Saito, Akihiro (2011) Methodology, the Western, and myself: the West/non-West binary in a non-Western educational researcher's pursuit for a PhD. In: Beyond binaries in education research. Routledge Research in Education . Taylor & Francis (Routledge) , New York, USA , pp. 17-26. ISBN 978-0-415-88512-6
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Contemporary educational research, as other social science disciplines, is embedded in Western intellectual traditions. Such is a reiterated motif in non-Western academia as well as cross-cultural research. Where methods and methodologies as invented in one geographical place are deemed as foreign, there arises a suspicion: 'Are those foreign methods and methodologies valid in our local context?' Although this question appears to posit a valuable thought-provoking vantage point for a non-Western researcher, there seems to lurk a dualism that perpetuates the binary relationship of West versus Non-West. This chapter depicts how the author as a non-Western educational researcher sought to reconcile this binary through an ongoing dialogue with his inner self as a non-Westerner about the identity formation of himself, of the founders of methods and methodologies, and of non-Western academia. The chapter is structured through four stages. First, I lay a backdrop to the chapter in which I retrospect on my experience that gave rise to and guided my reflection on the binary. Second, I tell a narrative of the nation to which I (am purported to) belong so as to restore historicity that recontextualises the binary. Third, I seek to unfix the subject positions that conform to the binary discourse in the context of performance and performativity. Fourth, I identify the way a dualism operates behind the suspicion. I argue the validity of methodologies cannot be dismissed on the mere basis of the dualism undergirded in the use of essentialist categories revolving around the discourse of binary: the foreign as other versus the local as self. Such a methodological distrust seems to be valuable, but in reality it is circular and limiting. It fails to be reflexive about its own dichotomous assumptions.
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