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Title:The relative autonomy of reading practices by critical, cultural, and social formations: An ethnographic and textual analysis of re-entry women students' interpretations of "Educating Rita"
Author(s):Page, Judy Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hay, James
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Women's Studies
Education, Reading
Sociology, General
Abstract:This study traces the 'relative autonomy' of discursive practices across a critical, cultural, and social formation by different 'interpretive communities' in response to the 1983 British film, "Educating Rita." Employing ethnography as its method, along with textual analysis, it has sought to discover how re-entry women students' interpretive practices of a film about a British working class woman's hunger for a university education articulate filmic structures of meaning to gender and to social class "habitus." The study asked these non-traditional students to relate the film to their own educational careers and lived experience.
Two previous Cultural Studies served as research exemplars. A study of working class youth by Paul Willis (1981) and of midwestern romance novel readers by Janice Radway (1984) shaped this research, which asked whether or not these non-traditional students' reading practices constituted an 'interpretive community'. Thirty extensive ethnographic interviews were gathered to construct a text of these women's voices. I sought in their constructions of self/Other relations the degree to which their interpretive practices privileged gender, articulated to social class conditionings, within a specific context--the female re-entry student population understood as a cultural formation.
The study concludes that re-entry women students' interpretive practices diverge sufficiently from the discursive practices of Cultural Studies, represented here as a critical formation, and from film reviewers articulating the film for the larger social formation. Moreover, I found that re-entry women students' interpretations in this study do not constitute an interpretive community in any enduring sense; rather, what their interpretive practices reflect is a "dance of gender," a pattern of "self-fashioning" in line with the circumstances of their daily lives and lived experiences, conditioned further by structures of power, resistance, institutional constraint, and innovation.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Page, Judy Lynn
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9236561
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9236561

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