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Title: Workers' Educational Association : a crisis of identity? : personal perspectives on changing professional identities
Author: Davis, Samantha Jayne
Awarding Body: Leeds Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Leeds Beckett University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis uses the personal narratives of six long-serving former Tutor Organisers to explore the impact of the state's educational policy on the WEA and its special educational mission. Although this historic mission has changed many times since its creation in 1903, its core values still maintain a commitment to provide educational opportunities to those who need them most and through socially purposeful adult education, achieve, 'a better world, just, equal and democratic' (WEA, 2013a). These rich biographical accounts - which span over 20 years - offer fascinating insights into the identities and practices of some of the WEA’s key agents, and in doing so, they reveal much about the organisational identity itself, and how over time and under certain conditions, these identities have been subject to change. Using Archer’s theory of human agency to analyse the narratives, a meta-narrative emerges to illustrate the importance of the structure/agency relationship between the WEA and its agents: a relationship which appears to have altered since the WEA's reorganisation in 2004. Based on a critical realist approach which appreciates the formation of identity over a lengthy timeframe, the findings of this study reveal that the WEA's identity has always been a contested site of struggle, and subject to powerful internal and external influences that result in an organisation that is not so much in crisis, as in contradiction. The evidence also suggests that the recalibration of the Association’s structure/agency relationship following the radical restructure of 2004 may be compromising its agents' practices and the WEA’s distinctive identity.
Supervisor: Clegg, Sue Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available