The development of personhood in young women, individual, social, and political : Beginning questions
Armstrong, Frieda Lynn
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The basic questions of this 110-page study are: In an age of feminist revival, a time when conflicting pressures seek to mold a young woman, how does she perceive the traditional forces, the alternative forces, and herself? What patterns of development are necessary for a young woman to grow in the direction of her highest potential? The author chose the interview as the instrument of study because it is personal and flexible, appropriate for initial study in which the object is to broaden understanding rather than to prove a point. Six white, middle-class, high-school- age women from two-parent homes in the Houston area were interviewed for about two hours each. The introduction explains the factors that led the author to do such research, and the methodology and content of the interviews. (The interview questions themselves are presented in an appendix.) The author discusses the basic assumptions and expectations with which she began. The reports of the interviews follow in narrative form. In the conclusion, the author discusses the interview findings; she had anticipated most of them but a few are quite surprising, These, she recommends, along with other questions arising in the study, should form the basis for further research; she notes methodological changes that should take place in future study. The author makes clear her bias (commitment to feminism). She defends the usefulness of her work to political science: "If we care about the problems of our society, and if we see these young women as interesting, intelligent people who could contribute to the society and play a role in solving its problems, then we must be concerned about their individual growth." The author is a candidate for May, 1972, graduation from the University of Houston, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.