Gender knowledge in journalism education and practice. A study in Chile

Claudia Alarcon Espinoza

PhD thesis, conferred 2016

This research explores the production and circulation of gender knowledge, to understand the development of journalism education and also the structure of relations of gender that currently create and sustain journalism education in Chile. The study examines the production of gender knowledge within a social structure, exploring the complexity of the system and the dynamics between higher education, journalism education and the production of gender knowledge.

The methodology used in the study is mixed methods and uses four techniques of data collection: semi-structured interviews, participant observation, content analysis and documentary research. Four organisations of mass media and four universities were observed. Curricula from 1982 to 2012 were examined from the four universities selected and a total of 13 course structures, with a total of 222 units of study, were reviewed. Thirty-two people were interviewed who had experience in teaching journalism education, were journalists or were key informants of mass media organizations. The multilevel analysis in the study allowed an approach that went beyond the study of the production of gender knowledge as an isolated phenomenon within journalism education. The study concludes that there is a dislocation of theoretical and disciplinary knowledge and a systemic marginalisation of gender knowledge within journalism education. The historical analysis shows that this lack is longstanding. The absence of gender knowledge appears as a first result of the curricular analysis and in the teaching practice. The absence emerges as the structure that organises practices and relations of gender, which generates a specific gender order that involves specific power relations. In the case of the production of knowledge in journalism education, results suggest that masculinity works as a hegemonic power that makes gender knowledge appear as a system of absence.

The thesis proposes that the absence of gender knowledge can be understood as a feature of hegemonic power that paradoxically appears as the hegemonic voice that generates a gender meaning v system within universities. Thus, there is not an absence of gender within the curriculum. What is found is that there is a hegemonic presence of masculinity. The curriculum of each university shows the gender regime of each institution. Institutions operate in a gendered context that involves every practice and decision that people take, including the selection of content. In the case of journalism education, the gender regime appears highly masculinised. What is found within the curricula is a gendered imbalance of capacity to generate knowledge. The study concludes that the production of knowledge, and especially the production of gender knowledge, is an intellectual activity that involves the complexity of the structure of the university that includes division of labour, gender relations of power, emotions and human relations and gendered culture and symbolism. The role of emotions is a key element in the production as well as the resistance towards gender knowledge and gender itself.

Supervisor: Professor Raewyn Connell