"I could go work in a factory, but this is something I want to achieve": Narratives into social action
This paper is conceptually informed by a reading of Peter McLaren's work (1993). Drawing on the
relationship that he signals between identity, narrative, and social action, it sets out to examine the
ways in which identity shapes narratives of academic performance and consequent action.
SpeciŽcally, I present the narratives of academic performance of a social grouping within a cohort
of preprimary teacher education students. These students are all women, historically classiŽed
'coloured' and of working class origin. Argument is presented that students interpret and
reconstruct their personal histories and particular social locations through the material and
discursive contexts to which they have access. The students are presented as active agentsĐ
producing themselves within existing, and often potentially contradictory, material and discursive
contexts. Evidence is marshalled to frame an argument that students' narratives shape their social
action as agents of history, and are implicated in the distribution of privilege within society.
The substantial financial support of a
SYLFF Fellowship for the research project upon which this paper is based is gratefully
acknowledged. The Žnancial assistance of National Research Foundation (NRF)
towards this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions
arrived at are those of the author and are not necessarily attributed to the National
Narratives; Social action; Teacher education; South Africa
Type of publication|
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McMillan, W. (2004). "I could go work in a factory, but this is something I want to achieve": Narratives into social action. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 7(2):115 - 134
Cape Town - University of Western Cape
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