The paper discusses the phenomenon of the “boy crisis” in education by following trajectories which seek to describe the situation of boys at school in different countries across Europe in its complexity. The current study of the Role of Men in Gender Equality (Scambor, Wojnicka & Bergmann, eds., 2012) offers an international comparison of the situation of boys and outlines major trends related to gender disparities in education across Europe. An in-depth analysis of male early school leavers leads to a deeper understanding of boys and men as heterogeneous social groups. Relations between so called “costs” and “privileges” in education show considerable varieties due to differences between boys, with educational careers being strongly influenced by social class, “race,” and ethnicities as well as migration backgrounds.
Theoretical Reflections and the Case of Early School Leaving
Elli Scambor and Victor Seidler
Florian Berding and Ilka Lau
Epistemic beliefs are individuals’ beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Research assumes that epistemic messages embedded in learning materials shape learners’ beliefs. In order to provide information about these epistemic messages, this article analyzes 4,169 accounting exercises and 1,265 marketing exercises found in training textbooks for retailers, wholesalers, bank assistants, and industrial business management assistants. A latent class analysis identifies four types of exercises. The findings indicate that most epistemic messages emphasize knowledge that consists of stable, interconnected elements that are not useful for professional situations. Knowledge is transmitted by an authority and does not need to be justified. This article provides ideas on the basis of which exercises in textbooks may be revised.
Boys, Girls and the "Boy Crisis" in Preschool
Sally Campbell Galman and Christine A. Mallozzi
This paper employs data from from a multi-year, ethnographic study of children in a diverse public preschool to destabilize some of the claims of the “boy crisis” literature (Hoff-Somers, 2000). Focusing on fine-grained analyses of events in the study context, the authors illustrate the complexity of everyday interactions between female teachers and the male and female preschoolers in their classes, as well as between the male and female preschoolers themselves. These analyses suggest that a preschool environment where all teachers are female is as patriarchally and hegemonically saturated as any other context, as both boys and girls (and teachers) are subject to, and invariably take up, powerful cultural scripts reflected in children’s and other media in the larger cultural milieu. Further, we emphasize that preschool—arguably among the most “feminized” school environments—is more complex than “boy crisis” proponents present.
Dafna Lemish and Shiri Reznik
This study explores gender differences in the roles of humor in the lives of Israeli children. Thirty-four Jewish middle-class Israeli children, sixteen girls and eighteen boys, aged between eight to ten years, were interviewed in focus groups in which they discussed a variety of humorous video segments, jokes, and everyday humor. The analysis suggests that humor in interaction is a highly gendered process in this age group and is employed differently by boys and girls to perform their gendered identities. Girls engaged much less in sexist and aggressive humor and clearly used it to maintain their separateness from boys and younger children. We conclude that humor provides us with another avenue through which to unveil the complicated processes of gender construction in pre-adolescent childhood, while demonstrating at the same time the ambivalence and complexity involved in these processes.
Racialized Girlhood, Behavioral Diagnosis, and California's Foster Care System
Isabella C. Restrepo
Scholars of the welfare system have explored the racialized criminalization of mothers of color who are punished by the foster care system, through control of their children, when they are unable to meet the ideals of middle-class motherhood but have yet to fully articulate a language to understand the ways in which this criminalization and punishment extends to youth once they are placed in the foster care system. Using ethnographic interviews with agents of the care system, I explore the ways in which the system pathologizes Latinas’ quotidian acts of resistance and survival like their use of silences through the behavioral diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). I argue that California’s foster care system is an arm of the transcarceral continuum, marking girls of color and their strategies of resistance as pathological, thereby criminalizing them through the diagnosis of behavioral disorders.
The Case of Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006)
Anders Wilhelm Åberg
Swedish children's films frequently deal with issues of nation and ethnicity, specifically with “Swedishness”. This may be most obvious in films based on the works of Astrid Lindgren, which abound with nostalgic images of the national culture and landscape. However, films about contemporary Sweden, such as Kidz in da Hood (Förortsungar, 2006) address these issues too. Kidz in da Hood is about children in the ethnically diverse suburbs of Stockholm and it tells the story of a young fugitive, Amina, who is cared for by a young bohemian musician. It is, interestingly, a remake of one of the first Swedish children's films, Guttersnipes (Rännstensungar, 1944). In this article I argue that Kidz in da Hood is a contradictory piece, in the sense that it both celebrates and disavows “Swedishness”, as it substitutes the class conict of Guttersnipes for ethnic conflict.
Activist, Academic and Champion of Girls
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqui Reid-Walsh
In September, 2008, a month after Jackie Kirk’s untimely death in Afghanistan, Claudia organized a special gathering of her class on Women, Education and Development at McGill University. The gathering was made up of Claudia’s graduate students, a group of scholars, friends of Jackie’s, her parents and other relatives. The seminar was dedicated to Jackie—looking back, but also looking ahead to what could be done to keep alive the spirit and energy of her work across so many different aspects of education in post-conflict settings, women teachers as peacebuilders and girls’ education. Similarly, this issue offers a remembrance, a celebration, and a moving forward in relation her life and work.
Hobbledehoydom in Anthony Trollope's "Ayala's Angel"
Using Anthony Trollope’s character Tom Tringle ofAyala’s Angel, I argue that in his portrayal of the hobbledehoy, Trollope is imposing on Victorian boys and young men a code of behavior every bit as restrictive and every bit as unnatural as the “suffer and be still” doctrine imposed on girls and young women. Using critical tools from the fields of Masculinity Studies and studies of literary character, I discuss Trollope’s portrayal of Tom Tringle as emblematic of the restrictions Victorian gender ideology placed on women. What emerges is a new dimension to Victorian gender studies. The admonition addressed to Victorian women of all ages and classes that they should “suffer and be still” in the face of any adversity is well known, and is often accompanied by the assumption that no similar restriction is placed on boys and men. In the world of Anthony Trollope’s novels, however, unlike that of many other Victorian novelists, women seldom need much taming, as obedience is a strong character trait in the majority of his heroines. His young men, on the other hand, tend to be far less morally evolved, and in Trollope’s love plots, if anyone has to undergo profound changes of character before being fit for marriage, it is usually the man. I argue that Trollope’s stern but gentle treatment of the misfit Tom provides further answers to the often debated question of Trollopes relative conservatism.
Michael Atkinson and Michael Kehler
There has been a dramatic rise in public, and particularly the media, attention directed at concerns regarding childhood obesity, and body shape/contents/images more broadly. Yet amidst the torrential call for increased attention on so-called “body epidemics” amongst youth in Canada and elsewhere, links between youth masculinities and bodily health (or simply, appearance) are largely unquestioned. Whilst there is a well-established literature on the relationship between, for example, body image and marginalized femininities, qualitative studies regarding boys and their body images (and how they are influenced within school settings) remain few and far between. In this paper, we offer insight into the dangerous and unsettled spaces of high school locker-rooms and other “gym zones” as contexts in which particular boys face ritual (and indeed, systematic) bullying and humiliation because their bodies (and their male selves) simply do not “measure up.” We draw on education, masculinities, health, and the sociology of bodies literature to examine how masculinity is policed by boys within gym settings as part of formal/informal institutional regimes of biopedagogy. Here, Foucault’s (1967) notion of heterotopia is drawn heavily upon in order to contextualize physical education class as a negotiated and resisted liminal zone for young boys on the fringes of accepted masculinities in school spaces.
Jacqueline Reid-Walsh and Kirstin Bratt
Perhaps it is more obvious in the present day, surrounded as we are by cell phones and other electronic devices transmitting information and messages in images and words instantaneously, but for over a hundred years the lives of girls—middle class girls in particular—have been mediated to a large extent by the plethora of texts that surround them. These texts are largely fictional narratives in different formats such as novels, magazines, television shows and films, many of which appear as digital media. Some of these texts are composed by adults, often women, and are directed at girl readers and viewers in an effort to establish a direct or indirect pedagogical relationship with them. Then again, depending often on how fantasy and desire is constructed in the narrative, other texts have no apparent pedagogical function, serving instead as sites (some adult-sanctioned and some not) of escape from reality. Other texts are created by the girls themselves and are directed at members of their own age group either as texts of peer education or of entertainment.