NRG talk Weds 22 Feb 2017: ‘Teens, Texts and Tropes’ (Dr Michele Paule, Oxford Brookes)

Please see below details of this Wednesday’s NRG talk from Dr Michele Paule of Oxford Brookes University.

Dr Paule’s talk will take place 4-5pm in F309. All are very welcome and hope to see you there!

Teens, texts and tropes: an archaeological approach to ‘successful girl’ narratives

In this talk I will offer some insights into ‘successful girl’ narratives in popular and educational contexts, using Foucault’s (1969) Archaeology of Knowledge as a starting point for investigation. In doing so I am aware that the Archaeology not only has failed to attract the degree of interest from feminists that his work on genealogy, power and ethics has done, but also presents particular challenges to the possibility of agency through its relentless insistence on the ways in which discourse creates us. However, I argue that it offers a useful theoretical framework for understanding the reproduction of a pervasive discourse in a historical moment characterised by the dominance of neoliberal and postfeminist ideologies, and by unprecedented opportunities for the global and local dispersal of media narratives. Further, I suggest that the Archaeology enables the researcher to overcome some traditional divides in audience studies between text and viewer, and to address some tensions in qualitative research claims to ‘truth’. In my research, I show how this approach enables recognition of how ‘successful girl’ narratives circulate across educational and media institutions, and are taken up by girls themselves in ways that reproduce structural inequalities and gendered restrictions

Michele Paule works as a Senior Lecturer in Culture, Media and Education at Oxford Brookes University. Her research interests focus on youth and gender in media and educational contexts. Her doctoral thesis explored narratives of successful girlhood across school and media sites and is published by Routledge as Girlhood, Schools, and Media: Popular Discourses of Achieving Girls. She has previously published work on gendered learning myths, on popular constructs of ability and inclusion, and on youth engagement with gendered religious discourse on TV. In a previous incarnation as a teacher she also published extensively for practitioners and for students. Michele recently completed a European funded action research project looking at youth and the gendering of leadership in informal learning contexts in the UK and the Netherlands. She is also a (Labour) city councillor for one of Oxford’s largest housing estates.