Reflexivity and the politics of knowledge: researchers as ‘brokers’ and ‘translators’ of educational development

Arathi Sriprakash*, Rahul Mukhopadhyay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper interrogates the ways in which ‘reflexivity’ has proliferated as a normative methodological discourse in the field of international and comparative education. We argue that the dominant approach to reflexivity foregrounds the standpoints of researchers and their subjects in a way that does not attend to the situated, contingent, and relational dynamics of ‘knowing’ itself. This too easily bypasses the performative effects of research; how disciplinary ways of knowing (through associated methods and discourses) enact particular realities of the world. Drawing on theoretical devices from actor–network theory, we put forward the perspective that social researchers, through the methods and disciplinary discourses they deploy, are ‘brokers’ and ‘translators’ of knowledge. This signifies the ways in which the process of research engages actors, scripts, and performances which produce particular understandings of, and effects on, education and development. The paper illustrates the contribution of this perspective through the case of research on teachers and education reform in India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Education
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015

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