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Towards De(s)colonial Research in the Global Rural: A Feminist Feeling-Thinking Study with Rural Women in Colombia

This dissertation is a feminist de(s)colonial study with rural women in Colombia. It documents and validates the lives, labour and agency of rural women by re-signifying place as a site of resistance and negotiation within a neoliberal context. In using descolonialism as the epistemology for this thesis, I implemented a feminist participatory visual methodology, collecting data from two case studies in the towns of Toca and Minca. The data demonstrate that rural women are agents in place, resisting colonial practices. While campesina women experience social inequality, they enact resistance in places such as the home, vereda, and the city, and contest violence against their territories bodies-lands. As such, rural women in Colombia challenge their positioning by hegemonic feminisms and neoliberal projects as lacking agency and in need of saving. The research demonstrates the importance of feminist, feeling-thinking, place-based research to conceptualising the countryside as an embodied relational space constituted by multiplicities and histories. Overall, this thesis contributes to the growing literature emerging from the Global South that makes visible and supports the progressive politics and new paradigms that question the colonial bias of hegemonic feminisms and neoliberal projects.

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Undesirable affects: towards a materialist sociology of school violence

In Australia, almost all young people are required to attend school. It is widely accepted that education is fundamental to improving people’s lives, and society, so much so it is recognised as a universal human right. Yet school is not the same for everyone. As a former teacher, I am interested in better understanding how schools can be constraining in ways we don’t always realise, to help make them more enabling for all. My research is a close examination of the everyday operation of violence in two Victorian schools. Microviolence is understood here as subtle everyday practices which limit possibilities. I focus on how microviolence materialises, and its relationships with broader social patterns and cultural norms in constituting and maintaining other forms of violence in schools, such as structural, symbolic and epistemic. I investigate how people feel in different spaces around their schools, what is happening in those spaces, and how those spaces are experienced. In this way I aim to contribute to existing research in the sociology of education and the emerging sociology of violence, through providing empirical evidence and materialist analysis of microviolence in schools. Through understanding its operation in schools, we can work towards reducing it.

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