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Risky pleasures: using the work of graffiti writers to theorise the act of ethnography

Holmes, Rachel (2010) Risky pleasures: using the work of graffiti writers to theorise the act of ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 16 (10). pp. 871-882. ISSN 1552-7565

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Abstract

Graffiti artists who deface and vandalize also highly aestheticise and politicize landscapes marking boundaries that are both territorial and ideological. Similarly, the privileged “I” within reflexive research seems to subvert a process of territorialisation of the (un)authored research text with a kind of repetitious “tagging.” This article will consider how the idea of graffiti tagging might be used to theorize acts of ethnography (and ethnographer) in an early years classroom to destabilize what might otherwise remain an unproblematic inscription or stain in data. I will draw from excerpts of classroom data to open up ways to think about particular understandings of the researcher as “I,” casting shadows over the “I” that is written into versions of the child and the classroom.

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