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Heteronormativity in a Rural School Community

An Autoethnography

2017 - 182 pages

Catherine Thompson-Lee

ISBN Paperback: 9789463009331 ($ 43.00)
ISBN Hardcover: 9789463009348 ($ 99.00)
ISBN E-Book: 9789463009355

Subject: Gender, Gender Studies, Women's Studies, Teacher Education, Autoethnography

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Heteronormativity in a Rural School Community


This book presents an exploration of heteronormative discursive practices in the English countryside. A lesbian teacher describes her experiences in the rural school community in which she lived and worked. She prospered at the village school for almost ten years by censoring her sexuality and carefully managing the intersection between her private and professional identities. However, when a critical incident led to the exposure of her sexuality at school, she learned the extent to which the rural school community privileged and protected the heteronormative discourse.

An autoethnographic method of inquiry provides intimate insight which is supported by external data, including email and text message correspondence. As the critical incident eventually became a police matter, police records and evidence from the UK Crown Prosecution Service were sought for use in the research. However, the collection of these data proved problematic, providing an unexpected development in the research and offering additional insight into the nature of rural life.

This research offers a vivid insider perspective on the experiences of a lesbian teacher in a rural school community. It examines the incompatibility of private and professional identities, investigates the moral panic that surrounds teacher sexuality in schools and considers the impact of homophobic and heteronormative discursive practices on health, wellbeing and identity. Crucially, this research offers compelling insight into the steps that those in positions of power will take to protect and perpetuate the heteronormative discourse of rural life.

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Heteronormativity in a Rural School Community