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An awareness of the feminist subject

an example of collective biography writing in poststructuralist discourse practice

Monne Wihlborg

pp. 257-280

Collective biography writing (CBW) involves the co-construction of narratives of memory. The narrator tells a story which, at the prompting of the co-participants, is suffused with emotional and sensory details as it is re-written. CBW is fundamentally concerned with the social construction of the self, in turns, that enables the possibility of becoming critically aware of ourselves in order to question that which is taken for granted. It is particularly useful in opening up methodological and philosophical spaces in which to discuss questions of justice, equality and diversity in the contexts of education and learning. Focus of this chapter is the narrative Steering the Pilot Boat which illustrates the sort of data generated in CBW and acts as the focus of the interpretations discussed in this chapter. The narrative may be seen as emphasising the autonomy of the girl who is demonstrating what she has learned – here, how to steer the boat – the CBW process enables a poststructuralist interpretation that calls attention to the context-specific contingency of her learning. Steering the Pilot Boat is concerned with informal learning but the insights obtained through this narrative can usefully illuminate more formal teaching and learning situations. Working collectively with narratives can be a powerful tool in becoming aware of how knowledge is constructed, and it is a methodology that is therefore highly pertinent to education and educational research.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-017-9282-0_13

Full citation:

Wihlborg, M. (2015)., An awareness of the feminist subject: an example of collective biography writing in poststructuralist discourse practice, in P. Smeyers, D. Bridges, N. C. Burbules & M. Griffiths (eds.), International handbook of interpretation in educational research, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 257-280.

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