Policy Discourses, Gender, and Education : Constructing Women's Status book cover
1st Edition

Policy Discourses, Gender, and Education
Constructing Women's Status

ISBN 9780415886062
Published August 9, 2010 by Routledge
234 Pages

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Book Description

Despite over thirty years of activism and legislation to eliminate discrimination, parity has yet to be achieved for women in academe. This book describes policy discourse analysis as a framework for considering how those involved in policy-making efforts may make use of discourses that inadvertently undermine the intended effect of the policies they set forth. Allan illustrates the methods of policy discourse analysis by describing their use in a study of twenty-one women's commission reports. In so doing, she highlights the important work of university women's commissions while uncovering policy silences and making visible the powerful discourses framing gender equity policy initiatives in higher education. Her findings reveals how dominant discourses of femininity, access, professionalism, race, and sexuality contribute to constructing women's status in complex and at times, contradictory ways. This important volume will interest researchers across a number of disciplines including policy studies, educational leadership, higher education and cultural studies of education.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Discourse, Power, and Knowledge: The Making of Subject Positions  3. Unthinking Policy: Why Policy Discourse Analysis?  4. Shaping Policy Discourse Analysis: A Hybrid Methodology  5. Doing Policy Discourse Analysis: An Illustration  6. University Women’s Commissions and Women’s Status: An Introduction  7. The Outsider: Policy Discourse Analysis and Women’s Access to Higher Education  8. The Vulnerable Outsider: Policy Discourse Analysis and Women’s Safety on Campus  9. Achieving Women: Shaping the Professional Subject  10. Discourse and Identity Differences: Constructing Women’s Status  11. Unthinking and Re/Thinking: Insights from Policy Discourses of University Women’s Commissions  12. Policy Discourse Analysis: Limits and Possibilities.  Appendix A: University Women’s Commission Official Reports used as Primary Data Sources.  Appendix B: Institutional Contexts of University Women’s Commissions.  Appendix C: Summary of Codes and Subcodes of Policy Discourse Analysis Study of University Women’s Commission Reports

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Elizabeth J. Allan is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Higher Education at the University of Maine.


"Higher education students and faculty who are interested in policy analysis would be well served by reading this book. The concepts of policy discourse analysis are often abstract and loaded with thick vocabulary. Allan makes the work as accessible as possible by providing a nice summary of important concepts and pairing it with specific examples. The book provides a remarkably rich reference source for policy discourse analysis, particularly as it relates to postmodern feminist scholarship."—Review of Higher Education