Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Leigh Ford

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Relationships among parents and schools are situated in a complex hegemony. Communication is central to the identification and construction of power in schools. Schools employ a model of communication that locates power predominately with their representatives and values parents for conformity to organizational expectations. Shared power relationships challenge actors to encounter one another and co-contribute to the development of children. The goal of this study is to uncover various meanings and understandings from what parents recall from Moments of Encounter with school personnel. Such an examination is designed to reveal power at the microlevel, in the encounter itself, as well as at the macro-level in exposure of the taken for- granted ideology of schools. A thematic analysis of these in depth interviews reveals those understandings of parents - foregrounding their systems of meaning as a deconstruction of power at the micro level and revealing the hegemonic structure of power at the macro level. Further exploration is invited to more fully describe the hegemonic characteristic of schools with the long term goal of uncovering guiding principles that schools and parents can adopt as they encourage the academic and affective development of children.

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