oa Journal of Education - How do we develop inclusional epistemologies for a new scholarship of democratic educational enquiry?

Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-479X



In this article we explain how and why, in our roles as a Dean and a visiting professor, we encourage practitioner-researchers in our faculties and elsewhere to enerate and make public their descriptionptions and explanations of practice as their living educational theories, by addressing the question, �How do I/we improve my/our work?� (Whitehead, 1989), as we also do, and as we are doing here. Grounded in inclusional logics and values, these accounts constitute a reconceptualisation of theory from normative propositional forms to new living forms. A key feature of these living theories is the articulation of the relationally dynamic standards of judgement we use to test the validity of our research claims. Working collaboratively with others, as we research our practices in higher education settings, however, can be problematic, since we are developing new participative discourses within institutional cultures whose aims often include the perpetuation of divisive and exclusionary politically-constituted discourses, using technocratic epistemologies, to control what counts as knowledge and who should be seen as a knower. We experience such tensions keenly, especially in South African higher education contexts, where a commitment to democratic educational enquiry often means wrestling with the ontological insecurities of transforming existing logics of domination into new inclusive epistemologies within a post-apartheid democratic university culture. This is, however, the task we have set ourselves. In this paper, we explain how, by subjecting our accounts to public critique as we research how to encourage the development of new institutional epistemologies, we are aiming to contribute to the education of the social formation of the higher education community. We are doing this by showing how it is possible to develop high quality research programmes that are grounded in inclusional and transformational logics and that focus on demonstrating their methodological rigour through an analysis of the transformation of ontological values into the epistemological standards of judgement against which the validity of research claims can be tested. We explain how the development of such new inclusional institutional epistemologies can act as the grounds for a form of social solidarity that can contribute to forms of sustainable social evolution and, in a South African context, can contribute to South Africa�s renaissance, and how our explanations for these processes can contribute to the education of wider social formations.

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