Inquiry as answerability: Toward a methodology of discomfort in researching critical public pedagogies

Jake Burdick, Jennifer Sandlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


In this article, the authors argue that inquiry into critical public pedagogies, public sites of counterhegemonic educational activity, requires that researchers' epistemological, representational, and ethical obligations extend to examine how their practices might undermine the political possibilities of these sites, diminish the transformative potential that public pedagogies hold, and ultimately reinscribe normative, limiting notions of educational possibility. Interweaving a framework from postcolonial thought, poststructural feminist and performative methodologies, and the literary contributions of Mikhail Bakhtin, the authors posit that critical public pedagogies offer us glimpses of the pedagogical Other-forms and practices of education that exist independently of, even in opposition to, the commonsense of education. Without this careful approach to researching sites of learning outside of the known, researchers risk adopting an institutionalized, colonial gaze, applying reductive logics to or even failing completely to experience phenomena that are not easily resolved in existing cultural meanings of teaching and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-360
Number of pages12
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Bakhtinian analysis
  • Critical public pedagogies
  • Postcolonial critique
  • Poststructural feminist analysis
  • Research ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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