Accepted Paper:

'This is no jungle, you know': a middle-aged female researcher in the world of teenage schoolboys  


Pia Olsson (University of Helsinki)

Paper short abstract:

The paper will focus on the relationship between a researcher and her research group in a school space where inclusion and exclusion processes can be seen to reflect not only to the research theme but also to the research process itself.

Paper long abstract:

In September 2009 I started my fieldwork in an upper level of a comprehensive school in Helsinki, Finland. My aim is to study the different youth cultures and the way they are represented in youth's everyday actions in one school. I also want to understand the way the different kinds of differences are produced and experienced in the social relations. In my research group there are students from an 'ordinary' class but also students who have just moved to Finland and students with learning disabilities.

While doing fieldwork over different kinds of differences I have also faced the fact that I as a researcher am seen as 'different': like some of the students, also I have been included to and excluded from the social school space. The different groups in my research team have also meant that I have had to think over how to connect with them and to actually make them to be heard in the research. Thus trying to connect to the research environment has raised questions dealing with methods and research ethics.

In my paper I would like to analyse my fieldwork process focusing on the relationship between the researcher and the individuals taking part in the research. I would like to discuss the situations in the fieldwork process I did not anticipate beforehand and the way I have - or have not - found creative solutions for them.

Panel P233
School ethnographies: inside and beyond schooling