Sex, sexual, and gender differences in Canadian K-12 schools: Theoretical and empirical perspectives on identity, policy, and practice

  • Author / Creator
    Wells, Kristopher
  • The research in this dissertation develops a multiperspective theoretical framework, which I describe as queer criticality, to guide the examination of discursive practices, educational policies, and public discourses that undergird heteronormativity and disproportionately impact the personal safety and professional wellbeing of sexual minority and gender variant (SMGV) teachers and students in Canadian K-12 schools. Queer criticality, as a theoretical construct, seeks to bring together and investigate aspects of critical theory, critical pedagogy, poststructuralism, and queer theory. My aim is not to attempt to reconcile these competing theories to produce a grand narrative or proscriptive way of theorizing; rather, I investigate the productive tensions that a notion of queer criticality can prompt for self-reflexive researchers when these theoretical perspectives are placed in dynamic relationship with one another. Accordingly, this collection of interwoven essays examine critically how research has positioned SMGV youth as both victims and, more recently, resilient survivors who experience a daily onslaught of homophobic, transphobic, and heterosexist violence in their schools, classrooms, and communities; it also explores interpretative frameworks and mobilization strategies used to politicize or privatize SMGV identities and concerns through educational policy and practice; and it utilizes empirical research to interrogate the lived effects of these heteronormative discourses and discursive practices on sexual minority teachers working for inclusive educational and social change; and transsexual teachers searching for a valued space and place for recognition of their personal and professional identities in their public schools. Ultimately, through these connected essays, this poststructural assemblage seeks to open up spaces for difference to be exposed and interrogated within K-12 public schools. It also works to help provide discursive materiality to sexual minority and gender variant identities by demonstrating how heteronormalizing discourses impact and shape the lived experiences of all teachers and students in Canadian schools. Ultimately, this research asks whose lives are deemed intelligible and, thus, liveable in our public schools.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Schrader, Alvin (School of Library and Information Sciences)
    • Snart, Fern (Educational Psychology)
    • Wimmer, Randy (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Martino, Wayne (University of Western Ontario)
    • Doherty, Maryanne (Secondary Education)