"I can do anything I want...I can't do maths"

Year: 2013

Author: Wolfe, Melissa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper draws on the qualitative data from a survey of two groups of intergenerational women concerning their reflective experiences in Australian secondary schools.  The primary objective of this survey was to elicit perceptions and affective responses to the structures, practices and rituals participated in as a ‘school girl' subject.  This initial data is to inform an on-going study investigating negotiations of gendered structures of power and how they relate to the institution of education.  Although inconclusive these responses show interesting contradictions in perceptions of relationality and agency which may impact on understanding why and in what ways these female bodies understand the self as agentic and may broaden understandings of relationism and its impact on subject formation within the site of schooling.  This may lead to alternate understandings surrounding the ongoing contemporary dilemmas of gendered pathways regarding subject participation, activity choices and preferred professions in education and beyond for female bodies. Judith Butler's (2005, 2009) suppositions on subject production including self reflexivity, the fundamentality of relationality, and the opaqueness of this social address are explored within the shifting boundary of "social ontology"(2009, p. 3) of the body