The New Brunswick Women’s Institute: exploring diversity in women’s learning experiences

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University of New Brunswick


The purpose of this research was to explore the learning experiences of women from the New Brunswick Women’s Institute (NBWI) organization, to better understand if their learning is more complex than the harmonious and collaborative nature that is represented in the literature. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted on six NBWI members within a narrative inquiry methodological design. The findings were analyzed using discourse analysis from a feminist poststructuralist and Foucauldian lens. Four dominant discourses emerged as a result: cost-containing discourses, neoliberal discourses, resistances and contradictions to dominant discourses, and adult educative discourses. I explored how these discourses are politically and economically imbedded to produce and reproduce knowledge and conformity. Visible in the findings were practices of rival discourses that challenged and resisted the dominant practices that had once silenced and subjugated participants’ voices.