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Queer Outings?: uncomfortable stories about the subjects of post-structural school ethnography

By Deborah Youdell


In this paper I consider the abiding value as well as the limits of Queer; navigating the contradictions of a politics and ethnographic practice based on arefutation of an abiding subject; resisting subjectivation and needing recognition;and ‘coming-out’ in school ethnography framed by Queer theory. The papermoves from the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler, borrowing Pillow’s(2003) notion of uncomfortable reflexivity and grafting the notion of the uncannyonto post-structurally informed ethnography via the work of Britzman (1998) andDelany’s (1988 & 2004). In bringing these ideas together the paper is an exercisein the discomfort provoked by both telling uncertain stories of the sort that areusually left untold about school ethnography and looking for glimpses of theuncanny in and through these. The paper suggests that attempts to engage what‘escapes’ from or ‘falls away’ in the telling of uncomfortable stories helps us toengage what is unspeakable in the normative framing of the school and adultstudentrelations within them and is a useful reminder of the impossibility ofknowing completely or with certainty. This, I suggest, offers useful insights toethnography and ethnographic writing and reading that we might characterise as‘After Queer’

Year: 2010
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