This paper is based on an ethnographic study of a progressive high school programme that privileges critical thinking amongst its students. Drawing upon feminist poststructuralist educational research, we propose an analysis of classroom discourse in order to highlight the diverse legitimation processes that enable gendered subjectivities in one high school setting. Our findings indicate that pedagogic styles alter the pattern of legitimation for gendered subject positions in the three classroom settings studied, and create different possibilities for the interrogation of normative gender scripts in the classroom. While appeals to teacher authority are the basis for the legitimation of alternative gendered subject positions in all three classrooms, agential student-led interactions are more apparent in challenging normative gender scripts. Our study demonstrates the need to consider the diverse sources of discursive authority for gendered claims in schools and seeks nuance in understanding pedagogical authority and gendered knowledge construction.
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- high school
- poststructural feminist