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The articulation of class and gender relations: an empirical study of secretarial education and secretarial labour processes.

Gibb, Valerie Ann Catherine. (1992) The articulation of class and gender relations: an empirical study of secretarial education and secretarial labour processes. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

The thesis is about class relations, gender relations, and the relations between these analytically separable systems of social differentiation. A method of articulation is developed which focusses particular attention on the complexities of the connections between class and gender relations. It is argued that these complexities are constituted in the coherencies, incoherencies, contradictions, tensions and ambiguities between and within these categories of relations. These are explored within the production and education contexts, as well as in the context of the relationship between these two sets of social institutions. Basically this method explores the moving, informing and shaping of the structures of class and of gender relations by each other. The method of articulation, proposed in the thesis, is based on a structuration process approach. Analysis centres, in the first instance, on the differences and similarities between substantive expressions of gender relations and between substantive expressions of class relations. Analysis then proceeds to examining the pattern in which certain forms of gender, and certain forms of class, subordination/superordination, coincide. In other words, analysis explores a distinctive category of relations, constituted by emergent patterns at points of interconstitution of these analytically separable sets of relations. In short, this method analyses the structures of class and of gender relations as working on and through each other. This is conceptualized as structural agency. Connections between structural agency and human agency are explored as a component of the articulation of class and gender relations. The empirical focus of the thesis is a specific sphere of 'women's work and education'. That is, inter-connections between class relations and gender relations are explored by using the proposed method of articulation to analyse reproduction of secretarial labour power within education and the mechanisms which connect this vocational education with secretarial production. Secondary source data on secretarial labour processes are re-analysed through the method of articulation developed in the thesis. A major source of original data on secretarial education is a comparative case study of relevant courses in two sharply contrasting colleges. This case study compares in detail the institutional structures, cultures and processes of an elite private secretarial college with the procedures adopted in equivalent courses in a state college of further education. Articulation analysis of secretarial education indicates that both class and gender relations are reproduced in this sphere of vocational education. The perspective developed in this study suggests that challenges and confrontations, by secretarial teachers, students and workers, in respect of the class and gender constraints which they experience, contribute towards reproduction of these systems of social inequalities. As such, this study engages with those existing conceptual frameworks, and those analyses of the reproduction of secretarial labour power, which suggest that reproduction of class and gender relations is exclusively or primarily a feature of the acquiescence and accommodation, of relevant constraints on action, on the part of women students, teachers and workers in gender specific areas of education and work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Office studies,Vocational education,Secretarial work,Sex role,Social class,Office workers,Women's employment,Cultural environment,Social control
Subjects: Departments > Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Welshman
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2014 11:03
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2015 14:05
View Record in Library Catalogue: http://ioe.sirsidynix.net.uk/uhtbin/cgisirsi/x/0/0/5/3?searchdata1=a125748{CKEY}
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