ERIC Number: EJ775222
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: 21
Identity, Difference, and Scholarly Narrative: Redefining a Poor, White Trash Childhood
Gerstl-Pepin, Cynthia I.
Educational Foundations, v17 n3 p7-18 Sum 2003
In this paper, the author explores her experiences growing up of being defined as "different" due to her class background. The author uses the term "difference" to mean how the concept of the "other" is defined and understood in this society. The "other" in this instance are individuals or groups who have existed on the margins of the society; those whose concerns and perspectives have been shrouded in "silence," left out of the discourse of the dominant culture. By exploring how the experiences of her home life, teachers and school organizations collided to designate her as "different" on many levels, the author attempts to show how conflicting internalized conceptions of self can develop. This interaction was inter-subjective, in the sense that her physical body did not change but her subjective perceptions together with the subjective perceptions of others saw different people within her. For this paper, the author makes the assertion that beyond small but obvious physical variations, people are not born with "differences," and that the assertion of "difference" can be a negative and thus, dangerous construction. Specifically, the author examines how her "difference" was defined and continued to be redefined as she developed; and how negative designations as "different" were externally and internally stigmatizing.
Descriptors: Family Life, Discourse Analysis, Early Childhood Education, Living Standards, Early Experience, Family Characteristics, Racial Identification, Ethnic Stereotypes, Individual Differences, Personal Narratives, Feminism, Social Class, Special Education, Academic Achievement
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A