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ERIC Number: ED551390
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 324
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-8325-7
Histories of Discipline: The Performative Re/Productions of Subjectivities of Secondary English Teachers
Stanko, Rebecca Louise
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Research on teaching, and research about secondary English teachers in particular, has focused on classroom practice. This focus implicitly devalues knowledges beyond those related to classroom practice, and re/produces a public/private divide in the subjectivities of teachers in which "teacher identity" and "teacher knowledge" are considered discrete entities. In this study, I draw on poststructuralist and feminist poststructuralist theories, relying specifically on notions of power-knowledge, discourse, and performativity (Butler, 1990), to inform a conception of subjectivities and knowledges as contingent, intersecting, and re/produced in tandem. During this qualitative study, six secondary English teachers participated in three individual, semi-structured interviews and one focus group over the course of an academic semester. All participants were members of the same department in a large, northeastern, "urban/suburban" high school under corrective action by the state. I interpreted participants' narratives, derived from interview transcripts and conceptualized as performative re/productions of subjectivities and knowledges, in relation to dominant discourses around teaching and the discipline of English in the school context. One participant, a teacher of several remedial courses, participated in interrelated discourses of neoliberalism, accountability, and merit, through which she re/constructed English as a set of skills necessary for "success," defined in neoliberal terms of individual responsibility, competition, and survival. Two participants, teachers of honors-level courses, re/constructed English as an intellectually elevated pursuit and re/produced autonomous, stoic, hegemonic masculinities through which they positioned themselves as isolated from accountability practices and the feminized histories of teaching and English. Participants' negotiations of subject positions effected costs--psychic and material consequences--including vulnerability, alienation, silencing, and mis/recognition. While participants' narratives re/produced power and gender hierarchies, specifically in relation to teaching and English, their narratives suggest possibilities for subverting such hierarchical norms by engaging teachers in reflexive and autobiographical work that considers subjectivities and knowledges to be fluid, shifting, and partial. The narratives generated for this study raise new questions about the ways in which teachers' subjectivities and knowledge are regulated with/in and by the discourses around the particular academic disciplines and courses they teach, and what assumptions about youth, teachers, and knowledge are embedded in those discursive contexts. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A