The life-career development and planning of young women: shaping selves in a rural community

dc.contributor.authorShepard, Blythe Catherine
dc.contributor.supervisorMarshall, Elizabeth Anne
dc.contributor.supervisorUhlemann, Max R. of Educational Psychology and Leadership Studiesen_US of Philosophy Ph.D.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study explored the ways in which young women perceived themselves in their rural context, now and in the future. Little attention has been paid to rural adolescents, especially in relation to life-career development. The majority of research efforts have ignored the diversity among rural communities. Additionally, little is known about how the unique qualities of a rural community affect female adolescent development and future life choices. An ethnographic-narrative method was chosen because the approach is sensitive to context, the emic perspective, and the construction of narratives embedded in the lived experience of participants. Eight young women, who were long-term residents, were interviewed using an open-ended, unstructured format. Participants expressed their understanding of their world through the completion of community life-space maps, the construction of possible selves, and by creating a photographic display. A four-phase narrative analysis involved four readings (Lieblich, Tuval-Mashiach, & Zilber, 1998): snapshots, life-course graphs, emotional charge, and themes and metathemes. Transcripts were summarized into snapshots of participants' social worlds. Life-course graphs uncovered personal construction of life stories. The emotional charge of participants' narratives revealed their response when talking about their futures. Four views toward the future were evident including apprehension, holding pattern, tentative, and anticipation. Their planning process could be described in four ways, no plans, fuzzy plans, tentative plans and concrete plans. Six metathemes emerged across the narratives: connected and disconnected, feeling supported and feeling unsupported, committed and uncommitted, opening and limiting, tangling with lines of tension, and looking within and looking beyond. Participants expressed a variety of perspectives on their rural experience. Their life-course development was complex, interactive, and affected by the environmental context of the rural community. The paths taken were varied. Their identity development occurred through relationships and varied across social worlds. Notions of the self as bounded and discrete made way for a view of permeable, connected selves through which experience flowed. A holistic, life-course perspective of life-career development widens the focus from the individual to include the social realm. Contexts, values, beliefs, psychosocial factors and other influences and their interrelatedness constitute the system of young rural women's life-career development.en_US
dc.rightsAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectCareer developmenten_US
dc.subjectRural womenen_US
dc.subjectRural youthen_US
dc.titleThe life-career development and planning of young women: shaping selves in a rural communityen_US


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