Popularizing dissent: A civil society perspective

Judy Motion, Shirley Leitch, C Kay Weaver

This article theorizes civil society groups’ attempts to popularize opposition to genetic modification in New Zealand as deliberative interventions that seek to open up public participation in science–society governance. In this case, the popularization strategies were designed to intensify concerns about social justice and democratic incursions, mobilize dissent and offer meaningful mechanisms for navigating and participating in public protest. Such civic popularization efforts, we argue, are more likely to succeed when popularity and politicization strategies are judiciously integrated to escalate controversy, re-negotiate power relations and provoke agency and action.



The challenges of science journalism: The perspectives of scientists, science communication advisors and journalists from New Zealand

Douglas James Ashwell

The news media play an important role in informing the public about scientific and technological developments. Some argue that restructuring and downsizing result in journalists coming under increased pressure to produce copy, leading them to use more public relations material to meet their deadlines. This article explores science journalism in the highly commercialised media market of New Zealand. Using semi-structured interviews with scientists, science communication advisors and journalists, the study finds communication advisors and scientists believe most media outlets, excluding public service media, report science poorly. Furthermore, restructuring and staff cuts have placed the journalists interviewed under increasing pressure. While smaller newspapers appear to be printing press releases verbatim, metropolitan newspaper journalists still exercise control over their use of such material. The results suggest these journalists will continue to resist increasing their use of public relations material for some time to come.


Ethnographic performance: a change agent for drama teaching and learning

R. Sallis

This article considers the ways in which an ethnographic performance can be an effective means of data generation, analysis and presentation for a researcher working in collaboration with drama teachers and students in an educational setting. The creation of the ethnodramatic play was part of a three-year Ph.D. educational ethnography conducted by the researcher in the Drama department of an inner-city co-educational government school in Melbourne, Australia. The researcher mapped the development of the play including how the drama teachers and their students collaborated on its development by providing feedback as it was being written and performed. The topic of the play was boys’ participation in drama in a co-educational learning environment, how they ‘performed’ gender in the classes and how this affected, and was affected by, the drama teachers, the female students and other males in the class. The article examines how the development of the ethnodramatic play was a transformative experience for the school community. The ethnodramatic process affected a change for the better in the work habits of the teachers and how some of their students viewed their participation in the drama classes.


From teacher-in-role to researcher-in-role: possibilities for repositioning children through role-based strategies in classroom research

V. Aitken

This article describes the drama-based research strategy ‘researcher-in-role’, developed during the two-year Connecting Curriculum, Connecting Learning project, based in New Zealand. First, a definition of researcher-in-role is offered along with a survey of relevant literature. Then the evolution and implementation of the strategy within the project is described, and the importance of clear signalling and implications for notions of ‘informed consent’ are explored. Next, the paper shares the data generated where researcher-in-role was used during learning conversations with students. Responses to the researcher-in-role are compared to data generated by a traditional researcher in the same three classrooms. It is shown how the researcher-in-role strategy resulted in data of a different, more complex discursive quality than that generated by the traditional researcher. The data arising, and the strategy itself, are considered through the lens of positioning theory. It is argued that the researcher-in-role strategy entailed a repositioning of the researcher, which in turn opened possibilities for new storylines and admissible actions – including speech acts – to be played out by children within the research relationship. It is also argued that this repositioning resulted in generation of more authentic data, with children more comfortable to reveal their emergent understandings, in the form of advice, instruction or exhortation. The article concludes by suggesting that the researcher-in-role strategy should be of interest not only to drama education researchers but also for other classroom researchers interested in repositioning children and engaging in complex dialogic exchange.