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Grappling with gender: Studying gender as educational content in teacher education
Uppsala Universitet. (STORIES)
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences. (Induction)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
Uppsala Universitet.
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Education has been given the role to contribute to the aspiration of a socially just society, which includes countering various forms of oppression in society. Teachers are thus given the responsibility for preparing their students not only to be aware of oppressive structures and practices, such as those related to gender oppression, but also to actively counteract them. How does teacher education prepare teachers for this task? In a planned research project, we aim to inquire into teacher education practices directed towards promoting gender equality, from a curriculum perspective. As teacher educators, we share the experience with many others that introducing gender related content is far from easy, and may raise resistance from several students. Our purpose is to increase our knowledge about what actually happens when teachers and students process this content together, when teachers plan and implement education and when students encounter and process it? It is also to open up a new way of inquiring into meaning making in relation to educational content, a way that takes into account the strong emotions that are not something to be done away with through increased knowledge (cf Britzman, 1998). Our theoretical lense draws from Kristeva’s work. Inspired by psychoanalysis, the creation of identity is in Kristeva’s (2000) way of reasoning an inner process that cannot be separated from the social, but where the meaning of the social stems from a person’s way of imagining it. The way a person imagines the world influences her actions and a shift in imagination involves a shift of ‘identity’ constantly evaporating a stable identity via the inside’s encounter with the outside – united through language. She introduces the expression subject-in-process (Kristeva, 2002) which places the attention upon the cumbersum process for an individual to become conscious of her images in relation to others in order to confront them, and if needed change them. In her way of reasoning images do not only operate on a conscious level – during our process of creating meaning unflattering images of oneself as acting subjects or images generally difficult to bear become supressed to the unconscious. This creates a false image of a stabile and “good” identity which renders it difficult to change our own world view and ways of acting even though we hurt other people. The subject-in-process as an unavoidable coalition and intermingle with the social (culture) is for Kristeva the main site for change and strife for opposing social violence. In a pilot study consisting of interviews with one student and one teacher educator, the teacher educator found that for some students, a change of perspective is achieved through distancing oneself from ones experiences, using theoretical concepts. For others it is only achieved through moving from ones concrete experiences towards theory. The teacher educator is aware of that he cannot separate his physical being from the content he deals with, being a male heterosexual. However, several times he has feared that his teaching and the discussions in class, aimed at challenging dichotomies, may have ended up resulting in the opposite.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-8730OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-8730DiVA: diva2:411900
Conference
AAACS, American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies, New Orleans, USA, 5-8 april 2011
Available from: 2011-04-19 Created: 2011-04-19 Last updated: 2014-12-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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