Action Research for Gender Equity

Action Research for Gender Equity

Action Research for Gender Equity

Action Research for Gender Equity


This book is about action research as a method for change and as a means of taking up feminist research in education. Theoretically it draws on feminist poststructural theories and discusses concerns with the normalizing and regulative aspects of dominant discourses. The concepts 'moments of equity' and 'moments of normalization' are used to highlight the contradictory and complex action research process. Empirically, it provides a story of an attempt to change the teaching practices of nine compulsory-school teachers and their pupils in Sweden.

Key features include:

• a new discussion of feminist theories, action research and the problems and possibilities of producing change in the classroom

• case-studies of female and male teachers and their participation in an extended attempt to change their own and their pupils' gendered practices

• a contribution to the debate on gender equity within postmodern society


At the end of the twentieth century it is not a new idea to have a series on feminist educational thinking – feminist perspectives on educational theory, research, policy and practice have made a notable impact on these fields in the final decades of the century. But theory and practice have evolved, and educational and political contexts have changed. In contemporary educational policy debates, economic efficiency rather than social inequality is a key concern; what happens to boys is drawing more interest than what happens to girls; issues about cultural difference interrupt questions about gender; and new forms of theory challenge older frameworks of analysis. This series represents feminist educational thinking as it takes up these developments now.

Feminist educational thinking views the intersection of education and gender through a variety of lenses: it examines schools and universities as sites for the enacting of gender; it explores the ways in which conceptions of gender shape the provision of state-supported education; it highlights the resistances subordinated groups have developed around ideas of knowledge, power and learning; and it seeks to understand the relationship of education to gendered conceptions of citizenship, the family and the economy. Thus feminist educational thinking is fundamentally political; it fuses theory and practice in seeking to understand contemporary education with the aim of building a more just world for women and men. In so doing, it acknowledges the reality of multiple ‘feminisms’ and the intertwining of ethnicity, race and gender.

Feminist educational thinking is influenced both by developments in feminist theory more broadly and by the changing global educational landscape. In terms of theory, both post-structuralist and post-colonial theories have profoundly influenced what is conceived of as ‘feminist’. As is true elsewhere, current feminist educational thinking takes as central the intersecting forces that shape the educational experiences of women and men. This emphasis on the construction and performances of gender through both . . .

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