Mobilising spatial risks: reflections on researching Venezuelan and Australian fairground people's educational experiences

Anteliz, Emilio A. and Danaher, Geoff and Danaher, Patrick Alan (2004) Mobilising spatial risks: reflections on researching Venezuelan and Australian fairground people's educational experiences. In: Strategic uncertainties: ethics, politics and risk in contemporary educational research. Post Pressed, Flaxton, Qld, pp. 155-168. ISBN 1 876682 72 8


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[Abstract]: One approach to conducting educational research is to strive for ‘risk minimisation’. This is presumably on the assumption that risk is always and inevitably dangerous and harmful (see also McDougall, Jarzabkowski, Mills & Gale, Moore, Danaher and Walker-Gibbs, this volume), and to be avoided at all costs. Following the theme of celebrating ‘strategic uncertainties’ (Stronach & MacLure, 1997), we prefer a different approach, one grounded in the recognition of risk as the prerequisite of new conceptual, methodological and empirical understandings. Rather than being minimised or avoided, risk should be mobilised and enthusiastically pursued – carpe diem transposed to an educational research framework.
Our conviction of the utility, even the necessity, of mobilising risk derives in part from our ongoing research into the educational experiences of Venezuelan and Australian fairground people (Anteliz & Danaher, 2000; Anteliz, Danaher & Danaher, 2001). In multiple ways, the fairground people routinely enter the spaces of permanently resident communities, and in so doing they challenge the stereotypes attached to mobile groups (McVeigh, 1997). From this perspective, their physical mobility becomes allied with their mobilisation of spatial risks in order to earn their living and to sustain their cultural heritage.
We see this process of mobilising spatial risks as potentially both a template and a metaphor for educational researchers. Space can be conceptualised as the site of multiple and often conflicting beliefs, discourses and values. In the context of an educational research project, space can indeed be risky and unpredictable, yet it can also become the place in which transformational educational practices are conceived and developed. This is precisely why spatial risks need to be mobilised – and why ‘strategic uncertainties’ need to be celebrated.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Author retains copyright.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:55
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 01:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, fairground people, mobilisation, spatial risks, strategic uncertainties, Venezuela
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160809 Sociology of Education

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