Phrónēsis and the ethical regulation of ethnographic research

Traianou, Anna. 2019. Phrónēsis and the ethical regulation of ethnographic research. In: Hugh Busher and Alison Fox, eds. Implementing Ethics in Educational Ethnography: Regulation and Practice. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781138580251 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter focuses on the sharp tension between the ‘creep’ of ethical regulation from medicine and psychology across the whole of social science and the practical requirements of doing ethnographic research in education in ways that are ethically satisfactory. One source of this tension is the essential role of phrónēsis (wise judgment) in educational ethnography, as in other forms of research and professional activity. It has been argued that the sort of procedural ‘transparency’ demanded by ethical regulation is impossible, and that attempts to achieve it necessarily have undesirable effects: that they lead ethnographers to become primarily concerned with whether or not they are compliant with regulatory requirements, rather than with making good ethical and methodological judgments. This chapter discusses how ethics committees could facilitate the development of phrónēsis on the part of ethnographers, by encouraging greater attention to the complexities of methodological and ethical issues and exposing individual researchers to diverse views about these.

Item Type:

Book Section


ethical regulation, phronesis, educational ethnography, reflexivity.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


26 October 2018Accepted
13 May 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

19 Dec 2018 11:34

Last Modified:

13 Nov 2020 02:26


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