Nader (1969/1974) in an essay in the volume Reinventing Anthropology edited by Dell Hymes pointed out that as the practice of ethnography developed among sociocultural anthropologists, the anthropologists had mostly done participant observation among people whose power and social rank was less than that of the visiting anthropologist. By “studying down,” the anthropologist was leaving uninvestigated the lifeways of those who exercise power-this was even true in the exotic, primitive societies visited first by anthropologists, and it was even more true when anthropology tried to come home to modern societies. Especially in the anthropologist’s own society, Nader urged the anthropologist to “study up”—to visit and document the lives of the privileged and powerful.