Sexuality, Gender and Schooling: Shifting Agendas in Social Learning

By Mary Jane Kehily | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Fragments from a fading career: personal narratives and emotional investments 1

In this chapter I aim to document the personal journey by which I became interested in researching issues of sexuality and schooling. Something that has now become an academic quest did not start out as such. Through the use of personal narratives drawn from my career as a teacher, this chapter will illustrate the ways in which my present research interest is inextricably linked to my biography as a teacher and my political and emotional investments in certain forms of pedagogic practice. The style and scope of this chapter is indebted to contemporary feminist analyses which embrace auto/biographical modes of social research and stress the importance of self-reflexivity to the process of fieldwork and analysis (see Reissman 1993; Stanley 1990; Walkerdine 1986b). The chapter is also shaped by a reading of Jane Miller's (1995) critical commentary on the autobiography of the question which discusses the complex relationship between personal investments and research agendas.


Educational routes and biographical moments

Like many people in their final year of an undergraduate degree, I 'drifted' into the idea of doing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education. It wasn't so much a conscious decision to become a teacher, more an unconscious and unspecified panic about what to do at a more general level. Contemporary 'lifestyle' lexicon refers to these moments as 'life choices' and 'career planning'. I don't recall thinking about it in such clearly defined ways but I do remember that education appeared an obvious 'choice'. I had been to school, I knew about it and in a strange way it felt safe and challenging at the same time. At this stage my musings on 'what

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