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The fetish of the lens: persistent sexist and ableist metaphor in education research
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2017, 00:00 authored by Lucinda McKnightLucinda McKnight, Ben WhitburnBen Whitburn
The scientific metaphor of the lens remains widely used in qualitative education research, despite critiques of positivism. Informed by two recently completed empirical doctoral studies relying on Metaphors We Live By, we propose that the attachment to the lens is a fetish. We argue that this fetish, evident even in purportedly feminist, post positivist and inclusive education research, emerges from fascination with masculinist and ableist power predicated on the othering of the feminine, and those with disabilities. Recourse to the language of power proves irresistible, if dangerous, for academics. We call for caution in the casual use of the lens and for new linguistic research repertoires that produce reality differently.