Sexual harassment, oppression and resistance : a feminist ethnography of some young people from Henry James School
Halson, Jacqui (1992) Sexual harassment, oppression and resistance : a feminist ethnography of some young people from Henry James School. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1412754~S1
This research project is based on ethnographic observations of andinterviews with a sample
of nineteen young women about their experiences of sexual harassment in everyday life.
The fieldwork was carried out in a school. The aims of the project were to explore young
women's perceptions and negotiations of sexual harassment as much as to document the
variety of forms it took and to explore the role of schools in the institutionalization of
The methods employed and the methodological perspective adopted were both ethnographic
and feminist, underpinned by a realist philosophy and a standpoint epistemology. I
highlight the need to address questions about how methodology, epistemology and
substantive data are indissolubly interconnected. Thus, the traditional 'scientific' principles
of objective impartiality and unemotionality are explicitly challenged by the demand that we
reflect critically on -our own inevitably emotional knowledge of the world which we
investigate. The appeal to reflexivity rather than to reason or rationality (supposedly
unfettered by emotionality) profoundly challenges our understanding of what 'science'
means and, therefore, what knowledge is.
A definition of sexual harassment is offered. I argue that the phenomenon is a situated,
mundane and masculine power practice which reconstructs or reproduces patriarchal social
relations. It is patriarchy operationalized. Since the young women with whom I worked
collaborated in defining what the research was about by relating their experiences of
heterosex, the thesis also explores some of the oppressive continuities between these more
intimate encounters and sexual harassment in everyday life.
Given that sites of oppression are also potentially at least sites of resistance, the thesis
critically examines the ideological context which structures human agency and explores the
extent to which young women are empowered to resist rather than accommodate
themselves to the oppressive exercise of masculine power. I argue that the school
effectively reproduces the oppressive reality in which the young women live their everyday
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Sexual harassment of women -- Great Britain, Sexual harassment in education -- Great Britain|
|Official Date:||December 1992|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Department of Sociology|
|Supervisor(s)/Advisor:||Lovell, Terry ; Burgess, Robert G.|
|Sponsors:||Economic and Social Research Council (Great Britain) (ESRC)|
|Extent:||vii, 255 leaves|
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