Rhythmanalysis as method for understanding the social complexity of school spaces

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This paper reports on Henri Lefebvre's methodological approach of 'rhythmanalysis' as a productive tool to understand the complex social constructions of school spaces. Schooling is founded on relationships. These relationships exist in multi-directional and multi-layered ways between teachers, students, school leadership, parents and carers, the school and local community, and official Departments of Education; but also between education policy, official curriculum, and official assessment regimes; and between the material spaces of schools such as school buildings, classrooms and outdoor spaces. These relations are complex and multidimensional, and are characterised by movement. This paper reports on the methodological approach of a recent ethnographic study in a secondary school in suburban Melbourne, Australia that investigated the complex socio-spatial relations that shape teachers’ intercultural work at this school. This paper reports on the nature of relations in school spaces across three domains - conceived, perceived and lived space - and identifies the kinds of rhythms these produce. I argue that this approach enables education researchers to examine in close detail the complex and mobile nature of relations that shape teachers' work in local settings, and may better inform a situated approach to curriculum and policy development.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in Education
Early online date13 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2023


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