16 research outputs found

    “Plugging In” Epistemology: A Theoretical and Methodological Manoeuvre in Qualitative Research

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    In this paper I aim to illustrate how an epistemological three-way manoeuvre I propose may work in qualitative academic research. Epistemology is critical to my research because I live the topic that I research and in this paper I chart a three-way manoeuvre between and through an articulation of my researcher self, theoretical framing and the intent of the research project. This paper is my response to Jackson and Mazzei’s (2013) work “Plugging One Text into Another: Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research.” I have included the paper title here to introduce the reader to Jackson & Mazzei’s work earlier in my paper in which they advocate a “plugging in” of ceaseless variations of ideas and theories. I suggest that a “plugging in” of forthright epistemology in academic research is an important text that can “plug into” theory and data for rich explorations in qualitative research. Articulations of epistemological foundations of research allow researchers to be explicit about their worldview and acknowledge that it is integral to their researcher self and therefore impossible to separate from research practice. In this paper I demonstrate a methodological move through epistemology, drawing on the epistemology section in my own research work which details my researcher positioning and is able to examine how my experiences of sole parenting in higher education has influenced and informed this study. I consider three critical incidents; my initial assumptions and judgement about sole parents, regulatory exchanges I experienced as un-helpful as I transitioned into postgraduate education and the institutional structures of postgraduate timetabling as regulatory and potentially exclusionary. Articulating one’s research positionality infuses research with context and embeds a “thinking with theory” which can open up new meanings in research by foregrounding the epistemological pathway that is fundamental to the research process

    "Plugging In" Epistemology: A Theoretical and Methodological Manoeuvre in Qualitative Research

    No full text
    In this paper I aim to illustrate how an epistemological three-way manoeuvre I propose may work in qualitative academic research. Epistemology is critical to my research because I live the topic that I research and in this paper I chart a three-way manoeuvre between and through an articulation of my researcher self, theoretical framing and the intent of the research project. This paper is my response to Jackson and Mazzei's (2013) work "Plugging One Text into Another: Thinking with Theory in Qualitative Research." I have included the paper title here to introduce the reader to Jackson & Mazzei's work earlier in my paper in which they advocate a "plugging in" of ceaseless variations of ideas and theories. I suggest that a "plugging in" of forthright epistemology in academic research is an important text that can "plug into" theory and data for rich explorations in qualitative research. Articulations of epistemological foundations of research allow researchers to be explicit about their worldview and acknowledge that it is integral to their researcher self and therefore impossible to separate from research practice. In this paper I demonstrate a methodological move through epistemology, drawing on the epistemology section in my own research work which details my researcher positioning and is able to examine how my experiences of sole parenting in higher education has influenced and informed this study. I consider three critical incidents; my initial assumptions and judgement about sole parents, regulatory exchanges I experienced as un-helpful as I transitioned into postgraduate education and the institutional structures of postgraduate timetabling as regulatory and potentially exclusionary. Articulating one's research positionality infuses research with context and embeds a "thinking with theory" which can open up new meanings in research by foregrounding the epistemological pathway that is fundamental to the research process

    Towards a Decolonising Pedagogy: Understanding Australian Indigenous Studies through Critical Whiteness Theory and Film Pedagogy

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    This article explores student and teacher engagement with Australian Indigenous Studies. In this article I identify key themes in the film September (2007) that demonstrate how the film can be used as a catalyst for student learning and discussion. Critical whiteness theory provides a framework to explore three themes, the invisibility of whiteness, the reachability of whiteness and the cultural interface. Critical whiteness theory identifies the way in which non-Indigenous people centralise and normalise whiteness within colonised societies, and particularly considers how white privilege is maintained. Interpreting the film September through the lens of critical whiteness theory contributes to translating curriculum and social justice aims of education into action

    Towards a Decolonising Pedagogy: Understanding Australian Indigenous Studies through Critical Whiteness Theory and Film Pedagogy

    No full text
    This article explores student and teacher engagement with Australian Indigenous Studies. In this article I identify key themes in the film 'September' (2007) that demonstrate how the film can be used as a catalyst for student learning and discussion. Critical whiteness theory provides a framework to explore three themes, the invisibility of whiteness, the reachability of whiteness and the cultural interface. Critical whiteness theory identifies the way in which non-Indigenous people centralise and normalise whiteness within colonised societies, and particularly considers how white privilege is maintained. Interpreting the film 'September' through the lens of critical whiteness theory contributes to translating curriculum and social justice aims of education into action

    Sole Parent Students and Higher Education: Gender, Policy and Widening Participation

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    This book examines how sole parents are constituted within university contexts, through social discourse and social policies. The gendered assumptions of female parental care-work are analysed as both constraining and enabling sole parent participation in higher education. Social welfare policies and the policies of university institutions are also considered as central to the experiences of sole parents who study at universities. This book explores the sense of belonging and engagement for sole parents in higher education with a view to challenging how universities engage with under-represented and diverse students. Equitable access to higher education is important as a potentially transformative personal and social good and this book contributes new thinking to understanding why a university education remains elusive for many students

    Contesting family-based violence: sole parenting possibilities and alternatives

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    This paper considers problematic recognisability and deficit constructions of sole parent families which I suggest contribute to conditions that can perpetuate family-based violence. Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s safety (ANROWS) state that one in four women in Australia have experienced at least one incident of violence by an intimate partner, equating to 2.2 million women who, since the age of 15, have experienced male intimate partner violence. A proliferation of discourses constructing the deficit ‘single mother’ tends to reinscribe the centrality and normative power of the hetero-nuclear family. When we obscure and restrict choice and alternatives to familial forms we restrict the possibilities of these alternatives becoming liveable lives. When deficit constructions of sole parenting are reinforced, people in dangerous and untenable violent family circumstances are less likely to view sole parenting as a possibility for constituting an alternative and happy family life

    Performatively queer: sole parent postgraduates in the Australian academy

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    This paper draws on research that considers how gender and agency influence the engagement of sole parent postgraduates within the Australian academy. I argue that parental care responsibilities critically influence participation in higher education for sole parents. I suggest that the gendered construct of caring for children is a feminine performative which significantly determines how sole parents are able to engage with postgraduate education. By exploring motherhood practices and discourses as performatively queer, I am able to draw attention to everyday operations of motherhood and also begin to disrupt the naturalised link between female bodies and their care of children. This queering analysis aims to re-frame gendered constructs of feminine caring of children which significantly shapes participation and orientations towards higher education. Queer theory usefully investigates naturalised, so-called common-sense identity markers, including those re-inscribing gender. I suggest that 'motherhood' equals feminine and that this powerful gendered social construction is an important site of critique. I suggest that sole parenting can be materially different because it is often experienced through intensified levels of childcare, domestic and financial management responsibilities. I argue that this increased level of childcare, household work and financial responsibility has material implications for sole parent's time, energy and engagement with postgraduate education

    Recognition and accountability: sole parent postgraduates in university conditions

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    This paper aims to examine some of ways sole parents sought recognition as postgraduate students in Australian universities. Judith Butler's theory of recognition notes that recognition is always partial and any account we give of ourselves must be given to another. Participants articulated that supervisors were critical in the process of recognition; without recognition from an academic supervisor, postgraduates are unrecognisable and are unable to account for themselves. University timetabling often conflicted with sole parenting responsibilities, academic conference attendance and expectations of academic publications were understood as problematic factors in recognisability for sole parent postgraduates. Problematic supervisory relations, restricted access to academic classes or seminars and limited access to academic conferences exacerbated sole parent isolation and influenced their recognisability as sole parent postgraduates

    Geographies of emotion in university spaces: Sole parent postgraduate subjects negotiating 'child-free' educational boundaries

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    In this paper I explore the emotional geographies of Australian universities which tend to (re)produce higher education spaces as 'child-free'. Drawing on Butler's theoretical tool of performativity and Ahmed's conceptual use of emotion, I seek to examine how educable sole parent students are constituted in university spaces largely prescribed as child-free. By examining some experiences of sole parent postgraduates, I aim to demonstrate some of the ways emotions work to reinscribe and regulate academic recognisability through boundary maintenance of university spatial arrangements. The sole parent postgraduate experiences I draw from in this paper illustrate that educational spaces are not passive; they are productive and regulatory. Speech acts that (re)produce university spaces as 'child-free' have particular implications for sole parent postgraduates who often experience un-relenting responsibilities of child-care. Sole parent postgraduates in this study shared their experiences of emotional bonds with their children as often in conflict with their sense of belonging and engagement with university spaces and practices. Butler's theory of performativity is useful to examine some of the ways the conflict between sole parent childcare and postgraduate education is experienced and the potential for productive manoeuvres by sole parents to disrupt and re-work the emotional geographies within Australian higher education spaces

    Gender, agency and the engagement of sole parent postgraduates in the Australian academy

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    This thesis examines the experiences of sole parents within the institutional conditions of postgraduate education in Australian universities. To investigate how sole parents negotiate the conditions of postgraduate education I undertake a theoretical analysis of gender performativity and accountability drawing primarily on the works of Judith Butler (1997, 2005). Drawing from interviews with 10 sole parents, this research is a collective case study which is attentive to how gender is performed through particular constructions of gendered parenting at an intersecting point with postgraduate education. The distinctive experiences of sole parent postgraduates are significant because as at June 2012, there were 600,892 one parents families with dependent children in Australia, and most (84%) were female lead families, making up 22% of families (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011 Census). This represents a significant cohort within the Australian community, a group, I suggest, whose educational aspirations, experiences and outcomes remains under-researched. This research is contextualised by the 2008 Bradley Review into Higher Education in Australia, which stated an aim for 20% of university students to come from low socio-economic backgrounds. This 20% target remains un-met reflecting broader concerns in the widening participation agenda that has sought to redress the ongoing under-representation of diverse social groups in universities. This thesis makes an additional contribution to the body of academic literature regarding academic parenting by focusing on sole parent postgraduates, many of whom experience multiplied and intensified responsibilities of everyday parental care-work. The epistemology section of this thesis details my researcher positioning and examines how my experiences of sole parenting in higher education has influenced and informed this study. I consider three critical incidents; my initial assumptions and judgement about sole parents, regulatory exchanges I experienced as un-helpful as I transitioned into postgraduate education and the institutional structures of postgraduate timetabling as regulatory and potentially exclusionary. Drawing on Butler’s theory of performativity, this work acknowledges that sole parent postgraduates are never fully constituted whilst drawing attention to how norms repetitively operate. I have sought to illustrate ways in which participants opened up the possibility of altering and refusing normative patterns associated with gendered parental care to engage with university spaces that are constituted as ‘child-free’. Butler’s theory of recognisability provides a framework for critiquing university policies and practices and enables an exploration of the interrelated negotiations participants undertook in order to re-work their parental and postgraduate work. Theorising recognisability troubles the prescriptive and (re)productive negotiations between the sole parent participants and social welfare policy - the Welfare to Work policy. In this study I explore Butler’s notion of agency to illustrate how sole parent postgraduate participants responded to the enabling constraints of postgraduate education. Agency in this sense is understood as the opening up of alternative possibilities and this is demonstrated through the re-workings of family finances, flexibility of time and the management of childcare responsibilities within the enabling constraints of sole parenting and postgraduate education. This study is therefore a theoretical analysis that illustrates how the sole parent in this study mediated individual and institutional/structural factors which establish their conditions of account as postgraduates.Awards: Vice-Chancellor’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence in 2015
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