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Travels around identity: transforming cultures of learned colonisation

McNiff, Jean (2012) Travels around identity: transforming cultures of learned colonisation. Educational Action Research, 20 (1). pp. 129-146.

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This paper is about: developing critical understandings about the nature and origins of one’s personal and professional identity; learning how to transform uncritically internalised and potentially damaging conceptualisations of identity and identity formation; saying why it is important to do so; and considering what kinds of texts can show the processes involved. Becoming critical means not simply accepting that ‘I’ am the person I see in the mirror or the ‘me’ my mother/partner/boss wishes me to be, but actively engaging with the experience of my own living ‘I’. This is especially important for action researchers involved in processes of social transformation, and trying to find ways of living their understandings in practice, which begins with developing capacity in critical self-reflection. Here I tell a story of how this capacity might be achieved, and some of the problematics involved. The story is about how two groups of teachers – one in Ireland and one in South Africa, studying for their higher degrees – and I as their supervisor, managed to find ways of reconceptualising what we thought were our stable identities, how we came to appreciate that those identities were culturally and historically constituted, and how we made our collaborative enquiries public. Thus we found ways of writing new stories about identity and identity formation, which, we hope, will influence new thinking about critical self-reflection in educational practices and research.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09650792.2012.647751
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/488

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