This paper explores the uses of personal writing by young women as they attempt to construct meaning from the context of their private journal texts. Issues of gender identity and symbolizations of the self are approached from the perspectives of 17 female university students who are passionate journal writers since their early teen years. The analysis of the questionnaires, in-depth interviews, participants’ journal texts and researcher’s journal text is informed by three distinctive disciplines: Cultural Studies, Feminism and Psychoanalysis. The findings in this study attest to the importance of considering the ways in which the organization of the psychic life, embodied in the dynamics of the family, interacts to place young women into positions that produce and reproduce them as females. More specifically, young women use personal journal as a Potential Space, where they make sense of the self by exploring their relationships with their parents. Thus, deeper self-understanding is attained through approaching the personal in terms of a shared experience with cultural implications. By investigating one’s engagements with personal writing, an awareness of dominant ideologies and the construction of the journal writer’s subjectivities result. Further pedagogical considerations of personal journal writing for young women are explored.
|Keywords:||Diary, Symbolization, Language, Personal Journal Writing, Potential Space, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Relationship to Parents, Gender|
Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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