Adlt 601 Class 12 Gender, Learning, And Feminist TheoriesPresentation Transcript
Gender and Adult Learning Social and Ethical Issues in Learning ADLT 601 – Class 12 November 5, 2009
Comments from last week?
Focus on gender and adult learning:
Why is gender an issue in learning?
“ Doing gender” – gender as socially constructed
Six categories of feminist theories
Gender and epistemology: the WWK project
Theory to practice: using what we know about gender to influence learning in the classroom / training setting
Why is gender an issue in education?
whose knowledge counts
whose voice is heard
whose social science matters
Alters practice in the classroom
Either challenges or reinforces the status quo in all social structures
“ Doing” gender
Gender is not something men and women have (a sex characteristic), but exists in what they do
Gender is produced is all social interactions
Thus, there is no social context that escapes “gendering”
Treats gender as a social practice that is variable and ongoing
Story # 1 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Liberal Feminist Theory
Oppression results from attitudes, customs, legal restraints
Obstacles for women:
Lack of access to good jobs
Unequal and/or inequitable pay
Even the playing field
Remove discriminatory laws
Education/training to remove stereotypes
Stay within the system to make a fair society
Liberal Feminist Examples
Sex as a discrete research variable
Lack of opportunities resulting from:
Glass ceiling, sexual harassment, lack of mentoring and networks; non-sex blind performance appraisals
Equal access; analyses of gender effects of organizational rules and regulations, affirmative action, work-family life balance; assertiveness training
Story # 2 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Radical Feminist Theory
Originated with 1960s women’s lib movement
Calls for transformation of legal, political, and social structures of patriarchy, including cultural institutions such as the family, church, academy, and even language
Envisions a new social order
Believes that women can regain a sense of wholeness and connectedness through cultural feminism: a counter-culture outside of patriarchy
Radical Feminist Thought
“ Consciousness-raising” allowed women to explore their experiences in light of systematic male domination
Emphasis on positive values of qualities identified with women: sensitivity, emotional expressiveness, nurturance
Women’s ways of knowing are emotional, non-verbal, spiritual in contrast to patriarchal ways of knowing that rely on reason and logic
Radical Feminist Examples
Workplace design features:
Flexible job designs
Distributing income equitably
Valuing non-opportunistic relationships
Committing to employee growth
Promoting community and cooperation
Recognizing ability or expertise rather than rank or position
Story # 3 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Psychoanalytic Feminist Theory
Reinterprets psychoanalytic theory (particularly, object-relations theories) in terms of cultural influences that influence women’s gender identity
Women’s ways of knowing are different from men’s because of different psychosexual development
Gender structures a social system of male domination
Psychoanalytic Feminist Thought
Belief that the rules, norms, ethos of business reflect the male developmental experience
Considers consequences of women’s different psychosexual development for roles in organizations and management
Recent research treats women’s differences not as a problem, but as advantages for corporate effectiveness
Women as leaders
Story # 4 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Socialist Feminist Theories
Emerged in 1970s as part of women’s lib movements to synthesize Marxist, radical (cultural), and psychoanalytic feminisms
Highlights the gendered division of labor
Addresses the intersection of gender, race, class, and sexuality
Especially concerned with epistemological issues – not only what is known, but how knowledge is constituted and for what purposes
Socialist Feminist Thought
The private sphere cannot be separated from the public
Organizations, families, and societies are mutually constituted through gender relations
Need for transformational change in personal and social relationships, a gender neutral wage structure, and equal compensation for all work, including dependent care
Considers women’s social location as standpoints
Story # 5 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Poststructuralist / Postmodern Feminist Theory
Originated in contemporary French poststructuralist critiques of “knowledge” and “identity”
Proposes deconstruction of discourses and practices
Epistemology is problematized by the heterogeneity of subject positions and social identities
Ellen Randall’s dilemma as a Poststructuralist/Postmodern Feminist The separation between the organizational practices that create the glass ceiling and the research practices that produce knowledge about it disappear in postmodern concepts. The “politics of knowledge” and the “politics of identity” constitute each other.
Story # 6 – What kind of feminist is Ellen Randall?
Third World/ (Post) Colonial Feminist Theories
Suspicious of “gender” as an analytical lens that can applied across cultures and histories
Belief that Western knowledge renders them “invisible” : a system of power relations deployed by the “West” on “the rest”
Extends postmodern deconstruction of Western texts to show how the production of Western knowledge legitimates imperialism and colonialism
Women’s Ways of Knowing Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, & Tarule (1986)
The WWK Project
Research began in late 1970s by 4 women psychologists studying human development
Believed that current “knowledge” and “truth” have been shaped by male-dominated culture
Realized very little research had been conducted on modes of learning, knowing, and valuing specific / common to women
Influenced by Nancy Chodorow (1978) and Jean Baker Miller (1976)
The WWK Project
Interviewed 135 women graduates or students in formal educational settings as well as “invisible colleges” (human services agency programs)
Sought to examine what was important about life and learning from HER point of view
Goal was to explore women’s experience as learners and knowers as well as review their histories for changing concepts of self and relationships with others
Resulted in 5,000 pages of transcripts in a 5 year project
Some of the interview questions…
What stands out for you in your life over the past few years? What kinds of things have been important?
How would you describe yourself to yourself?
What does being a woman mean to you?
Looking back over your whole life, can you tell me about a really powerful learning experience that you’ve had, in or out of school?
Sometimes people talk about “searching for the truth.” What do you think people mean when they say that?
Findings : Overwhelming use of metaphors of voice and silence to depict intellectual and ethical development
Gets knowledge through concrete experience, not words
Sees self as “deaf and dumb” with little ability to think
Survives by obedience to powerful, punitive Authority
Little awareness of power of language for sharing thoughts, insights, etc.
Knowledge received from Authorities
Sees self as capable/efficient learner; soaks up information.
Good listener. Remembers and reproduces knowledge. Seeks/invents strategies for remembering.
Intent on listening; seldom speaks up or gives opinion.
Knowledge springs from inner sources. Legitimate ideas need to feel right. Analysis may destroy knowledge.
Own opinions are unique, valued. Not concerned about correspondence between one’s own truth and external reality.
Listens to inner voice for the truth that is right for her.
Speaks her feelings/experience, with heart. Listens, needs others to listen without judging.
Recognizes different frameworks and realms of knowledge. Realizes positive role of analysis for evaluating and creating knowledge.
Aims to see world as it “really is.” Suspicious of unexamined knowledge.