Feminist practice and poststructuralist theory weedon pdf
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- Postructuralism and Feminism: The Interplay between Gender, Language and Power
- Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory PDF
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Table of Contents We will know that the influence of poststructural feminism on educational communications and technology has arrived when handbooks like this no longer exist, when authorities no longer catalog the official view, and when the primary concerns of the field are no longer how best to produce efficient and effective learning materials but rather to speak with real live people of all genders, races, and classes, and to construct knowledge together. The idea of a handbook such as this, which tells people bow to do research, we find troublesome. Ironically, we are also glad to be included. It is a form of institutionalization and attempts to lead people towards some issues and away from others.
Postructuralism and Feminism: The Interplay between Gender, Language and Power
Scientific Research An Academic Publisher. The language within this particular theory and methodology excited me. Phrases such as critical pedagogy, oppression, emancipation, power and social construction meant that research I conducted might make a difference in the field of nursing and health education for mothers. I devoured books and articles written by Foucault , , , Weedon and other feminist scholars that pushed the limits of my thinking that had been influenced by a more linear scientific paradigm.
The perspectives from these scholars, my supervisor Dr Magda Lewis and other graduate students, were refreshing as I was able to discuss other ways of understanding the world in a safe space. These different ways of understanding the world spoke to the type of nurse and activist I believed I was. As I read, I saw many similarities between the writings of poststructural and feminist authors.
These epistemological and ontological positions helped to clearly frame the inequities that I saw within the profession of nursing and within the institution of mothering. Once I finished my Masters research thesis, I enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Toronto that allowed me to continue to explore the use of feminist post- structuralism and its application to nursing and mothering. At that time, there were a few feminist authors writing about poststructuralism including Weedon , Rossiter , Butler and Scott , I was excited to be able to contribute to this body of research and hoped that this methodological movement would continue to grow.
In , during my PhD studies, I gave birth to my first daughter and in , three weeks after defending my PhD, I gave birth to my second daughter. The personal experience of becoming a mother during the time of conducting my research about mothering and nursing was an amazing added dimension to my personal life, clinical practice and academic work. The lens of FPS informed my personal, professional and academic worlds. When my daughters were both in school, I was hired as a faculty member at Dalhousie University in where I continued my research using FPS and mentored graduate students and research assistants in the use of FPS.
I did find a book written by Cheek that is a wonderful introduction to poststructuralism and discourse analysis. Spending years conducting FPS research has proven to me that this methodology is exactly what is needed to analyze the relations of power that construct experiences of nurses and clients.
FPS has the potential to uncover the intricacies of interactions embedded within the health care system in ways that can offer meaningful directions for change to social, institutional and health care practices. I have both the privilege and the challenge to teach graduate students, research assistants and colleagues about FPS so that graduate students can move efficiently through their programs of study and complete comprehensive and meaningful research.
This has also allowed me to grow my own program of research through collaborative research studies. As a graduate student supervisor in nursing and health professions and a principal investigator of multiple research studies, I have had the privilege of working with many students and research assistants who bring different worldviews, learning styles and perspectives to the research process and the understanding of FPS. Their unique journeys have required me to teach and mentor them differently and subsequently discover the best way to teach FPS.
Feedback from my students and RAs has encouraged me to write this paper, as they believed it would be beneficial to others who want to understand or apply FPS to research and clinical practice. I hope that by sharing my experience and ways of understanding FPS, others will be inspired to use FPS in their own work as I believe this theory and methodology can be used to challenge the status quo and support health system changes. Before explaining my teaching strategies, I will begin with an overview of my understanding of FPS.
Throughout my Masters, PhD and academic career, I have chosen to focus on certain concepts from FPS; concepts that overlap, compliment and ultimately combine to create a synergistic philosophy and methodology that can offer a supportive and critical way of understanding and changing personal, social and institutional practices in a variety of settings.
My understanding of feminist methodology has changed over the years; however I still draw on original ideas from Weedon , Butler and Scott I believe that it is a revolutionary way to understand the world because it requires us to challenge normative Western assumptions about power that create binary opposites and notions of victimization and blame. In other words, we need to examine the complexities of how different discourses affect people and how people affect different discourses.
Power is not an entity, it is a relation in which one action may influence the action of others and can only exist when it is put into action. Power is not simply defined as the confrontation between two people, but rather it is the meaning given to the interaction.
Therefore, one needs to understand individual intent as well as how institutions and the social context in which the interaction takes place, are involved. Following an understanding of relations of power it is important to comprehend the concept of binary opposites as part of socially or institutionally constructed subject positions that lock people into stereotypical positions informed by uni-directional or polar ways of understanding power.
While Foucault argues that binary opposites are a highly problematic construct he also says it is an important place to start when examining and critically analyzing situations. The way in which knowledge is exchanged will provide clues as to how power relations may be involved in a particular exchange. More specifically, we need to pay attention to how people feel when they are communicating with each other and look closely at how exchanging information and ideas affects individuals.
One needs to analyze the intricacies of interactions in order to understand how power relations are involved in the investments people make in discourse as well as processes of normalization. Understanding regulated communications can enable researchers and clinicians to view power in a way that can address the process of interactions that are embedded in and constructed through institutions.
This particular focus on power makes us question the notion that social and institutional ideas are totalizing. When we believe that ideas are exclusively socially and institutionally controlling for example from medicine, the church or education, Foucault argues that individuals and groups of individuals will self-monitor their own and others everyday practices.
Foucault is well known for writing about the panopticon where inmates at a prison eventually self monitor their behavior even after guards have left their posts in the towers that overlook the inmates. Self monitoring that is connected to social norms can affect the beliefs, values and practices of people; however, if we also believe that the institution of medicine or the social institution of family do not act directly upon individuals it frees us to look for other ways that power operates between people.
The challenge is then to find ways to examine how power operates between people. Feminist theorists in the s and s also offered different methodologies that could examine the inequities and oppression experienced by women. These methodologies included personal and political understandings of power and had the potential to work well with many of the concepts put forth by Foucault. For example, some feminist scholars wrote about discourse analysis that provided a way to understand the complexities of power and personal experiences and how they were influenced by social and institutional constructs.
Butler , Scott and Weedon were three feminist theorists who influenced my work at the beginning of my academic career and continue to inform my scholarly work today. A focus on the oppression of women was my starting point and the examples provided by these feminist scholars about gender equity made sense.
I also saw a clear connection to other critical social scholars such as Spivak , Bell Hooks , Paulo Freire and my supervisor Dr. Roger Simon This led me to use FPS in studies that did not have gender as a central focus because I believed the concepts that originated from a feminist point of view would be relevant; and they were. A feminist analysis offers a framework to understand how all people appropriate and internalize, or conversely, resist and struggle against social, cultural and economic power relations.
To quote a well known feminist phrase the personal is political. Weedon writes:. By feminist critical practice I mean ways of understanding social and cultural practices which throw light on how gender power relations are constituted, reproduced and contested.
I begin by considering the relationship between feminism as a politics both of the personal and the social, and theory preface. Weedon is a feminist scholar and has written about the importance of understanding discursive fields as she believes it will provide a systematic way to examine how discourses compete as well as how a person experiences power. Weedon then goes on to discuss how discourses have the potential to govern the unconscious and conscious minds and emotions of people, as meaning is only created within discourses through a network of power relations p.
In the following quotation, although Weedon is referring to women as part of her feminist methodology, her point can be applied to all people today. A discursive field will affect where and how an individual acts and there may even be different and competing discourses that one must choose from.
It is a powerful statement that reminds me of the connection between personal experiences and social and institutional discourses. It is another overlap between feminism, poststructuralism and discourse analysis.
Again, Weedon describes this idea in the next quotation. Weedon states:. Power is a relation. It inheres in difference and is a dynamic of control and lack of control between discourses and the subjects, constituted by discourses, who are their agents. Power is exercised within discourses in the ways in which they constitute and govern individual subjects p.
Although Weedon wrote from a feminist stance that primarily focused on women, I continue to use her ideas about discourse analysis and apply them to research studies that do not always have women as a focal point. I have used concepts from feminism, poststructrualism and discourse analysis in studies looking at children with intellectual disabilities, clients experiencing obesity, and public health nursing and new mothers. The historical roots of feminism that only focused on the oppression of women has been an important starting point for my research, but I now use a broader and more inclusive lens that is not restricted to any one particular subject position.
I believe that feminist poststructuralism can be used across a variety of research areas because of its combination of methodologies that are both inclusive and responsive to relations of power in general. No matter whom the people are, the focus is always on their voices, their experiences, their language and their expressions of meaning about a situation. It is up to the participants to decide what they will share and how they tell their stories that focus on a subject position of their choosing such as gender, race, ability, age, job status or education.
How do they define themselves in society? Based on the work of Foucault and Weedon we can see how the use of discourse analysis and the concept of power as relational have the potential to deconstruct and offer an in-depth understanding of the experiences of people in a particular way.
Although the words are typed verbatim from audiotaped interviews, the meaning of their words and experiences must be handled with great care and attentiveness. Language is a crucial starting point for feminist poststructuralism. Language can serve as an obstacle to understanding or it can be used as the vehicle for freedom and liberation.
Our everyday language interprets the concreteness of feelings, thoughts and experiences. Language always exists in historically specific discourses.
This suggests that meaning changes depending on the setting or discursive context. This belief that meaning is always changing runs counter to the dominant discourse of language where meanings tend to be fixed in particular kinds of ways. If one believes there is a universal truth that is expressed in language, this may lead to problems. Fixed meanings need to be questioned in order to understand how they came to be.
I turn to Weedon again for her explanation of how common sense language can reproduce oppression. These meanings which inevitably favour the interests of particular social groups become fixed and widely accepted as true irrespective of sectional interests.
All common sense relies on a naive view of language as transparent and true… Weedon, pp. A person will give meaning to their experience through their subjective interpretation.
This is an important concept to note since it indicates that meaning is not guaranteed but changes depending on the setting. My Masters supervisor Dr. Magda Lewis presented a wonderful cultural example in one of our classes that I use today as a teaching example with my students. She asked us to tell her what chocolate chip cookie meant to us. We went around the group sharing our own personal meanings about chocolate chip cookies that included words such as home, warmth, mom, happiness, milk etc.
The words were predominantly positive and connected to mothers and home. Lewis then told us that chocolate chip cookies made her feel guilty because she had not learned how to make them for her children. This was a shocking revelation to me and is a great example to show how discourses create different meanings. I have used this example over the years and have elicited similar responses.
However, when I was in Norway recently, this same exercise did not have the same impact. Chocolate chip cookies were not socially part of what mothers did in Norway in and there were many different meanings and for some no connections at all to chocolate chip cookies.
Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory PDF
Feminist post-structuralist discourse analysis FPDA is a method of discourse analysis based on Chris Weedon 's  theories of feminist post-structuralism , and developed as a method of analysis by Judith Baxter  in FPDA is based on a combination of feminism and post-structuralism. FPDA is an approach to analysing the discourse of spoken interaction principally. The poststructualist part of FPDA views language as social practice and considers that people's identities and relationships are 'performed' through spoken interaction. FPDA analyses the ways in which speakers are 'positioned' by different and often competing 'discourses' according to Michel Foucault 's 49 definition as 'practices that systematically form the objects of which they speak'. According to this, speakers constantly move between powerful and powerless 'subject positions' as they talk and interact.
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Feminist practice and poststructuralist theory pdf FREE shipping on qualifying offers. Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory offers a clear and accessible introduction to poststructuralist theory. Given that feminist poststructuralism disrupts countless notions many of. Subjectivity, from text to discursive practices, and from signifier to signifying practices.
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Where does our sense of identity and belonging come from? How does culture produce and challenge identities? Identity and Culture looks at how different cultural narratives and practices work to constitute identity for individuals and groups in multi-ethnic, postcolonial societies. Uses examples from history, politics, fiction and the visual to examine the social power relations that create subject positions and forms of identityAnalyses how cultural texts and practices offer new forms of identity and agency that subvert dominant ideologiesThis book encompasses issues of class, race, and gender, with a particular focus on the mobilization of forms of ethnic identity in societies still governed by racism. It a key text for students in cultural studies, sociology of culture, literary studies, history, race and ethnicity studies, media and film studies, and gender studies. Sign up to our newsletter and receive discounts and inspiration for your next reading experience. We a good story.
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