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Title: Fertile subject : a psycho-social exploration of professional femininities
Author: Smith, Merryn Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0004 2750 0208
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is about the knowledge, power and discursive production of contemporary western femininities. It is concerned with the politically sedimented power-knowledge relations and socio-historical, discursive, material and embodied processes by which particular versions of femininity are brought into being. The thesis investigates the modes by which femininity is currently constituted and experienced through discursive and material practices that exalt femininity as fluid/flexible in a historical context where subjects are also 'supposed to be sustained by a stable centre, an ego capable of resilience' (Walkerdine, 2003, p. 241). Through a psycho-social analysis of twelve biographical accounts of professional women aged 32-45, the research utilises an inter disciplinary approach to explore the discourses and narratives through which this deep irony is lived for women in the present, examining the place of subjectification and subjectivity. These practices are examined in relation to their constitutive and regulatory power through which women's emotions-desires fantasies and fears of loss and risk are made intelligible 'as personal failures when all there is available to understand these is an individual psychological discourse' (Walkerdine, 2003, p. 243). The research builds on feminist psycho-social, post-structural and governmentality studies tracking the complex and dynamic interrelations 'across variable daily actions, fantasies and narrations', (Driver, 2005, p. 23) where the social, cultural and psychological are strongly entwined with each other. It is the lived experiences of women in their negotiation of this complex process of ongoing transformation that the research explores, asking how are women's subjectivities produced through the social spaces that have opened up for them in specific historical conditions and cultural and social locations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available