Term of Award

Fall 2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

William E. Reynolds

Committee Member 1

Delores D. Liston

Committee Member 2

John A. Weaver

Committee Member 3

Shirley R. Steinberg

Abstract

Child beauty pageants are a phenomenon in rural communities throughout Georgia. My belief is that most of those who compete in these pageants are from the lower socio-economic bracket, participating for a multitude of reasons. A bricolage of post-structural feminism, critical ethnography, critical hermeneutics and cultural studies lenses will analyze how the performances of participants and the power exercised by the beauty pageant culture work to formulate girls' identities. Analysis will also include how power operates to perpetuate this subculture and its right to dictate norms for beauty and acceptance and will be situated in the culture of girlhood. Examination of what is depicted in popular culture through videos, documentaries, and television shows will also occur. I suggest that the rural beauty pageant culture does work to create girlhood identity and a way in which the participants view the world and themselves. In fact, I believe that the rural beauty pageant culture does intricate cultural work in terms of gender and class.

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