Becoming schoolgirls: the ambivalent project of subjectification


Davies, Bronwyn, Dormer, Suzy, Gannon, Sue, Laws, Cath, Rocco, Sharn, Taguchi, Hillevi Lenz and McCann, Helen. 2001. "Becoming schoolgirls: the ambivalent project of subjectification." Gender and Education. 13 (2), pp. 167-182.
Article Title

Becoming schoolgirls: the ambivalent project of subjectification

ERA Journal ID11140
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsDavies, Bronwyn (Author), Dormer, Suzy (Author), Gannon, Sue (Author), Laws, Cath (Author), Rocco, Sharn (Author), Taguchi, Hillevi Lenz (Author) and McCann, Helen (Author)
Journal TitleGender and Education
Journal Citation13 (2), pp. 167-182
Number of Pages16
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web Address (URL)

In this article, the authors examine the concept and practices of subjectification; that is, the processes through which we are subjected, and actively take up as our own the terms of our subjection. They use Judith Butler’s theorising of subjection both as a starting point for working with their own memories of being subjected in school settings, and as the theoretical basis of their analysis of subjectification. Their method of working, which they refer to as collective biography, is derived from Haug et al.’s methods developed in Female Sexualization. Their memories focus on aspects of the achievement of the individual, appropriate(d) schoolgirl subject who simultaneously constitutes herself and is constituted through discourse. They analyse the illusion of autonomy through which modern subjects are made possible, and the inevitable ambivalence that is experienced as schoolgirls take themselves up appropriately within the possibilities made available to them. Through re-membering their own pasts, and the embodied and emotional detail through which we became (and go on becoming) subjects, they open up for inspection the contradictory ground of the humanist subject, and in particular the feminine humanist subject, as it is achieved in educational settings.

Keywordsfeminist theory; gender; expectations; biography; memory writing
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440599. Gender studies not elsewhere classified
520502. Gender psychology
390406. Gender, sexuality and education
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Byline AffiliationsJames Cook University
Stockholm Institute of Education, Sweden
Faculty of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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