I consider how teachers discursively instantiate their identities through narrative work, which I frame using the metaphor of weaving a tapestry of the self, mobilising Foucault’s (1987, 1990, 1991) conceptualisation of technologies of the self, Butler’s (1993, 2004) work on performativity and her interpretation of agency, and Rose’s (1990, 1996) approach to psycho-technologies.
I have included data from my analysis of sixteen life history narrative interviews conducted in North West England with teachers at different stages of their careers. My analysis contributes to the burgeoning area of international research which has indicated the need to better understand teachers’ sense of self, and intercedes with a unique insight into re-conceptualising identity development as discursive and performative.
Three key aspects are addressed: how technologies of the self are instantiated via construction of the teaching self; how this self is performed as ethical with reference to normalised educational values; and how risk to this performance is ‘repaired’.
- Life history narrative, technologies of the self, teacher identity