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Doing the 'second shift': gendered labour and the symbolic annihilation of teacher educators' work

journal contribution
posted on 2013-03-22, 11:56 authored by Ingrid M. Spencer
Reflecting on the experience of being a WoTE (Work of Teacher Education) project participant, and drawing on conceptualisations of teacher education as domestic labour, I argue that teacher educators’ closeness to classroom practice acts as a determining factor in their symbolic annihilation. Symbolic annihilation is a concept usually applied to study of the media and argues that the absence of representation, or underrepresentation, of some group of people (often based on their race, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, etc.), is a means of maintaining social inequality. Teacher educators’ necessary closeness to practice affects promotion, academic outputs and recognition and constitutes a two tier system that closely mirrors ‘blue collar/ white collar’ inequalities in wider society, underlining Bourdieu’s characterisation of academics as the ‘dominated fraction of the dominant class’. Reviewing data derived from my own practices as a teacher educator in relation to the larger WoTE data set, I argue that the feminised connotations of teacher education work enables our symbolic annihilation within public discourses, including in the wider education community. Following in a feminist herstory tradition, making transparent and valuing the intimate and feminised elements of our labour is therefore a necessary and political act.



Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, 2013, forthcoming.

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Education


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy


Taylor & Francis (Routledge)





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