Atkinson, Dwight; Beglar, David J.; Sawyer, Mark; Casanave, Christine Pearson, 1944-; Fujioka, Mayumi (Temple University. Libraries, 2013)
      This research explores issues involving gender, education, and learning/using English as a second/foreign language (ESL/EFL) by investigating three Japanese women's experiences of fashioning their lives in ways that made them feel satisfied and happy. In order to develop an emic point of view--one derived from grounding myself as strongly as possible in the three women's worlds and views, I adopted a situated qualitative research approach, and collected the data mostly through multiple interviews with the women and participant observation of their work life situations. I then interpreted the data focusing on the women's identity constructions, their gendered struggles, and the roles of education and English in their lives and gender transformations. The findings common across the three women are as follows. First, the women developed a high degree of self-worth and an ethos of studying hard for self-cultivation in the family discourses that they grew up within. Second, the women's professional interests (i.e., in English education, physical fitness education, and dance, respectively), and the lives they aspired to craft for themselves were produced at the intersection of local and global discourses. Third, at some points in their married lives, they faced severe difficulties in seeking professional satisfaction and at the same time conforming to gender norms. However, their struggles to play multiple gender roles as "Japanese women" produced their agency to take up educational opportunities and re-craft themselves. The three women therefore chose to attend professional educational programs offered at Western institutions for self-crafting in the midst of their respective gender struggles. Fourth, the women used English to participate in Western educational and globalized professional discourses. Fifth, the women's prolonged and intensive participation in these discourses contributed to their acquisition of new knowledge to alternatively perform as "Japanese women" and transform their gendered lives. This study reveals that the three women used educational opportunities and English for their identity work--that is, to become who they desired to be, and to expand the boundaries of their freedom as "women" as well as to act socially as members of globalized cultural worlds.