Date of Award:

8-16-2012

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Advisor/Chair:

Martha Whitaker

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to consider the development of social consciousness in female nonprofit leaders. The problem undergirding the study is that we do not know enough about social consciousness to know how it is learned, if it can be taught, if it is stable over a lifetime, and what factors and life events shape its unique expression. A further concern is understanding how people come to enact caring about social justice causes and why they enacted caring about certain causes but not others. The research investigated learning related to the social consciousness of female nonprofit leaders who work with organizations focused on social justice issues. The research method utilized, life history collage, employed a combination of art and life history to investigate this phenomenon. Once collages were made, participants were interviewed to further explore emergent themes and these themes were analyzed using the learning theory enactivism to understand how learning influenced each woman’s social consciousness. Findings indicate that organizing structures emerged in childhood that both enabled and shaped the potential of each woman’s social consciousness. This “potential” was inherent in the structure of each woman’s world view, but was enacted in the way this structure coupled with opportunities in her environment. In other words, each woman’s social consciousness coemerged within environments that shaped her social consciousness and that were shaped by her social consciousness. Thus, social consciousness and environment are mutually specifying.

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