Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: At the centre : a case study of a feminist learning culture
Author: O'Grady, Maeve
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 015X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Women's community education in the Republic of Ireland originated in the 1980s from grassroots community development groups to address social, economic and political disadvantage. 'At the Centre' is a case study of a feminist organisation concerned about the individualised outcomes sought by programme funders that contrast with its mission of collective action for social change. This mission is characteristic of radical adult education and is inspired by feminist theory and by Freire 's (1970) theory of liberatory pedagogy. The specific research question is: what habitus shifts result from participation in women's community education? These changes are assessed in relation to the broader question of whether they can be deemed 'domesticating' or 'liberating' in Freire's terms, Bourdieu's (200 1) idea of field and habitus provides the theoretical frame connecting a learning culture to the impact it has on the disposition, or habitus, of participants. An ethnographic approach was used to collect data from interviews, observations and material, enabling analysis at the micro-level of the habitus of participants, the meso-level of the Centre as a learning culture, and the macro-level context of societal structures. Participants identified significant factors about participation that are a different experience for them: time, safe space, recognition, support, and challenge. The changes they speak of are experienced at an emotional level as well as at a cognitive level, indicating that the learning culture is grounded in their primary habitus and epistemological stages. The study shows that relational and affective aspects of participation are a significant contribution to their well-being and a change in their sense of themselves as knowers. Dominant discourses in lifelong learning neglect these aspects: sociocultural approaches to learning are used by groups who do it for themselves.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available