Critical Ethnography in Education: Origins, Current Status, and New Directions

Gary L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Interpretivist movements in anthropology and sociology have recently merged with neo-Marxist and feminist theory to produce a unique genre of research in the field of education known as “critical ethnography.” Critical ethnographers seek research accounts sensitive to the dialectical relationship between the social structural constraints on human actors and the relative autonomy of human agency. Unlike other interpretivist research, the overriding goal of critical ethnography is to free individuals from sources of domination and repression. This review traces the development of critical ethnography in education, including a brief discussion of its view of validity; discusses its current status as a research genre; and describes criticisms and suggests new directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-270
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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