Memory and narrative: The power of experience

Year: 1994

Author: Rocco, Sharn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

That pedagogical practices are constituted in patriarchal institutions of power, knowledge production and schooling is the underlying assumption of this paper. This paper focuses upon the narratives of school experience produced by final-year early childhood teacher education students who participated in a "Collective Memory Work Project" titled One day my prince will come.

The analysis of stories of schooling addressed in this paper is guided by feminist poststructuralist theory. My intentions in pursuing this research is to contribute to feminist conversations about the process of feminine subjectification and investigate how the romantic storyline, as it is invested in life history, contributes to that process and becomes taken-for-granted. The critical premise of my work is that gender difference, as a discursively produced social structure, is invested in personal and institutionalised practices, and brings with it an emotional commitment to a gendered identity and a moral system that keeps it in place (Davies, 1990; Haug et al., 1987).

As will be shown in the analysis of memory stories addressed in this paper, schooling emerges as a critical site for this process of subjectification. From my analysis and reflection on the research process, questions will be posed for future patterns of teaching and meaning-making for those with a genuine interest in redressing the inequities of gender or wondering why the happily ever after always eludes them.