Toward a Theological Anthropology of Resistance: Korean American Women's Ambivalent Subjectivity, "Third Space" and Religious Education Open Access

Kwon, Heejung (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/cn69m449x?locale=en
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Abstract

This study focuses on women's ambivalent subjectivity and challenges religious educators to complicate and expand their understanding of resistance as a goal and method of liberative religious education. Elaborating on the concept of Third Space, the dissertation conceptualizes resistance as a creative holding of tensions in the space between persons' subjective worlds and objective realities, and between historicity and transcendence. The goal of this project is to build conceptual grounds for a theological anthropology of third space based on eleven Korean American women's narratives of subordination and resistance, in dialogue with sources in pedagogy, theology, and psychology. Toward that end, the dissertation explores and evaluates concepts and images of third space in poststructuralist and postcolonial critical pedagogies; feminist and womanist theologies; the psychological theories of Donald W. Winnicott, Jessica Benjamin, and Robert Kegan; and the theological anthropology of Karl Rahner. Employing the method of critical appropriation and mutually critical conversation, the study makes room for the paradoxical, lived experience of women who navigate oppressive systems and transcend the false binary of freedom/autonomy and complicity/subordination in their relationships with other people and with God. Chapter 1 analyzes the narratives and reveals the women's ambivalent subjectivity. The dissertation continues with an introduction to and evaluation of poststructuralist and postcolonial pedagogies. Special attention is given to the concept of third space that is described and implied in these theories. With the women's narratives and pedagogical theories in the background, the dissertation excavates what I call "Feminist Valorization of Women's Resistance" and feminist and womanist theologies of sin. Psychological theories follow, drawing especially on the theories of Winnicott, Benjamin, and Kegan. The last two chapters take a turn to the theological, first locating a connection between the idea of third space and Rahner's theological anthropology, and then pointing toward a theological anthropology of third space. This anthropology includes expanded concepts and images of resistance, and proposals for reshaping liberative religious education. As a whole, the project contributes to the studies on Korean American women, feminist theology, Rahnerian theology, and religious education.



Table of Contents

Contents Preface................................................................................................................................ 1 Introduction........................................................................................................................ 6 Ambivalent Subjectivity and Resistance....................................................................... 10 Resistance and Liberative Religious Education............................................................. 13 Women's Stories of Silent Resistance..................................................................... 13 Religious Influence on Women's Subjectivity........................................................ 14 Oppression, Transcendence, and Liberative Religious Education........................... 15 A Theological Anthropology of Resistance.................................................................. 18 Women's Narratives as Beginning of Theological Anthropology........................... 20 Theological Anthropology of Resistance in Third Space........................................ 21 Chapter Descriptions.................................................................................................... 23 Chapter 1: Korean American Women's Experience of Submission and Resistance....... 30 Methodological Considerations and Research Procedure.............................................. 31 Politics of Representation....................................................................................... 31 Interview Method................................................................................................... 36 Initial Observation and Interpretation of Women's Behaviors and Narratives.............. 39 Inconsistent Attitudes Regarding Patriarchal Structures.......................................... 39 Loyalty to Traditional Gender Roles Regardless of Everyday Reality.................... 43 Contradictions between Systemic Critique of and Complicity with Patriarchy........ 44 Situating Women's Experience..................................................................................... 48 Historical Context................................................................................................... 49 Sociocultural Forces............................................................................................... 52 Socioeconomic Significance of Family.................................................................. 53 Religious Forces..................................................................................................... 55 Dynamics of Submission and Resistance..................................................................... 56 Submission as Strategy for Survival and Status Quo............................................... 56 Submission as Means of Empowerment and Respect............................................. 57 Submission as a Form of Resistance against Sexism............................................... 58 Ambivalent Influence of Religious Belief and Practice.......................................... 59 Creative Negotiation of Religious Teachings.......................................................... 65 Conclusion................................................................................................................... 68 Chapter 2: Post-Critical Pedagogies and Religious Education........................................ 73 Post-Critical Pedagogies................................................................................................ 75 Critical Pedagogy.................................................................................................... 75 A Poststructuralist Conception of Subjectivity: Judith Butler.................................. 79 Poststructuralist Critical Pedagogy.......................................................................... 86 A Postcolonial Conception of Subjectivity: Homi Bhabha..................................... 87 Postcolonial Critical Pedagogy................................................................................ 93 Post-critical Challenges for Liberative Religious Education.......................................... 94 Evaluating Poststructuralist and Postcolonial Critical Pedagogies................................ 102 Paulo Freire's Concept of Subjectivity and Korean American Women................. 102 Evaluating Post-Critical Pedagogies...................................................................... 108 Conclusion................................................................................................................. 115 Chapter 3: Feminist Theological Accounts of Women's Subjectivity............................ 116 Feminist Valorization of Women's Resistance........................................................... 118 Redefining and Expanding the Concept of Resistance......................................... 120 Evaluating Valorization of Women's Resistance.................................................. 130 Feminist Theologies of Sin and Sloth......................................................................... 137 Feminist Theologies of Sin................................................................................... 138 Sloth..................................................................................................................... 141 Conclusion................................................................................................................. 155 Chapter 4: Winnicott and Women's Subordination and Resistance.............................. 157 Donald W. Winnicott.................................................................................................. 159 Winnicott and Religion............................................................................................... 167 Winnicott and Women's Resistance........................................................................... 170 Robert Kegan............................................................................................................. 179 Third Space and Women's Subordination and Resistance.......................................... 184 Evaluating Psychological Accounts............................................................................ 190 Chapter 5: Rahner And Third Space............................................................................. 199 Rahner's Theological Anthropology........................................................................... 200 God's Gracious Self-Offer................................................................................... 203 Freedom............................................................................................................... 206 Mystery and Knowing.......................................................................................... 207 Transcendentality................................................................................................. 212 Transcendence and History.................................................................................. 213 Human Beings as Mid-Point................................................................................. 215 Turning Away from God's Grace......................................................................... 216 Critiques of Rahner.................................................................................................... 218 Third Space in Rahner's Theology and Women's Subjectivity................................... 226 Conclusion................................................................................................................. 232 Chapter 6: Theological Anthropology of Third Space and Religious Education for Resistance 235 A Theological Anthropology of Third Space.............................................................. 236 Between Constraint and Freedom......................................................................... 236 Between Subjective and Objective Realities, Historicity and Transcendence........ 239 Both Contingent and Normative/Dynamic............................................................ 242 Between Subordination and Resistance................................................................ 243 Resistance as Creatively Holding Tension in the Third Space..................................... 245 Third Space and Liberative Religious Education........................................................ 251 An Expanded Definition of Knowing................................................................... 252 Tasks and Methods of Religious Education.......................................................... 255 Interrelationship of Church Life and Everyday Struggle....................................... 262 Some Final Words...................................................................................................... 263 Bibliography.................................................................................................................... 265



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