Subject Identity And School Knowledge.

Smetherham, David (1978). Subject Identity And School Knowledge. MPhil thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the nature of the pedagogic subject identity from the perspective of a participating observer who eventually became an observing participant. What has been written is an 'insider' account of the secondary school teacher's subject identity yet even the act of writing this thesis resulted in the insider becoming an outsider: his knowledge was no longer appropriate to his identity.

An examination of the way in which one's social identity of research personna and subject practitioner interact as a result of the knowledge held by virtue of these socially located positions leads on to an awareness of the rhetorics of knowledge. The performances of the actor are constrained by the knowledge, appropriate to this identity since the appropriateness of the one knowledge necessarily limits access to other knowledge. Furthermore, the knowledge each party holds of the other will be more or less accurate according to the processual aspects of the identity.

One consequence of this view is to challenge the view that research accounts are more credible than those of the participating actors. It may be different, and this will be so because of the different location of the salient identity. The researcher has no reason to exempt himself from the same theoretical and pragmatic perspective with which he views the approached group since other groups also theorise about the meanings for them of such strangers.

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