ERIC Number: ED468445
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-May
Reference Count: N/A
Incarcerated Women and the Construction of the Self.
Clark, M. Carolyn
A study examined how one group of marginalized women, the incarcerated, construct their sense of self. Using the notion of nonunitary subjectivity to analyze life history narratives, the study demonstrated how they create and sustain thematic coherence in their sense of self and how they manage contradiction, primarily through constructing a split self and by positioning themselves within discourses they see as advantaging them. Data were collected in two ways from 24 women incarcerated in Texas whom prison school faculty considered to be reflective, capable of human growth, and socialized to prison life. Ten were African-American, 7 were Hispanic, and 7 were Anglo. Life history interviews were conducted with each women. They were unstructured interviews done in two or three sessions of approximately 90 minutes each. After the interviews were completed, group meetings were held weekly for two hours over the course of a year. The cases of two women were studied in detail. For each, major events of her life were summarized, overarching themes in her narrative were identified, and a segment of her interview was examined in which she was in dialogue with herself about her life. Findings indicated two strategies dominate the way women manage contradiction. The first was to construct a split self, a conscious division of their subjective experiences and feelings that enables them to organize contradictory elements and manage them. The second was to position themselves within discourses that they see as advantageous to themselves, such as portraying themselves as"good mothers," whatever the reality of their mothering. (Contains 19 references.) (YLB)
Descriptors: Adult Development, Adult Education, Adult Learning, Discourse Communities, Educational Research, Females, Interviews, Personal Narratives, Prisoners, Psychological Characteristics, Self Concept Measures, Self Congruence, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Social Development
For full text: http://www.coe.uga.edu/hsp/monographs1/clark.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.
Authoring Institution: Georgia Univ., Athens. Dept. of Adult Education.