Why Collectivity? On the Problematization of Documentary Perspectives on Teaching

Daniel Goldmann


The documentary method, which was originally developed as a milieu research method in the study of friendship and leisure groups, has established itself in various fields of educational science. This also applies to school and teaching research. In this article, critical questions are asked about the fit between the documentary method and the subject of teaching. This is illustrated by the example of the systematic divergence of student and teacher habitus and thus the lack of a shared framework of orientation in the classroom. The thesis developed on the basis of this special problem and its solution formulates that observations of teaching with the documentary method tend to harmonize because of the primacy and thus the search for the conjunctive, which is maintained despite the absence of a common frame of orientation. As consequence, complexity dimensions can be overlooked. In my contribution, I trace the empirical and theoretical consequences of this primacy of conjunction and substantiate the thesis that a shift in primacy and an extension to other principles of sociality are necessary for a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of teaching. I thus address the fundamental question of the limits of the documentary method set by its methodological assumptions.


documentary method; praxeological sociology of knowledge; conjunction; teaching; contextural analysis; methodology; school theory

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.3.3241

Copyright (c) 2019 Daniel Goldmann

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