The purpose of this paper is to consider how to make use of qualitative data in educational research, focusing on the description of the socialization process, by examining the theoretical and empirical relationships between T. Parsonsʼ theory of socialization, R. F. Balesʼ observation system of social interaction, and H. Sacksʼ perspective of conversation analysis.
Parsonsʼ theory of socialization consists of several theoretical concepts including pattern variables, aspects of social control, and aspects of deviant behavior. These concepts have a close connection with Balesʼ system of twelve categories for making observations of types of social action, covering a wide range of behavior in everyday life. Although Balesʼ categorization system was originally devised for performing quantitative analysis in experimental situations, it is of use in data description in qualitative research. In other words, Parsonsʼ socialization theory, regardless of whether it is qualitative or quantitative, has much to do with the direct observation of social action.
Bales thought that we could understand social actions right then and there. In contrast, Sacks had a clear idea that it should take a long time for us to describe even small pieces of observational data. In common with Bales, however, he also placed a high value on the careful classification of types of social action. This paper thus attempts to ascertain how these two ways of observation play a complementary role in the study of socialization by analyzing the same data for mother-child interactions from both points of view.
In qualitative educational research, it is important to continue to examine the details of each case, but it is also necessary to be conscious of the relationship between data analysis and the theoretical perspective in order to maintain the validity of data description.
This paper concerns the way educational sociologists “deal with” interview data recorded during fieldwork. In my recent research on the educational activities of fukushi kyoin (welfare teachers) in Kochi prefecture, which focused on “historical” events from the early post-war era to the 1960s, I recorded a great deal of interview data in the field, but was very reluctant to deal with the interview data as a constructionist life story researcher like myself would do before committing myself to the final research project. The constructionist presupposition that any reality is constructed through discursive practice prohibits us from interpreting interview narrative with reference to “outer world” reality and forces us to deal with the narrative exclusively. In my case with the fukushi kyoin, however, I decided to “utilize” the interview data in combination with other kinds of data-like documents. This means that I placed greater distance between myself and the interview data compared with the case of pure life story research.
Here I point out that in educational research it is often hard to maintain the constructionist presupposition because education as an occupational world has, compared with other kinds of occupations, a highly intimate relationship with the written world and this reduces the interviewerʼs tension to the narrative itself. In addition, the fact that it is easier, through cooperation between the interviewer and interviewee, to construct and confirm that both share a common background, namely “education,” causes the withdrawal of the metatheory that life story researchers support: the “wisdom of ignorance.” Instead, in educational research the dominant metatheory is “prescribed wisdom,” presupposing the superiority and precedence of the interviewer and interpreter to the interviewee and those researched.
However it is also important that the practice of “re-use” of interview data may provide us with the opportunity to be conscious of the above-mentioned dominant metatheory in educational sociology. This may lead us to a radical criticism of the self-evident “prescribed wisdom” in any educational research.
This paper attempts to determine a method for making use of the “image of deviation,” which we fieldworkers possess and typically regard as a bias contaminating our research, as a resource for interpretation, and by doing so open the door to the field of “deviation.” Among qualitative studies of educational sociology, only a handful have focused on the self (involvement, attitude, etc.) expressed in the “image” held by researchers. One of the reasons for this situation seems to be the long-standing perception among quantitative studies in educational sociology that the “image” (involvement and attitude) introduced by the researcher is “a potential contaminant” that should be “separated out, neutralized, minimized, standardized, and controlled” (Fine et al. 2000, p. 108)
In this paper, we begin by examining barriers to fieldwork in the area of “deviation” (the problem of fieldworkers being regarded as contamination) and, through research and study in the “narrative mode,” offer direction in shifting to a closed field.
Secondly, we develop a method of description that transforms the fieldworkerʼs “image” into a resource for research and interpretation. In order to achieve this goal, the “practice of interpretation” must first be described in words, through a transformation of the fieldworkerʼs “image” into a resource for interpretation; the method of description must also be properly set out and organized, in order to avoid becoming trapped in a “dead end of self-reflection.” We opt to focus on the “writing mode” and “reading mode” (Emerson et al. 1995, p. 63) as methods of description, and adopt a technique by which we avoid the “dead end of self-reflection.” In transforming the “image” into a resource for interpretation, we focus our attention on the distinction between “content” (experience lived and experience described: what is described) and “method” (way of description: how to describe) (Gubrium and Holstein 2000, p. 496). By carefully describing “first person narrative” and “third person narrative,” we also explain in this description the process of interaction-based meaning construction.
Thirdly, based on results of actual fieldwork (follow-up survey on persons who have experienced taking magic mushrooms), we discuss ways to move toward practical applications in problem solving. (1) The process described in this paper is the same as the “interpretation technique” (process of interpretation practice) of “those who have experienced magic mushrooms,” re-emphasizing that this practice may be referred to as a reason why people take magic mushrooms, and offering hints, though limited, toward answering the larger question of “why people take magic mushrooms.” (2) Our next step will be in the direction of initiating a dialogue with the findings of previous studies. The dialogue between “cause approach” and “process approach” is important in terms of practical aspects of this research. For example, we can propose that, based on the results of this paper, the concepts of “neutralization” and “drift” can be reconstructed as ideas corresponding to situation-dependent interpretation practice applied to the deviation category.
The purpose of this paper is to apply text theory to the reading of documents and to show an example of how the theory is applied.
In the field of cultural studies, there has been an accumulation of attempts to read texts. Among texts, a document is a special text, since it is written to be read from the beginning and therefore requires a particular way of reading. One method of analysis is to locate a document in different discourses in which some words gain meanings and others lose them. This paper examines a judicial ruling as an example of a document and attempts to show how to read it.
The judicial ruling taken here is a decision on a lawsuit seeking compensation for a suicide caused by bullying in Iwaki City (1990). The victim was a third-year male junior high school student. It attracted considerable attention because it was the first case in Japan in which a court accepted professional negligence by school teachers as the cause for the suicide of a student. Three different meanings in three different discourses, that is, judicial, sociological, and educational radiate from this decision. First, in the judicial discourse, it is seen as quite senseless since it accepts the negligence of school teachers who could not foresee the suicide of the victim.
This senseless decision, however, may be understandable in a sociological discourse. For, as Durkheim states in The Suicide, people tend to commit suicide for reasons of trifling matters when they cannot feel any bond with their society. If people accept the thought that ijime bullying breaks the feelings of a bond with society, and if they recognize the maliciousness of this, school officials can be seen as responsible for preventing the worst possible outcome, even if the particular direct causes of a suicide are not necessarily identified. This is the logic of the ruling.
At the same time, the ruling placed 40 percent of the negligence on the victim himself. This 40 percent acknowledges his will and reason, in other words, his personality until immediately before death. This indicates that other people can work with a victim as long as he is alive. There is no education without a personality. This is none other than to read the ruling as an educational discourse.
As I have shown in the example above, reading a document in different discourses gives us opportunities to consider the many possible issues it potentially entails.
Audio-visual data analysis has generally been understood as a method for ethnomethodological studies in sociology. At the same time, especially in the sociology of education, it is also notable that video data analysis has been developed as one kind of educational research method rather than purely as an ethnomethodological research method. Focusing on such original developments, this paper examines the possibility of video data analysis in the realm of educational research.
Firstly, this paper reviews the characteristics of audio-visual data analysis as a kind of qualitative research method and considers a number of studies analyzing video-taped interactions in the sociology of education. The paper then attempts to reconstruct the process of making an audio-visual data analysis of interactions between teachers and children with special needs in the elementary school, and focuses upon both the vocal and nonvocal behavior of the participants by providing a simplified transcript and a more complicated one in varying stages of analysis. Through this reconstruction, the characteristics of audio-visual data analysis and the differences between audio-visual data analysis and other research methods are revealed. In addition, methods for the transcription and analysis of a participantʼs conversation, behavior and gaze are also considered.
Finally, this paper considers the efficacy of audio-visual data analysis in the exploration of a participantʼs orientation to education. Referring to the concept of “crucial setting,” this paper suggests that the audio-visual data analyst needs to explore descriptions which show a participantʼs orientation to education through analysis. As audio visual technologies become more readily available, audio-visual data analysis as a qualitative research method is likely to become more sophisticated. However, this suggests that the analyst needs to pay more attention to the issue that concerns the significance of such study in the sociology of education. In other words, we are required to investigate anew why we make analyses of interactions using audio-visual equipment.
The purpose of this paper is to review the qualitative researches that have been carried out in the last decade, in the field of sociology of education.
First, we explore the studies in the new field of “sociology of education”, which focus on the educational processes in school where students assimilate cultures under social control. These studies reveal demonstratively, for example, how a ʻmacro-levelʼ educational idea takes shape in a ʻmicro-levelʼ classroom, or how a change in the ʻmacro-levelʼ educational situation is related to a change in the ʻmicro-levelʼ classroom.
Then, we examine the studies of education for the new comers, which area of study has been expanding and deepening recently. The new-comer students in Japan have been treated as minority, and researchers have applied the qualitative methods to look into the reality of the situation. Empirical researches, as well as critical ones, have led to the new studies which evaluate the educational practice theoretically.
It must be noted that constructionism has played an important role on the development of qualitative researches. Social constructionists deal with educational discourse, deviant behavior and social problems, adopting observations of participants, interviews, and/ or ethnographies. And, they apply the methodology to the problems specific to educational practice.
Lastly, we consider relationship between the researcher and the subject, and raise a question how to describe the relationship in the articles. Qualitative researchers often interact face to face with their subjects, communicating with each other in the process of field work However, it all depends on the researcher to analyze the data and present them, even though the subject takes part in an active and important way. Consequently, the reader could not see what kind of relationship the researcher has with the subject, unless the writer describe anything about it.
We divide researchers into a few groups, according to their styles of description of the relationship; (1) researcher in a position of social scientist, (2) researcher describing the relation in a way of; (a) making people aware of it, (b) utilizing it as research material. After examining these groups, we have reached the conclusion that researcher need to devote more attention to the process of observing and interviewing their subjects, and describing the result. When researchers make their own reports of the facts that they observe, they must always give detailed account of their methods. To promote the qualitative researches in the field of sociology of education, it is worth bearing in mind that the researcher should give an accurate description of the issue, as well as the methods they have adopted.
This paper examines and presents the characteristics of the “emotional labor” of teachers by analyzing interviews with ten elementary teachers. Moreover, it discusses the notion that the emotional labor of teachers is a teacher strategy. The concept of emotional labor, introduced by Hochschild (1983), contends that the emotion of workers becomes commoditized when these acts are sold for a salary and thereby estranged from the individual. Although Hochschild emphasizes the negative aspects of emotional labor, I contend here that the emotional labor of teachers may have strategic aspects even if it is compulsory.
The differences between Hochschildʼs argument and that put forward by this author arise from two points. The first depends on the autonomy of work. The second depends on the aspect of emotional labor as a means by which teachers carry out their core classroom purposes. In this paper, I present a concrete analysis of the latter point.
In Hochschildʼs argument, the commercialization of feelings and their instrumentality are dealt with as identical things, but the two aspects should be distinguished. I insist that the emotional labor of teachers has an instrumental aspect rather than one of commercialization. That is to say, for emotional labor in teaching it is important to consider how teachers manage pupilsʼ emotions. Japanese teachers hope that pupils will grow up not only academically but also emotionally. In addition, a teacherʼs instruction is based on working on pupilsʼ feelings. Thus teachers need to manage both pupilʼs feelings and their own in order to build relationships in which the parties are linked together by emotional bonds in order to enable teachers to control classrooms.
Because of this, teachers are required to carry out emotion management of their work, and in this sense they constrain their emotional labor. However they carry out emotional labor strategically by changing the meaning of heteronomous emotion rules into valuable instruments for their pedagogical purposes. This strategic aspect of the emotional labor of teachers is a skill acquired in the process of socialization as teachers. Thus negative aspects do not reside in the characteristics of the emotional labor of teachers, but are caused by aspects (compulsory/strategic) which are emphasized when a teacher carries out emotional labor.
However, as Hochschild shows, emotional labor becomes negative and draining when poor working conditions make it impossible for teachers to perform their work well. Accordingly, it is necessary to conduct further studies concerning the emotional labor of teachers in relation to the circumstances surrounding the teacher.
Since the latter half of the 1990s, new expressions have appeared concerning ability in labor and education. These expressions of ability do not only reflect the transformation of the contemporary dominant ability model. The expressions themselves are social processes, and they are social practices that structure the dominant ability model anew. From these points of view, this paper will analyze expressions of ability as a social practice, and examine and consider the social significance of the expressions of ability empirically. As a result of the analysis, the following points were extracted.
Firstly, the routine of magazine editing is a reflexive process which incorporates trends from all different forms of media. Therefore special features on business ability are produced based on trends from these media. They consequently reflect the dominant ability model that precedent studies have described. Secondly, in special features on business ability, company managers and office workers of well-known organizations frequently appear as the embodiers of the ability. In addition, experts that have specific dispositions frequently construct, define and rate the ability. Thirdly, in these special features, specific “relationships to oneself” are frequently seen. The relationships are that transformations of character and emotion into ability, based on self-monitoring and self-control, assist in engaging oneself positively and maximizing the potential nature of the self. These are psychologized “relationships to oneself.” Such monitoring, control, engaging oneself positively, and maximization of potential nature, are an intention for the whole process of labor.
These special features on business ability seem to be a transient trend, but it is clear that there are various aspects of cultural arbitrariness involved. It may be said that one of the tasks of the sociology of education today is to prepare a blueprint based on a comprehensive theoretical framework of such cultural arbitrariness and the actual situation. In this article, I show that Bourdieuʼs theoretical framework of symbolic struggle is one such framework.
This paper explores school effects in Japan, using a Multilevel Model Analysis.
“School Effects” consider how schools can affect childrenʼs learning outputs. This is one of the important subjects in the sociology of education. Since the Coleman Reports of the 1960s, there has been much research investigating school effects all over the world. This is termed “School Effectiveness Research” (SER). Recently, SER researchers are planning comparative studies within countries, and this research has considerable attraction.
Unfortunately, very few researchers in Japan knew about SER until 2000. Pioneers in SER in Japan are Nabeshima and Shimizu. They investigated school effects using the concept of “Effective Schools” conceived by Edmonds, one of the most famous early SER researchers. Japanese SER researchers argue that “Effective Schools” are characterized by “teacher cooperation,” “leadership,” and “good classroom climates.” Finally, they conclude, “If all schools had these characteristics, social disadvantage would be less than at present.”
However, the concept of “Effective Schools” in Japan is problematic, and thus we need to reanalyze carefully the conclusions of pioneer SER research in Japan.
In this paper, I firstly point out the lack of the concept of “Effective Schools” and propose a Multilevel Model Analysis (Hierarchical Linear Modeling) to analyze school effects. Secondly, I investigate school effects in Japan using the Multilevel Model Analysis, and analyze academic achievement tests at 5th grade conducted in Z City in the district of Kansai. The sample size is 3,366 children from 43 schools and explanatory variables are achievement score at 4th grade, childrenʼs gender, and childrenʼs cultural social class.
The findings are as follows. Firstly, almost all the variance in academic achievements at 5th grade exists within schools. There is small variance between schools. Variance between schools is less than 5 percent. Secondly, the most important explanatory variable affecting achievement at 5th grade is achievement at 4th grade. The most explanatory variables following this are childrenʼs gender and cultural social class. Thirdly, although the variance between schools is very small, there is a score gap of 5 to 6 points between “the most effective school” and “the most ineffective school.” Thus, there are very small score gaps between schools, but this does not mean that schools have no effect on the alleviation of social disadvantage caused by gender or social class.
We draw the following conclusions from this analysis. First, junior high schools in Japan have very similar learning environments, and so there are only small score gaps between schools. Secondly, the prior achievement score has a very strong effect on achievement score at the 5th grade level. Investigating school outcomes without taking prior achievement scores into account is therefore very problematic. In Japan, few argue the importance of prior achievement tests, but this is a critical point for the analysis of achievement scores. Thirdly, it is important that researchers of SER in Japan understand that there is only small variance between Japanese schools and argue seriously about “what schools can and cannot do.”
Despite the recent vigorous debate concerning the necessity for further increases in educational expenditure, the basic questions “Is Japanʼs spending on education really low?” and “Does money matter?” have never been examined analytically in Japan. The main purpose of this paper is to carry out a quantitative analysis of the effect and efficiency of educational expenditure in Japan and other developed countries. The paper consists of two parts. Firstly, using OECD expenditure data, I examine the conventional indices concerning educational expenditure and compare Japan and other developed countries using an alternative index. Secondly, I evaluate the effect of expenditures on secondary education and the inefficiencies of OECD countries by employing a stochastic frontier model. The following are the main results of the analyses.
As to the comparison, there are some problems with the conventional macro indices such as educational expenditure per student, the educational expenditure-GDP ratio and the educational public expenditure-general public expenditure ratio. I employ the alternative index of Ram (1995) using the residuals of simple linear regression and compare the level of educational expenditures in OECD countries. In terms of primary and secondary education, the level of educational expenditure in Japan is close to the average of developed countries, and is therefore not much inferior to that of other developed countries, contrary to the recent claims concerning public education.
The productivity of educational expenditure is evaluated in the light of two points: mean level and equity. The output indices of mean level and equity are estimated by the fixed-coefficient regression of the PISA data. The main analyses are conducted using a Bayesian semi-parametric stochastic frontier model which assumes no particular functional form concerning the effect of expenditures and the particular distribution concerning the inefficiencies. In terms of the mean level, an increase in educational expenditures has some positive effect. However, the production function is concave, and therefore there is a tendency for the effect of additional units of expenditure to diminish. The effect of educational expenditure on equity is neither monotonous nor strong. The estimated inefficiencies of each country tell us that there is a considerable gap between best practices and educational practices in many countries, and that the Japanese educational system is relatively efficient in mean level output and inefficient in equity output. These results imply that increasing educational expenditure requires further careful examination and discussion.
The purpose of this study is to examine factors which support the school attendance continuation of students who have previously experienced school non-attendance, and to reveal its problems, by looking at the example of school attendance support in post-compulsory schools which positively accept people who have experienced school non-attendance.
Recently, post-compulsory schools or educational institutions which positively accept people who have experienced school non-attendance have increased. These schools or educational institutions have the potential to solve the problems of career formation of people who have experienced school non-attendance. However, there has been no focus on that what kind of support is necessary for students to continue school attendance, and what the problems are.
Interviews and participatory observation carried out by the author at a certain Challenge School and a koto sensyu gakko (Upper Secondary Specialized Training School) resulted in the following four points. Firstly, the change in personal relationships from the school the student attended previously greatly contributes to the school attendance continuation of students who have previously experienced school non-attendance. Secondly, direct and indirect support given by teachers, and student groups in which “pain” is shared supported school attendance continuation by students. Thirdly, good relations between teachers and students prevent school characteristics such as life guidance and activities in the class group from causing school non-attendance.
Fourthly, however, these schools have a problem concerning the career formation of the students. There are cases in which graduates of these schools tend to leave the next school or workplace because of the non-existence of the people who have supported them when they felt uneasy. It will be the task of school non-attendance support to assist people who tend to have uneasiness and demand support from personal relationships to form their career through a “gentle shift” from post-compulsory schools or educational institutions to further schools and workplaces after graduation. In other words, to create an environment of work and education that can lead to self-realization.
Using school records and classroom observations, as well as interviews filled out by teachers in public elementary and junior high schools, this article analyses the structure and factors of the “culture of teachers and teaching,” which involves an examination of many aspects of the situation surrounding teachers, and creates rules for teacherʼs activities, and investigates the reason behind the difficulty to establish and root a “gender sensitive” perspective in schools and teachers.
Firstly, the observations and interviews make it clear that the idea of educational practices based on “gender equality” are still based on a prevailing attitude that boys and girls, and men and women, are quite different beings.
Secondly, the observation and interviews reveal that the structure and factors of “Teacherʼs Culture” relate and restrict the practice of “gender equal education” by: (1) encouraging exclusiveness and nonintervention, (2) having teachers prioritize harmony with colleagues, (3) creating pressure for efficiency in teachersʼ work, and forcing teachers to defend their political stance as a survival strategy to remain a teacher, and (4) confusing “theory” and “practice” of “gender-free education” and “gender equal education.”
In conclusion, it becomes clear that these mechanisms create a difficult situation for teachers, even though if they choose a “gender sensitive” viewpoint in various aspects of educational practice. Especially, the observations and interviews reveal that there is significant confusion between the “theory” and “practice” of “gender equity education” and “gender sensitive” viewpoint, suggesting fluidity and misunderstanding of the concept of “gender-free education” which has recently been translated as a theory of “regimentation.” This confusion and these misunderstandings prevent teachers from noticing and addressing the power imbalance between the two genders.
In this way, the “theory” of a “gender sensitive” viewpoint for education rests on few facts and practices today. It is necessary for studies on “gender and education” to analyze the present state of gendered teachers in school, and construct a progressive theory of studies on “Gender and Education” that enables teachers to be “practitioners” in each school.
The aim of this paper is to explore the background of Singaporeʼs contemporary policies for school dropouts. Singaporeʼs educational system has often been described as being based on the concept of meritocracy (Mimizuka et al. 2003, Kang 2005). According to Young (1958), in a meritocratic society, rewards and social status are distributed based on individual merit. Interestingly, meritocratic Singapore has increasingly attempted to include school dropouts, who are supposed to have lower merit. This should be even more puzzling when we consider that Singapore has already achieved a low school dropout rate compared to other developed countries. Although it is reported that there are about 1,200 students who leave school before finishing secondary education every year, this phenomenon has been very little investigated even in Singapore. Sim (2005) focused on the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which provides vocational education for post-secondary students in the lower streams, and found that the aspirations of ITE students were lifted during the school period. However, Simʼs study did not shed light on school dropouts.
This study examines the following two research questions: 1) Why does Singapore attempt to include school dropouts in further education? 2) How does Singapore help school dropouts return to school? The data were gathered from the following investigations. The first is semi-structured interviews of social workers who work at Singaporeʼs social agencies, where various kinds of assistance are provided for school dropouts. Interviews were conducted with fourteen social workers in nine social agencies. The second is a review of past local research on Singaporeʼs school dropouts, which is not so well known due to a lack of publicity. In addition, Singaporean national census data and information from local newspapers were also used in this study.
Based on the analysis, the author insists that there are three primary reasons behind Singaporeʼs contemporary policies for school dropouts: 1) a political reason, 2) a social policy-related reason, and 3) a labor economic reason. Clark (1960) demonstrated that “losers” under a meritocratic educational system are likely to “cool-out” so that they become adjusted to their appropriate social position in later life. On the other hand, Singaporeʼs school dropouts tend to “freeze-up” and then fall into bottomless cracks in later life. Once they have “frozen-up,” they may be stigmatized as “losers” in the meritocratic educational system and then marginalized in the precarious labor market. To overcome this situation, Singapore has attempted to enhance political stability and the social cohesion of the state. Moreover, school dropouts are encouraged to return to school in order to compete with cheaper migrant workers in the labor market.
In summary, Singaporeʼs success in reducing the number of school dropouts can be looked upon as an outcome of Singaporeʼs effort to enhance political stability, social cohesion and economic growth so as to tackle increasing external uncertainties. In this sense, Singaporeʼs top academic performance among school students, despite the fact that more school dropouts are integrated into the mainstream, can be viewed as a process involving a state strategy of survival under the highly competitive, globalised economy.