Structure/Agency and the Framing and Conduct of Curriculum Inquiry

Year: 1986

Author: Kirk, David

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper proceeds, on the basis of an analysis of the term 'curriculum', to identify structure/agency as an overarching theoretic which frames both the substantive topics and issues of the field and the conduct of curriculum iDquiry. Curricul'oxt is conceptuaiised as a nexus where human agency, knowledge and cultural and societal structures intersect, and curriculum inquiry is seen to be centrally concerned with the study of the production and reproduction of educational action. The methodological implications of this perspective are that the researcher must be involved in a reflexive act which is sensitive to the life-world of learners and teachers, and shows an awareness of his/her role as an active agent in the process of curriculum replication and change. This conceptualisation of curriculum as a moral and political enterprise, and the actions of learners and teachers within this enterprise as intentional and interpretative, offers the possibility of transcending the dichotomy of theory and practice, and so empowering and emancipating educational practitioners and students from structures of inequality and injustice.