International Ethnography-Conference ‘Going public‘? –Ethnography in Education and Social Work and its Publics October 31 st – November 2 nd , 2019 Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Ethnography maintains a tense relationship with the public(s). At first glance, it prefers small worlds, microlevel settings, cultural and institutional practices in a defined, locally observable space. At the same time, it produces public effects on the encountered local worlds – through the observers entering the field and most definitely with the publication of their observations. However, ethnography is confronted with forms of publics that are constitutive of (pedagogical) fields themselves. It also encounters traces of public media, e.g. scandalizing (social-)pedagogical institutions and influencing the understanding of education, care and learning. Currently, ethnography is itself increasingly called upon to address broader publics. Against that background the ‘public’ provides a useful category to reflect the theoretical and methodological developments within ethnography in educational science and its political role anew.