FROM HOUSEWIVES TO ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS: A CULTURAL HISTORICAL ACTIVITY THEORY ANALYSIS OF LEARNING IN A KOREAN COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATION

Open Access
Author:
Park, Sangok
Graduate Program:
Adult Education
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
April 28, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Fred Michael Schied, Committee Chair
  • Ian E Baptiste, Committee Member
  • Esther Susana Prins, Committee Member
  • Carolyn Elizabeth Sachs, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory
  • CHAT
  • Community-based organization
  • expansive learning
  • standpoint theory
  • Informal learning
  • Housewives
Abstract:
The study began with the concern about housewives as active learners who are agents in their own learning and produce new knowledge in and on the sites of their lives. This study intended to contribute to the understanding of active housewives¡¯ learning in a community-based organization. Using ethnographic methods such as the observation, the interview, and the interpretation of documents, I conducted research in a community-based organization, Green Future, in a city in Korea, in which the housewives have guided and taught the natural environment to the residents. The collected data were analyzed by the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) and feminist standpoint theory. I found that the housewives have moved from the periphery toward full participation in the practice and adopted the activity as their profession as well as learned the knowledge and skills, as they continued to participate in the activity of the organization. But their learning in the community-based organization was not confined to only this kind of learning. They have been transformed into the practitioners to keep the natural environment within the community, that is, the agents to facilitate community development in terms of use value, not of exchange value. The first thing I found in the study was also that active learning of the housewives has appeared with the expansion of their activities in the community-based organization. Their activities have continuously been reconstructed through the emergence and settlement of the contradictions within and between the elements of activity as well as the interaction with neighboring activities. Their expansive learning was not simple movement from the periphery of the activity to the center, but continuous reconstruction and production of new knowledge and activity in the community depending on the housewives¡¯ standpoint. Through the CHAT analysis of the community-based learning, finally, I was able to find that it has an important implication for adult education; what people informally learn in everyday life or every place such as the workplace, the home, and the community could be articulated by the connection with the collective activity of human being.