Losing the students in a school ethnography: Anthropology and the puzzle of holism

Martin Forsey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


My ‘lost project’ is captured in a recollection of a senior school ball, my final ethnographic encounter following 15 months of fieldwork in a middle class government high school, from which students barely get a mention in any of the publications stemming out of the overall project. Two questions are pursued in the paper, focused firstly on why students were ignored in the final rendering of my doctoral research and why I continued to continue to research student groups so actively right up to the end point of the project? Attributing this apparently contradictory set of circumstances to an anthropological commitment to holism that eschews the smallness of studies of groups and sites and fail to take account of broader socio-political contexts, the author is content enough in acknowledging that insights reported here would not have emerged without an ongoing commitment to an engaged holism throughout the whole of the project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe lost ethnographies
Subtitle of host publicationMethodological insights from projects that never were
EditorsRobin James Smith, Sara Delamont
Place of PublicationBingley
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781787147737, 9781787439313
ISBN (Print)9781787147744
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Qualitative Methodology
ISSN (Print)1042-3192


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