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    The mermaids dive for freedom: Voices of feminist community activists plunging through neoliberal times


    Madden, Siobhan (2017) The mermaids dive for freedom: Voices of feminist community activists plunging through neoliberal times. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is based on a narrative inquiry with three feminist community activists. Its purpose is to provide a resource to support the radical praxis of feminist community educators in a neoliberal context which has appropriated both community education and feminism for a labour market agenda. It foregrounds listening to the voices and stories of women‟s community education, placing the women‟s voices at the heart of „the political‟. This involves a critical shift away from a politics of „gender equality‟ defined through policy rationalities. This shift is accomplished through a theoretical synthesis of Michel Foucault‟s neoliberal governmentality and Adriana Cavarero‟s feminist philosophy of the narratable self. This double analytic is framed through Hannah Arendt‟s distinction between the discursive registers of „what‟ and „who‟, linked to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill‟s poetic imaginary of the mermaid in exile on dry land who must forget about water. Time is a central theme here: the time of „what is‟ is the neutral linear time of closure and endings; the time of „who are you?‟ is a time of beginnings and becomings, where past, present and future are intermingled. The question posed is this: Whose political voices can become possible through neoliberal times? It brings forward delegitimised critical pedagogical knowledges of narrative processes, in response to the invitation to „Tell me a story of voice that has some significance to you as a feminist community activist‟. Based on these dialogues, the thesis contests state responses to violence against women as part of a disciplinary project of producing neoliberal subjects. The methodology is a critical intervention in the politics of representation, producing a heteroglossic text which interrogates policy rationalities through oral narratives. The thesis provides an account of neoliberal governmentality as enacting ontological, epistemic and political violence. It simultaneously opens onto the mermaid‟s sea worlds, discovering a fluid world of the „in-between‟ which creates boundless possibilities for radical feminist futures.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: mermaids; dive for freedom; feminist community activists; plunging; voices; neoliberal times;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 12115
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2020 15:29
    URI:

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