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Pushing boundaries : exit and voice in Saudi mothers school choice

Alfadhel, Nooreya Mohamed (2012) Pushing boundaries : exit and voice in Saudi mothers school choice. EdD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

This study investigates the experiences and perceptions of Saudi mothers when they choose a school for their children in a time of changing political, cultural, and socio-economic developments in Saudi Arabia. The data was gathered from 15 Saudi mothers from upper middle and the affluent class of the Saudi society. Researching Saudi mothers' lived experiences within the context of Western literature on school choice, the study uses feminist standpoint theory to develop an intersectional analysis of how social class and gender operate in a restricted religious context for women. Personal narrative and auto-ethnography was also used to incorporate the author's story as it intersects with the wider issues of negotiating gendered restrictions in a patriarchal authoritarian State. The study investigates the significance of Saudi mothers' involvement as they engage on behalf of their families in their children's education and assess their educational choice with exit and voice as decision alternatives. The findings show that while religiously conservative trends remain strong within Saudi society, mothers can play key roles in their children's schooling. The educational care work they carry out for their children is shaped by emotional labour. Saudi mothers use their maternal identity as a site of struggle to alter their circumstances and make use of their power and resources to push their own social boundaries. To avoid restrictions on their own social and personal life style, some mothers exercised school choice by exiting schools in Saudi Arabia and making a daily journey to Bahrain to place their children in schools there. Mothers' responses to gendered restrictions imposed on them revealed some of the complexities of negotiating mothering identity when positioned between traditional culture, stringent religious values and patriarchal authority. The results of the study demonstrate that through school choice Saudi mothers were looking for prospects for change and emancipation. Through mothers' experiences of school choice, this study identifies how religious, social and cultural forces maintain a political system of gender inequality. The thesis concludes that a movement toward gender equality for mothers is only possible if wider religious and patriarchal forces are changed.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Additional Information: Thesis: (EdD) University of London Institute of Education, 2012.
Depositing User: Batch Import
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 15:31
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