The article explores leftist ethnography and its relation to educative research. It sees educative research as tied to understandings of the reflective practitioner, and explores models of research that validate and prioritise teacherpractice. It points towards a number of tensions surrounding such a strategy. The paper suggests that whilst dialogic forms of research may connect to an interest in empowerment and social justice, such a stance is limited and needs to be accompanied by a political economy of post-compulsory education which draws upon leftist ethnography. Such a practice can connect with wider structures of inequality and diverse social movements.