Critical Microethnography: The Search for Emancipatory Methods

  • Debra Mayes Pane Florida International University
  • Tonette S. Rocco Florida International University
Keywords: critical microethnography, alternative education, classroom research, oppressive educational practices, marginalized youth, social practices, literacy learning, USA


This article entails an audit trail recounting the dilemma that drove the lead author to search out teaching and research methods that recognized the reconceptualization of what she had always believed to be true about education. First, we include a segment of her auto/biography as a White Southern female teacher of marginalized youth that drove her to take risks, challenge the status quo, and finally close the door on institutionalized classroom practices. Then, we discuss the theoretical framework, assumptions, and rationale for a welcoming research method that seemed to mimic what she practiced in the classroom with marginalized youth to transform conditions. We have named this method critical microethnography. The article concludes with an explanation of how to conduct critical microethnography based upon a review of the literature. By understanding why and how language is used to create unjust and/or just classroom cultures, perhaps oppressive educational practices and conditions can begin to transform into caring and responsive curricula for the benefit of society. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0902129


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Author Biographies

Debra Mayes Pane, Florida International University
Debra Mayes PANE is a Ph.D. Candidate in Curriculum & Instruction (Language, Literacy, and Culture) at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
Tonette S. Rocco, Florida International University
Tonette S. ROCCO is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in Adult Education and Human Resource Development at Florida International University in Miami, Florida.
How to Cite
Pane, D. M., & Rocco, T. S. (2009). Critical Microethnography: The Search for Emancipatory Methods. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(2).