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Title: Power Dynamics in Pedagogical Spaces: An Autoethnography of ‘Pastoral Power’ in Serangoon Junior College
Authors: Nicholas Ong Jing
Keywords: (Pastoral) Power, Autoethnography, Power/Knowledge, Discipline, Governmentality, (Relational) Space
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Nicholas Ong Jing (2018). Power Dynamics in Pedagogical Spaces: An Autoethnography of ‘Pastoral Power’ in Serangoon Junior College. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Power is ubiquitous. Some experience it by being at the receiving end of blunt threats and direct instructions, others through sound persuasion or devious manipulation. Some even find themselves in the position to influence others or effect change. Our experiences of power vary across space and time. With this in mind, the thesis draws on my personal encounters of power in Serangoon Junior College; this encompasses banal school activities (attending morning assembly and classroom tutorials) and clashes with figures of authority. The school space is deliberately selected to exemplify power as institutional spaces are power-­?laden arenas where power not only plays out but is inscribed upon. This place-­?based study employs autoethnography as the research methodology, for it enables me to acquire the persona of both the researcher and the research-­?subject. This constitutes an autoethnographic diary and conducting semi-­?structured interviews with school leaders and teachers, to uncover perspectives on power dynamics in pedagogical spaces. Utilizing Foucault’s ‘pastoral power’ as a conceptual framework, the aforementioned autoethnographic data collected will be analyzed in three areas: power through, power in and power beyond (the classroom) space. By doing so, the thesis aims to illustrate i) how ‘pastoral power’ is exercised and resisted, ii) the spatialities of ‘pastoral power’ and iii) the underlying rhetoric of ‘pastoral power’. Foucauldian theories of power will be paired with a relational interpretation of space to demonstrate how webs of relations are dynamically connected, and undergo constant mediation across space and time to bring particular teacher-­?student ii relations into form. Power is considered in different forms (discipline, governmentality, power/knowledge), each with their respective modalities (authority, domination, persuasion) and spatialities. Research findings reveal the geographical dimensions of ‘pastoral power’ and that ‘pastoral power’ is directed at the (re)production of life itself. Accordingly, this dissertation posits that an understanding of space is imperative in the exercise of power.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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