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It's for me: Communicating Agentic Identities in Narratives of Volunteering
Crane, Shannah Leigh
Pauley, Perry MLindemann, KurtPrice, Kimala
Approached from feminist poststructuralist and standpoint perspectives, this research investigates the communication of identity through narratives of volunteering. Guided by the research questions: "How do individuals who volunteer communicate identity through narratives of volunteer experiences? And what forms of identity do these take?" the researcher conducted 25 interviews to gather data for this study. Analysis of these data reveals that individuals who volunteer frame volunteering as a form of empowerment. Women empower themselves by framing volunteering as an opportunity to reestablish their purposefulness, facilitate feeling needed, and create joy, and men empower themselves by framing volunteering as an opportunity to foster (masculine) abilities and initiate transformation. Analysis also reveals taken-for-granted text in the narratives that illustrate culturally engrained, oppressive gender expectations for both women and men, which indicate different levels of (constrained) agency enacted by the volunteers. Ultimately, it is argued that the strategies utilized by participants to negotiate their volunteer narratives results in the creation of three forms of layered identities that reflect their perceived levels of agency. The researcher concludes that volunteers narratively communicate identity by: dichotomizing self, reclaiming naturalization, and embracing resistance.
Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2013
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