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Being a Female English Teacher: Narratives of Identities in the Iranian Academy
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Temporary embargo to allow publication
Despite the growing interest in the issue of identity formation in the broader TESOL research field, few studies have been concerned with the question of female teachers’ identity formation from a feminist poststructuralist perspective. This study also seeks to further the feminist poststructuralist research within the Iranian TESOL and bridge the substantive gap within the existing literature, which is an almost untouched area of research regarding the teachers’ identity formation. This thesis attempts to explore the construction of identities of eight Iranian female teachers of English and the discourses that shape them through examining their narratives, using data gathered from interviews and email correspondences. In a two-year collaboration with the participants, I applied a feminist poststructuralist conceptual framework to examine the participants’ main subject positions and the prevailing discursive practices that construct them. The research data, collected by individual interviews and email correspondence, indicates the teachers’ identities as multiple, complex, and contradictory. I contend that multiple subject positions stem out of the clash of the multiple discourses that are available to them. Impacted by both gender and professional discourses that sometimes even collide, the findings show how these women struggle to conceive a sense of coherent self. The results of the analysis indicate that the gender and professional discourses are of normative, disciplinary, and individualizing nature. Negotiating identities within themselves and within the complex cultural context they live in, these female teachers are involved in an ongoing process of adjustment, adaptation and resistance.
EdD in TESOL