Rurality research and rural education: exploratory and explanatory power
Balfour, Robert J.
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This article presents analysed data from the first year of the Rural Teacher Education Project (RTEP 2007–2009) with a view to illustrating how a generative theory of rurality as education research was developed, and for which ends it might be utilised. The article suggests that data from projects in rural communities, which take the rural as context, need to interrogate the role and purpose of education in such contexts in relation to notions of social and professional identity. I argue for the application of a social theory in which the rural is linked to the possibilities of identity and interaction in terms of the quality of teacher education and the quality of education in rural communities. The theory accounts for the ability of people (in this case teachers) to sustain themselves in space and time – both as subjects and agents able to resist or transform the environment, depending on resources available. It also illuminates the reality, or otherwise, of subjectivities and perceptions in our collective imaginary concerning education and the transformation project in South Africa.