Dismantling normative ideologies in college classrooms: Extending a critical communication pedagogy
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This thesis examines how pedagogues experience normative ideologies in their college classrooms and strategies for managing the expression of those ideologies. A long tradition of critical theories suggests that normative ideologies have harmful material consequences for particular social and cultural groups. This premise has guided the development of critical pedagogies that challenge those ideologies, and in so doing force educators to rethink the ways they approach classrooms. In Communication Studies, this work has been extended to understand the ways some of those ideologies are communicated and the ways educators can communicate to resist them. This thesis takes a broad approach to questioning expressions of normativity and strategies for educators to resist it. Twenty in-depth interviews were conducted with instructors at colleges in the West Texas region. Two emergent typologies are outlined. Normative ideologies are expressed discursively, attitudinally, bodily and paralinguistically. Instructors mediate those expressions via discursive, content, organizational and performative strategies. Expressions of normativity are situated within the context of features that participants characterized as unique qualities of West Texas. Strategies are presented alongside participants’ acknowledgements of the limits critical pedagogues face working toward their goals.