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Refworks. Open Collections. UBC Theses and Dissertations. Featured Collection. While identity is traditionally theorised as being agentic in nature, the concept of identity itself remains in contention as it does not capture the fluidity of the interaction between the person and their environment, particularly if the environment is oppressive and exclusive.
Consequently, this paper suggests how social work can incorporate innovative critical and post-structural theory when analysing the marginalised female adolescent, by introducing Judith Butler as a new voice for social work, whose work on gender identity the feminist critique has been argued to be some of the most important advancements in the area of feminist and political studies in the twentieth century Lloyd, Specifically, I would like to acknowledge Dr.
Brian Rasmussen for his unwavering support and guidance in my quest for knowledge and completion of my work. Finally, I would like to thank my loving family, including my late mother, my father, my husband and son for providing me with strength and encouragement to reach my goals, even in the face of adversity. Current social work research suggests that modern adolescent females experience a variety of psychosocial ailments during adolescence, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as sexual violence and abuse in relationships.
Additionally, identity formation is documented in the social work literature as being a central milestone to be achieved during this developmental stage Santrock, The literature also supposes that identity formation can be further complicated by those with barriers to optimal choice and freedom, including ethnic minorities, and lesbian youth, as they are socialised within the dominant context of normalcy. This conceptualization led me to seek further understanding of the way social work currently theorises identity formation and gender, and whether considerations of oppression and marginalization are considered in its analysis.
To expand this analysis, I sought to explore the use of critical, post- structural theory, specifically from Judith Butler, to enhance and expand this conceptualization of gender identity among marginalised female adolescents. Finally, I highlight specific concepts from Judith Butler to apply to social work practice with marginalised female adolescents and beyond, in order to expand and enrich current perspectives, and practice methods.
The following synopsis outlines how these questions were addressed in the thesis. Thesis Synopsis The following thesis attempts to reconcile the research questions by first providing an overview of the literature on female adolescents. The current social work literature reveals that the concept of identity formation is a central aspect of adolescent development. The literature also supposes that identity becomes a more complex issue for youth that are marginalised, as discussed in the literature on lesbian and ethnic youth.
It is supposed that as a result of negative or unwelcoming interactions from their environment, intrapsychic problems may occur, as one is then forced to alter, 3 repress, or reject parts of the self, in order to be accepted by mainstream society. Traditional notions of female adolescent development all tend to view identity formation as a central issue to be achieved, resolved or solidified, through personal will and choice in order to reach a developmental milestone. While identity has been theorised as being impacted by internal, familial and social forces, I argue that the concept of identity itself remains vague and may not capture the fluidity of the interaction between the person and their environment, including pervasive social discourse.
To address the influence of discourse on the individual, I introduce in latter chapters how social work can incorporate innovative critical theory, when analysing the marginalised female adolescent, specifically from Judith Butlerby deconstructing the notion of an achievable, Beautiful women seeking sex Butler identity and Beautiful women seeking sex Butler the role of discourse in shaping the performances of individuals in society.
Finally, while Beautiful women seeking sex Butler can theorize about the potential roots of the problems seen in female youth today, as social work practitioners, we must always utilise theory to inform practice. The final chapter addresses the practice gap that Butler leaves us with in her work, and presents application to social work practice with marginalised female adolescents and beyond.
Conclusion While I do not seek to find global overarching explanations for the presenting problems experienced by female youth, nor do I suggest that Butler holds all of the 5 answers to very complex problems, I do believe that her perspective can expand and enrich current theoretical understanding of the marginalised experience, gender identity and the power of discourse. This perspective outlines the socio-historical and political context that drives gender construction, heteronormativity, and gender hierarchies that have become core values of Western society.
Within this series of papers, I will attempt to explain how certain societal values and discourses are harmful to women, marginalised populations and the intersections of both, as individuals internalize the subordinate social position, and come to act out their roles and identities in society. Therefore, incorporating appropriate theory into our work with clients, particularly with marginalised female youth, enhances our ability to understand and intervene effectively. Traditionally when discussing the adolescent population, the social work literature introduces identity as an important developmental construct.
Therefore, it is important to pay attention to how young women interact within a post-modern context that is laced with media, consumer culture and rigid gender expectations, and how these factors can impact their sense of self. Typically, most literature on adolescent development and identity support the idea of a self-determined identity, suggesting that one creates her own identity through personal will.
Thus, I want to first to consider how the identity formation process is theorized in current social work literature when conceptualising the presenting problems of female youth today. The following chapter will analyse current social work literature on the diverse experiences of adolescent females experiencing psychosocial problems, and introduce post-structural theory by Judith Butleras a new theoretical consideration for social work practice with marginalised females and beyond.
Additionally, I will discuss the difficulties of the marginalised experience of female adolescents operating in the dominant culture, and the possible impact on psychosocial functioning.
To conceptualise the connection between a marginalised experience and social functioning, I will offer directions for an expansion of analysis in particular through the work of Judith Butler. I will discuss how such discourse may play a role in how marginalised young women experience a heightened risk Beautiful women seeking sex Butler psychosocial problems in adolescence.
Conversely, prior to introducing Butler, I will present current theoretical assumptions about identity and development captured in the current social work literature. Literature Review: An Overview of Theory on the Female Adolescent There are many competing assumptions presented in the social work literature about the origin of psychosocial problems for female youth. Psychosocial dysfunction has been analysed using theoretical foundations that borrow from family systems and attachment theory Bowlby,developmental psychology Erikson,feminist theory Gilligan,and theories of intersectionality McCau, These various theories inform social work research and intervention strategies with adolescent females experiencing issues such as depression, alcohol and drug use, eating disorders, family stress and low-self-esteem.
Commonly, such problems have been presented as having varying etiologies, including relational and attachment issues in childhood, larger social forces such as sexism and the mass media, and socio-economic issues, however many consistently argue that gender 9 dually affects how one experiences such problems Abrams, ; Atwood, ; Hoskins and Mathieson, ; Little and Hoskins, Psychodevelopmental Theory Psychodevelopmental theories such as stage theory, attachment theory, and family systems theory attempt to explain how individuals are impacted by their immediate environment, such as childrearing and healthy attachments to caregivers, in order to develop and reach psychological and emotional milestones.
These popular theoretical perspectives contend that development is a lifelong process, although individuals are heavily shaped by early experiences Santrock, The origin of identity studies arguably stems from the work of Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist who created eight psychosocial stages of identity development across the lifespan; who offered a lifespan development approach to understanding identity formation. Erikson supposed that during adolescence, the young person enters a psychological moratorium, in which he or she experiments with roles and identities that they draw from the surrounding culture.
However, if youth are unable to resolve conflicts among varying role identities and pressures, he or she may end up in identity confusion and diffusion which can have potential negative consequences, such as social withdrawal, depression, and anxiety. Central to this stream of thought was that identity formation was an agentic, internally driven process, whereby the youth controls and constructs a stable identity during this developmental period. Lucente theorises about attachment theory in his of identity formation in infancy.
He supposes that identity formation begins with the mother-child dyad, in which one understands herself in relation to the parent object. In adolescence, it is argued that the female adolescent once again attempts to find meaning and self-awareness while separating and individuating from the parent. Thus, attachment theory supposes that as adolescents attempt to pull away from the parents, problems can emerge, as youth will always attempt to individuate.
It is further posited that adolescents may express their desire to individuate by engaging in deviant, harmful and even risky behaviours. Therefore, an attachment theorist may assume that if a young woman is experiencing problems or acting out, it can be considered a form of negotiation 12 or separation from the parent object once again, as they explore their environments and try on new, individual roles. Additionally, attachment theory has also been used to conceptualise complex mental health concerns as eating disorders in young women Orzolek-Kronner, Orzolek-Kronner cites clinical and anecdotal evidence that as young women disclose their eating disorders to their parents, their relationship improves.
Thus, Orzolek-Kronner suggest that disordered eating behaviours can be considered proximity-seeking in nature, as they are acted out in order to repair relational problems that may stem from childhood and infancy. For instance, refusal to eat by young women, coupled by attempts to feed the child by parents, acts out a ly unresolved attachment sequence that was somehow impaired in childhood.
Consequently, practice with this theory would likely involve family therapy and the working out of such attempts at individuation while negotiating boundaries with parents to allow for safe exploration and mutual respect. The basis of attachment theory in relation to identity also assumes that identity is a process of achievement and driven by the adolescent in a certain stage of development.
Unfortunately, the family system can also be a source of inequality and turmoil as well. Atwood states that often young women are the victims of gender bias in the family system, which can lead to problems such as depression, low self-esteem and relational problems that can persist into adulthood. Beautiful women seeking sex Butler from possible underlying social forces, gender bias can leave the young woman feeling like a secondary citizen; a value she may initially learn in her own home and carry with her out into the world, thus internalising the subordinate social position.
Furthermore, the family system can also be a source of stress and even violence for young women. For instance, factors that most often contribute to female delinquency are sexual and physical violence in the home Bowers, Young women who experience abuse are twice as likely to exhibit delinquent behaviours, defiance and violence towards parents and peers, and subsequent incarceration or trouble with the law. Bowers further suggests that the subsequent acting out among female delinquents may be an attempt to reconcile discrepancies in the distribution of power, both in the home and in larger society.
Structural social work theory assumes that large social institutions, discourse, and dominant social schemas dictate power differentials and affect the micro and macro systems in society from everyday language and customs, to social policy Mullaly, In response to the androcentric stance taken by Eriksonfeminist psychologists like Gilligan criticised the homogenous of identity development, citing that females develop identity in a relational context.
Consequently, Abrams argues that it is important to 15 draw from feminist theory, which offers a view of society that attempts to explain the power and material relations that are experienced by those outside of the dominant culture. Feminist s of female adolescent development support the idea that young women have unique needs for relational development and closeness, which are best facilitated by a group support atmosphere that promotes affiliation and belonging Azzarto and Skidmore, ; Berzoff, ; Gilligan, ; Sorell and Montgomery, Abrams argues that the female adolescent develops in relation to others, including peers, and the need for attachment to others is central in gaining a healthy identity and improved psychosocial functioning.
In addition to recognising the need for belonging among young women, feminist Beautiful women seeking sex Butler also seeks to link psychosocial problems facing young women to larger social and cultural forces such as gender socialization. For example, feminist theorists link the personal with the political, as they believe that male dominance and female subordination creates inequalities for all women. Theories of Mass Media and Modern Western Culture Beyond immediate attachments and the family, youth operate in a context embedded in technology and media.
Consequently, structural theories include the analysis of these social forces. Little and Hoskins argue that making meaning out of uncontested messages, can prove to be difficult and even detrimental to young women as the construction of media messages create a desire to consume and present the image of an ideal woman in order to sell products. As a result, young women are in a process of negotiation with the messages they are receiving about how to be, how to act, and how to present oneself to the world in order to be accepted.
I argue that this negotiation can be particularly complicated for young women who cannot identify with the White, heterosexual, able- bodied images that dominate in the mass media. Intersectional Perspectives of Female Adolescent Problems While media, social and familial influences are important considerations in the analysis of problems, social workers must also consider how these variables intersect and overlap. Abramsreview of the social work literature on female adolescent development found few sources that address the multipositional experiences of female youth operating in modern society.
Furthermore, she contends that although ecological theory is useful in examining the youth within their environment, it does not address gender and how this can impact development. Abrams further states that there is a lack of clear understanding among social work researchers and practitioners into the causation of psychosocial problems in 19 females such as depression, eating disorders, alcohol and drug use, and cites that the presentation of statistics based on race, socioeconomic status or gender, does not fully conceptualize how these variables intersect to create and sustain problems for female youth.
AbramsBeautiful women seeking sex Butler recommends an examination of the multitude of variables that impact female youth, so that we may open up the opportunity to acknowledge how race, ability and sexual orientation that can impact female adolescent development. However, to understand how marginalised females experience adolescence, the literature on racial identity development and lesbian identity development suggests that there is a connection between identity and intra-psychological problems.
For female youth that are considered outside of the dominant norms in society, factors such as social bias, homophobia, and racism can negatively impact psychosocial functioning. Culture, Race, and Ethnic Identity The literature on ethnic minorities argues that there is a connection between identity formation and social functioning. Young women who are also ethnic minorities 20 may face identity crises during adolescence due to social bias, and the discovery of an identity that does not resemble the mainstream.
Additionally, DeCarlo argues that identity stressors are considered to be detrimental to the social functioning of racial and ethnic youth. Oppression and the Lesbian Adolescent While the literature suggests that ethnic minorities may face identity crises during adolescence, the literature on lesbian identity formation also considers adolescence to 21 also be a tumultuous stage in sexual development.
Consequently, Swann and Spivey cite that the earlier one can solidify her lesbian identity through disclosure, seeking support and group membership, the less likely clinical symptoms like depression and anxiety will occur. Finally, the stigma and risk of ostracism may outweigh the benefits of the youth to come out, and thus the risk of psychosocial problems may increase as a result due to an inability to express oneself authentically.
Discussion The overview of the literature on varying female adolescent populations attempts to conceptualise psychosocial problems from personal, social and familial viewpoints.Beautiful women seeking sex Butler
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