Neither polemical nor visionary: Language, professionalization, and the representation of women in the journals of adult education, 1929-1960

Melody M. Thompson, Fred M. Schied

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using Critical Language Study as the method of analysis, this paper explores the ways in which (a) the language used in early adult education journals to structure the professionalizing field mirrored and perpetuated hierarchical gender relationships of the larger society, and (b) descriptive and prescriptive leadership discourse made it difficult for readers to view women as leaders or potential leaders of the field. We argue that androcentric linguistic conventions limited the visibility of women as leaders and that the use of exclusionary language intensified as the field became more aware of and responsive to its marginality in relation to the larger educational field. Finally, we suggest an incompatibility between the field's changing values and an acceptance of women as leaders, and further suggest that this incompatibility may have contributed to the invisibility of women as leaders in histories of adult education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
JournalAdult Education Quarterly
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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