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The bone in the throat: some uncertain thoughts on baroque method

MacLure, Maggie (2006) The bone in the throat: some uncertain thoughts on baroque method. International journal of qualitative studies in education, 19 (6). pp. 729-745. ISSN 1366-5898

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The paper conjures some possibilities for a baroque method in qualitative educational research. It draws on work across a range of disciplines that has detected a recurrence of the baroque in the philosophical and literary texts of modernity. A baroque method would resist clarity, mastery and the single point of view, be radically uncertain about scale, boundaries and coherence, and favour movement and tension over structure and composure. It would open up strange spaces for difference, wonder and otherness to emerge. The paper uses baroque exemplars such as trompe l'oeil painting and the cabinet of curiosities to pose methodological questions about analysis, representation and meaning. The obstructive potential of the baroque might, it is argued, help post-foundational research resist the bureaucratic reason that animates education policy and research. As the 'bone in the throat' of closure-seeking systems, the baroque offers a hopeful figure for a productively irritating method.

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