Disciplining identities: gender, geography and the culture of fieldtrips
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15389
This is an examination of geography disciplinary identities and practices as they are (re)produced during seven residential geography fieldtrips. The thesis is structured around four key arguments. First, is an analysis of particular disciplinary practices of residential fieldtrips, namely geographers’ preoccupation with Difference within and between places, and with ‘seeing the real world’. It is argued that geographers’ fascination with Difference for its own sake, risks Difference as a new form of essentialism if the structure of Difference is not critically examined. Following this is a deconstruction and decentering of the taken-for-granted ways in which geography fieldtrip knowledge has been (re)produced via scopic regimes that depend on a self-evident ‘reality’. Second, I argue that the residential geography fieldtrip is one context in which students learn what it means to be a ‘geography student’/‘geographer’. Students and staff live/breathe/eat geography. I call this embodied fieldwork. The notion of embodied fieldwork is taken further into a consideration of the ‘re-creation’ (in both senses of the word) of the geography student/geographer. Fieldwork was constructed as fun and in a parallel fashion, I questioned whether so-called fun and jokes might be better understood as achieving a particular kind of work. I examine how individual bodies are disciplined in particular ways, and how this disciplining is accommodated and/or resisted. Third, is an analysis of the contradictions of an assumed community of geography students and geographers. Some fieldtrip participants felt the pressure to join this corporate body even though it did not represent a group they would (usually) choose to be part of. A corporate body of geography students and staff together depends on unspecified notions of sameness. These notions, on closer analysis, turn out to have quite specific hierarchical meanings in terms of ‘race’, gender, class, sexuality, physical ability and age. Finally, are some suggestions for interventions in the social and epistemological practices of geographic fieldtrip education.
The University of Waikato
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