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Title: Manifesting the teacher : a Foucauldian genealogy of practices and architectures functioning in the primary school classroom and the role they play in the formation of teacher subjectivity
Author: Stothard, Jack Bryne
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis is a history of the present which explores various facets of the primary school classroom and the effects these have on the subjectivity of the teacher. Inspired by the work of Michel Foucault (1926 - 1984), this thesis begins with a proposition that something is problematic and jarring about the ways in which the primary school classroom is portrayed. The Department for Education (2016) designate the educational process as an inherently good one, portraying education as the means to help individuals “to shape their own destiny” (p. 5). This thesis does not seek to add to or sit comfortably amongst such knowledge but rather seeks to destablise and challenge our strongly-held views regarding the inherent goodness of the educational process. To do this it explores the ways in which teacher identity is fashioned by a variety of disciplinary and pastoral practices rather than through individual agency and choice. By exploring and critiquing other genealogies, I offer an overview of genealogy from a Foucauldian perspective before generating a specific genealogical framework that is used throughout this exploration. Key Foucauldian texts (1991a, 1991b) are consulted to provide a general overview of the methodological tools available to produce a consistent and theoretically rigorous framework. To further contextualise this genealogical project, and establish a history of the historical classroom and teacher, I offer a genealogy of the historical teacher by referring to the work of Hunter (1995), Jones (1990) and Allen (2014). By exploring the political, cultural and historical conditions for the emergence of the teacher, focusing on the key historical figure Kay-Shuttleworth, I demonstrate that the teacher does not sit comfortably within a discourse of rationality and evolution but appeared many times in different forms due to particular circumstances. After fashioning a theoretical framework, I designate a genealogical conception of autoethnographic narrative to offer my own experiences for critique. I challenge the concept of experiential meaning and explore autobiography and autoethnography, reconceiving these methodologies as a means of disturbing and challenging the ability to speak truthfully. Autonarrative is, then, reconceptualised as a method to highlight the interplay of power within my own experiences and destabilise the assumption that one interpretation can be any more truthful than others. Using this conceptualisation, three experiential vignettes, which explore seemingly insignificant and innocuous practices, are offered and critiqued using key Foucauldian concepts of disciplinary and pastoral power. Finally, I draw together the thesis by considering to what extent teacher subjectivity is fashioned by institutional practices and architectures and, more broadly, by cultural and political factors. In doing so, I indicate the extent to which teachers, just as extensively as children, are subject to power relations that circulate throughout the classroom. Lastly, I address the genealogical problematic: this research does not propose ‘better’ ways to educate but seeks to encourage interrogations of truthful knowledge wherever they appear as a way forward.
Supervisor: Allen, Ansgar Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available