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Title: Gender and the construction of identities in Indian elementary education
Author: Page, Elspeth
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2005
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This study is set in Madhya Pradesh, India, where development policy is inspired by the work of Amartya Sen, and education is valued as a mechanism for the equitable transformation of gender identities and relationships. The investigation is a mixed method case study focussing on two government elementary school classes. It explores the educational aspirations and practices of girls, their teachers and families; their formation; the achievements enabled by the intersection of these aspiration and practices and the factors shaping girls' different achievements. Sen's capability approach is used to access state pnonl1es and the foundational distributional, professional/institutional, knowledge and gender regimes of 'the social arrangements for education'. Connell's social embodiment paradigm frames deeper exploration of gender regimes and the construction of gender identities, focussing on power, production, emotional and symbolic relationships. Fieldwork was conducted over three phases, totalling thirteen months. Analysis of policy, statistics and textbooks provides the framework for ethnographic observations in schools, classrooms, offices and communities, supplemented by structured classroom observations, semi-structured interviews with teachers, pupils and families, and background data. The thesis focuses on Indian gender and education literature; state policy and programmes and their negotiations; schooling, gender, bureaucratic and professional regimes; families and family regimes; focus-school teachers and school regimes; focusclass teachers and classroom regimes and girls' aspirations and achievements. Dominant distributional, professional/institutional, knowledge and gender regimes discouraged any transformations, yet girls, families and teachers were dissatisfied with the status quo and inclined towards change. These fragile inclinations were undermined where teachers' de-professionalised positions compromised practice, school quality undermined family commitment and classroom regimes and curricula discouraged girls' success and persistence. When teachers, schooling and curricula enabled academic success and rendered girls' aspirations realistic, family commitment was encouraged and girls manipulated opportunities for greater autonomy. This 'virtuous circle' was significantly enhanced by one teacher's gender-sensitive practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available