Ethnography in the educational contexts (2017/2018)

Course code
Leonardo Piasere
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
Lezioni prof. Piasere 2 Sem. IIA Leonardo Piasere

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Lezioni prof.ssa Pontrandolfo 4 Sem. IIA Stefania Pontrandolfo

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Learning outcomes

Knowledge and capacity to understand
At the end of the course, the student should:
- have a basic knowledge of the main fundamental methods of anthropological ethnography;
- have a basic knowledge of the main fundamental methods of ethnography in educational contexts;
- be aware of the current anthropological debate on educational responsibility.

Knowledge and capacity to apply understanding
At the end of the course, the student should be able to:
• apply the ethnographic method to educational contexts;
- conduct ethnographic research on educational responsibility.

Independent judgment
At the end of the course, students will have acquired:
• the capacity to methodologically analyze a text on its ethnographic bases;
• the fundamentals for anthropologically analyzing an educational context;
• the capacity to assess the difference between regulations and practices in an educational context.

Communication skills
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
• consciously use specific terms relating to anthropological ethnography themes;
• speak precisely about the differences and similarities between the various ethnographic theories;
• speak precisely about the problems involved in educational responsibility.

Capacity to learn
At the end of the course, the students should be able to:
• analyze the qualitative characteristics of an ethnographic study;
• identify and analyze the cultural constructions involved in educational responsibility.


- The ethnographic method according to Malinowski;
- Participant observation;
- Ethnographic conversation;
- Ethnographic census;
- Triangulation and iteration;
- Ethnography as experience;
- The concept of resonance;
- Context observation and description;
- One-sited and multi-sited ethnography;
- Productivity of ethnographic failures;
- Self-ethnography;
- Concept of educational responsibility;
- Ethnography of educational responsibility;
- Ethnographic research initiation in the educational field.

- basic knowledge of cultural anthropology contents;
- a good knowledge of the main educational and pedagogical theories.

Teaching methods
- Lectures with inter-active exchanges with the students;
- Attending students will have the possibility to conduct ethnographic surveys in an educational environment (both in and out of school),
which will be prepared, guided and discussed during the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

There will be one single test for the programme sections held by Prof. Piasere and Prof. Pontrandolfo and the assessment will be holistic. It will be carried out as follows:
Attending students will be able to choose between:
a) writing a report based on the ethnographic survey proposed during lessons. The structure of the report will be specific to the lessons;
b) written examination on the above-mentioned texts;
Non-attending students will sit a written examination on the above-mentioned texts.
Students must be able to demonstrate:
- to have understood the basic elements of ethnographic methods;
- to have understood how to apply ethnographic knowledge to educational contexts;
- to be able to express their own reasoning in a precise manner, identifying and selecting the essential elements;
- to be able to critically analyze the relationship between pedagogical-educational thought and ethnographic practice.

Reference books
Activity Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Lezioni prof. Piasere Angela Biscaldi Etnografia della responsabilità educativa CLUEB 2013 978-88-6633-130-8
Lezioni prof. Piasere F. Cappelletto Vivere l'etnografia SEID 2009 978-88-89473-11-5
Lezioni prof.ssa Pontrandolfo Biscaldi, Angela Etnografia della responsabilità educativa Archetipolibri 2013 978-88-6633-130-8
Lezioni prof.ssa Pontrandolfo Francesca Cappelletto (a cura di) Vivere l'etnografia (Edizione 1) SEID 2009 978-88-89473-11-5