Interlocking systems of power, privilege, and oppression in adult higher education classes

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This qualitative comparative case study was guided by a feminist-materialist theoretical framework, and examined how power relationships predominantly based on gender but including race, class, and age were manifested in higher education classrooms of adult students. Two master’s level counseling classes were chosen for the study, one was taught by a male professor and the other by a femal professor. The predominant means of data collection were audiotaped participant-observations of the classes; interviews and document analysis were additional sources of data. Data were analyzed according to the constant comparative method. Major findings of the study are: (a) students who benefit from interlockng systems of privilege have more power in the classroom; (b) the male professor tended to exert more control than the female professor; and (c) middle-aged women with more education tend to be more participatory, at least in classes where affective forms of knowledge are valued.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-226
Number of pages24
JournalAdult Education Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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