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1 Like minded people Pedagogies of Practice: Learning for Active Citizenship Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning Thursday 6 th July 2006 Jan Etienne.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Like minded people Pedagogies of Practice: Learning for Active Citizenship Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning Thursday 6 th July 2006 Jan Etienne."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Like minded people Pedagogies of Practice: Learning for Active Citizenship Birkbeck Institute for Lifelong Learning Thursday 6 th July 2006 Jan Etienne and Sue Jackson

2 2 Background to the project Gender and citizenship Presentation of findings Analysis and conclusions Discussion

3 3 Background:

4 4 The National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) is the largest organisation for women in the UK with 215,000 members in England, Wales and the Islands. It exists to educate women to enable them to provide an effective role in the community

5 5 The 5 Federations in the project : 1)The largest Federation, with 248 institutes and 9500 members. It covers a large geographical area from the industrial south east to the rural villages of the region. 2)Large geographical area, sparsely populated and mainly consisting of rural farmlands and market towns. It has a total of 101 institutes. 3)The smallest Federation, with 33 institutes. It covers a largely urban area, including institutes in socially and ethnically diverse communities in on the outskirts of a large city. 4)With its headquarters in a city centre, and also including socially and ethnically diverse communities, the fourth Federation has 45 institutes in industrial towns as well as in a range of villages. 5)The fifth Federation has 95 institutes with 4000 members. It covers a diverse geographical area, from a major city to the Welsh valleys.

6 6 Considering gender and citizenship: Citizenship has been constructed on debates which focus on the public worlds and activities of men Little recognition is given, or importance attached, to the lifelong learning that develops through womens lives, networks and civic participation

7 7 Gendered relations Citizenship is not gender neutral … and in order to engage with concepts of citizenship, the gendered relations of patriarchal societies need to be fully understood Womens participation in political and public life remains limited, gender defined and unsupported (Gender Research Forum, 2002)

8 8 Aims in the context of communities As the largest womens organisation in Britain, the National Federation of Womens Institutes (NFWI) aims to offer women opportunities to impact in their communities and to influence local, national and global issues affecting the social, economic and environmental lives of their families and communities.

9 9 Mainly rural communities Of the responding Federation of Womens Institutes 60% described the location of their Federation as rural A lot of my relatives belong to the WI in rural areas

10 10 Impacting on local communities An active part of the community – contributing to the wider needs of those around us Traditional activities / very little new activities New Developments: In many parts of rural Glamorgan (Wales) – new activities with the help of funding

11 11 Political Voices Also important to the women was the development of political voices, both in local communities and in national campaigns Support for National WI campaigns 90@90 campaign (The BIG Walk) Supermarket packaging The Home Secretary said Crime in rural areas does not matter so much I said Excuse me!

12 12 Performing a useful role in my community? 20% of women considered this to be the most important benefits of being a member of the WI For most women, friendship and the company of like minded people was seen as most important

13 13 Other voluntary and community work / An active part of the community 60% Federation Chairmen and 70% women interviewed are involved in other voluntary activities in their local area The womens involvement were closely related to their roles in the WI I am a Parish Councillor, a Governor and a Church Warden I was a Magistrate for 26 years

14 14 Like Minded people In all my contact with the women – they referred to each other as Ladies We belonged to a Ladies Club for 20 years My mother was a WI member My neighbour is a WI member Singing Jerusalem gives us a sense of pride The WI are the best lobbyist in the country I belong to a Ladies Choir and we are immensely supportive to one another in exactly the same way as everybody I know in the WI

15 15 Contributing to the wider needs of those around us. Those around us tended to be fellow members of the WI Women describe being released from caring responsibilities to contribute to wider needs The WI grew from just housewives to something more important for the community

16 16 Active Citizenship The women were active citizens in the role of President or Secretary of their local WI I think the WI help promote women, we had two ladies who were mayors When we did the clean up in the village…we went into schools and spoke with the children They make the teas for the village, they help with the open gardens and peoples lunches If anythings happening in the village, the WI is on board!

17 17 Active citizenship and supporting family life Our findings indicate support from and for the family is important to the women: They moved away from the family and they seem to get lost on the way. They havent got any backup, they havent mother in law, mother near by when they need help If they have tragedies in their lives or special celebrations. Everybody looks after everybody else I was in the WI from the age of 15, simply to support my mother

18 18 Upholding family life and traditional family values – The Church We found strong connections with the church and the WI. Such connections stem from the numerous involvement with the Mothers union (connected to the church). My mother was part of the WI and the Mothers Union

19 19 Upholding traditional family values - Womens roles The women respected traditional family values My husband is the only child and his mother thought that you shouldnt want anything else other than your home, bringing up your children and your family and women that went out working were the causes of all the problems with the young people As a WI Adviser, it suddenly made me feel like I could do things other than domestic duties

20 20 Upholding traditional family values – boundaries and barriers to Active Citizenship When I got the chance to get out as my youngest son was 11 years old, I was terrified of what my mother in law was going to say – and I really do mean terrified

21 21 Upholding traditional family values - Like minded people We come from a generation that have been taught a little bit of these skills right from an early age If we could get young married mums involved The church group has young wives and perhaps we should consider working with them We did think of setting up a WI in the Asian community…..but there is another generation that has picked up more about our ways

22 22 Class, gender identity (Like Minded People) Its not that the others are excluded – its just they dont join us People have different values. We are people with similar values and expectations

23 23 Boundaries and barriers to active citizenship I have tried through the Parish Newsletter and residents newsletter to try to get younger people…….but..

24 24 Social Capital The concept of social capital is defined in terms of networks, norms and trust and draws on its possibilities for interweaving diverse sets of relationships and linking community and society (see Schuller 2001, Schuller et al 2000)

25 25 Inclusion or Exclusion Social capital : inclusion or exclusion? Communication may not be shared with outsider groups, and new ideas and skills may be ignored because they come from outside the network (Field, 2000: 129)

26 26 Conditions for active citizenship: Values and attitudes from influences such as family, friends and religious and cultural affiliations; Critical incidents which trigger more active social roles; Critical awareness of social conditions coupled with a perception of conditions as perceptive (Merricks and Edirisingha, 2001)

27 27 Adult education and civic participation? civic activity … could be seen as one of the most powerful modes of adult learning (providing) opportunities for motivation, achievement and self-esteem (Schuller, 2001)

28 28 Identity capital respectability is one of the most ubiquitous signifiers of class. It informs how we speak, who we speak to, how we classify others, what we study and how we know who we are (or are not) (Skeggs, 1997:1) analyses of social class must include a consideration of the way class identities (including middle class identities) are (re-) created and perpetuated in different contexts ( Jackson, 2006)

29 29 Cultural capital … Cultural capital can compensate for lack of money as part of an individuals or a groups strategy to pursue power and status (Field, 2005: 20). The jam making, and its associated images of middle-class (white, English and rural) feminine respectability, is still very much part of the story of the WI, enabling its members to draw on and accumulate the cultural capital of the Womens Institute (Jackson, 2006)

30 30 Conclusion People like us? All jam and Jerusalem?

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