Symbolising the maternal: a genealogical study of Maltese women educators

Galea, S., 2002. Symbolising the maternal: a genealogical study of Maltese women educators. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis aims to symbolise the maternal through an exploration of the associations of women teachers with mothering practices, focusing in particular on how these develop within a Maltese context. The main argument of the thesis is that as women's and especially Maltese women's subjectivities are identified through their various associations with the maternal, it is difficult, as it is ineffective to completely disregard such discourses in attempting to symbolise women. The research explores the ways women use their maternal positionings as women, and especially those as teachers to go beyond limited associations of the maternal.

The theoretical framework for this study is made up of some of the most important ideas of Luce Irigaray and Michel Foucault. Foucault's work on power and self-creation inspires the research but especially his method of genealogy that informs the analysis of the associations between teaching and mothering, as we know them in the present. The study also draws on Irigaray's critique of phallocentric social systems; her notion of establishing relations between women and maternal genealogies and above all her arguments for women's own symbolisation of themselves as subjects.

The thesis, however, is not entirely framed by what these theorists say. It is directed by the conversations with eleven women teachers about mothering and teaching. This is an original attempt to intertwine the theories of two well established authors with the ideas and philosophies of these women teachers aiming at symbolising these women as creators of their own knowledges as well as creators of their own selves.

The conversations are also powerful sources of subversive symbolisations of these women's links with the maternal. In a similar way, the women's understandings of mothering are originally and metaphorically used to discuss the research methodology issues. Furthermore, the presentation of these women's philosophies of education, re-think the maternal and conceptualise educational practices in diverse ways.

The research indicates that although women teachers are particularly limited in being recognised as maternal beings, the ways some of the participants in this study think and construct themselves as women, teachers and/or mothers go beyond such constraints. It is these women's creation of themselves differently which is particularly symbolised here, hoping that such representations inspire other women to do likewise.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Galea, S.
Date: 2002
ISBN: 9781369323054
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 30 Nov 2020 16:15
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2023 10:58

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