ACE employs a critically reflexive approach to teaching and research that combines service learning, action research, sense of place theory, Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice, autoethnography, and the reflective techniques provided by Donald Schön’s work on the reflective practitioner.

These specific approaches to critical reflexivity contextualise, structure and support the students’ developing understanding of Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal relations in Australia, and the relation of Aboriginal peoples to students’ fields of creative practice, including screen arts and journalism. Bourdieu’s field theory enables students to position themselves and others in their field, and identify and understand its structures, networks and power relations. It allows for the consideration of the relations between all these elements, at the level of the objective and subjective, the individual, the field of practice and the social.

Schön’s insights into how professionals reflect in and on action provide specific questions for student reflection, and autoethnography encourages the use of reflexive narratives as students connect the personal (as well as the professional) self to the social. We use all three specific approaches to structure reflection, in both our teaching and research.


Benson, Rodney and Erik Neveu. 2005. Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre and Loïc J. D. Wacquant. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge UK: Polity Press.

Calhoun, Craig and Loïc Wacquant. 2002. “‘Everything is Social’: In Memoriam, Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)” Footnotes, February,

Ellis, Carolyn and Arthur P. Bochner. 2000. “Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity,” in Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S Lincoln (Eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research, Second Edition, pp. 733-768. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mason, Bonita. 2014. Journalism Practice and Critical Reflexivity: A death in custody interview. Pacific Media Review, 20(1), pp. 158-79.

Schön, Donald A. [1983] 1991. The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action. England: Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Smith, Mark 2001, donald schon (schön): learning, reflection and change, infed, available at:

Swartz, David. 1997. Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Wall, Sarah. 2008. “Easier Said than Done: Writing an autoethnography.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 7(1), pp. 38-53.