|dc.description.abstract||In this study, I use poststructural and new material feminist theory to investigate and theorize the sociopolitical, embodied, discursive and material manifestations of neoliberalism in the working lives of five women elementary school teachers to inform a broad audience about what the work of teaching has become in neoliberal times. This dissertation is non-traditional in structure, as it addresses educational researchers and teacher educators in four manuscript-length chapters for future publication in scholarly journals. In the first manuscript, I theorize my teaching experiences, which also serves as a background for the study. In the second manuscript, I theorize neoliberal subjectivity through a discussion of the social media site Pinterest and the market of Teachers Pay Teachers. Next, I discuss disaster capitalism in education in the fourth manuscript. The final chapter is a call to think rhizomatically with neoliberalism and shift the focus from teacher accountability to corporate accountability in educational research on neoliberalism.
Between each manuscript, there are shorter, intermezzo chapters with varying purposes. The first is aimed at providing context to the overall study by detailing the participants and localized context where the study took place. The second is a transcript of a Three Minute Theory (3MT) YouTube video written collaboratively by my writing group, which is part of our broader project of making theory accessible for a wide audience. The third is an opinion piece that addresses a timely political issue relevant for the general public within the state where participants taught.
Throughout the study, I use the concept of the good enough teacher to deconstruct my own experiences and the experiences of the participants. The good enough (woman) teacher is an impossible subject position that serves as the benchmark by which teachers are consistently measured. What counts as good enough in teaching is and always has been a moving target. However, I argue that neoliberalism further complicates the always already impossibility of good enough in teaching. Thinking with poststructural and new material feminist theory opens up different ways to think about neoliberalism and its manifestations in the work of teaching.||