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Naming, framing, and sometimes shaming : reimagining relationships with education research participants

A key element of the project of reimagining participants in education research in hopefully more productive, respectful and transformative styles is recognising and making explicit the diverse means by which such participants are named, framed and sometimes shamed in research projects. This proposition derives from the argument, which is elaborated in this chapter, that researchers’ naming practices about the participants in their studies are inevitably ideological and political, and reflect underlying sociocultural attitudes that frame and position those participants in particular ways. Furthermore, that framing and positioning sometimes entail a process of shaming specific groups of participants, whether explicitly or implicitly, but with a definitely deleterious impact. The chapter explores the naming, framing and sometimes shaming of education research participants by presenting qualitative data about two groups of learners: students identified as having disabilities; and students whose parents’ ethnicity and/or occupational status require them to be mobile (AUTHORS, 2009a). Despite the diversity manifested by the two groups, they share experiences of being positioned by the formal education system as different and even deviant, and consequently of being marginalised by that system.The chapter also identifies the principles of relationality, reciprocity and transformative research that education researchers can evoke to ensure that their naming practices in relation to research participants are based on such principles, and that the framing that informs research is made explicit and interrogated for its potential impact, including the need to avoid shaming participants by essentialising their difference. These principles have been used by the authors and other researchers in the two fields canvassed here. At the same time, the sociocultural forces that foster naming, framing and sometimes shaming are ever-present, and need to be guarded against if relationships with education research participants are to be reimagined on a deeper and longer-term basis.


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New York, London

Open Access

  • No

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  • Yes

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