An ethics of flourishing in educational research? How? With whom?

Year: 2016

Author: Duhn, Iris, Grieshaber, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Ethics are fundamental to the work we do as researchers and educators. The concepts of ethics in educational research seems tied to the ‘do no harm’ principle as a base line, clearly articulated in institutional ethics application. In this presentation we focus on ethics as a principle for engagement with others and selves in research relationships to tease out what ethics might be able to do as a transformative research practice principle. By introducing Chris Cuomo’s (1996) concept of an ethics of flourishing, we explore how to support an understanding of educational research with diverse ecologies that co-exist, overlap, align or disturb in the research process. Ethics from this perspective is less about the governance of diverse individual relationships over the course of a project and more about the ongoing awareness of how diverse ecologies form, change, co-exist and compete in any given moment. Ecologies refers to complex communities of all kinds, and rather than seeing communities as harmonious and stable collectives, an ethics of flourishing pays attention to the constantly in-flux boundary-making of diverse ecologies. This may mean an ethics of flourishing is created in the moment, depending on what it is possible to think at that time in that situation; and what is constructed collectively. To Massumi, “Ethics is about how we inhabit uncertainty together” (In Olsson, 2009, p. 80). Inhabiting uncertainty together provides possibilities for exploring how ethics might work as a transformative research practice principle.Cuomo, C. (1998). Feminism and ecological communities: An ethic of flourishing. London: Routledge.Olsson, L.M. (2009). Movement and experimentation in young children’s learning: Deleuze and Guattari in early childhood education. London: Routledge.