Att genuszappa på säker eller minerad mark : hem- och konsumentkunskap ur ett könsperspektiv
This study focuses on gender patterns in interactions between boys and girls in home and consumer studies, in a Swedish school context. The survey was conducted at the beginning of 2000, with a gender perspective as the main point of departure. The aim of the study was to investigate how gender orders are (re)created in the context of home and consumer studies, which traditionally has a strong female genderization, and where there is at the same time a definite strive towards gender equality. The empirical data in the thesis are based on 21 observations from home and consumer studies, in nine primary schools in the middle and west of Sweden. A total of 131 eighth and ninth class pupils participated, 64 boys and 67 girls. Data were selected from two different studies, a process study, which formed a part of the 2003 national evaluation of home and consumer studies, and a field study. In spite of the variety of theories in the field of gender, there was a discrepancy between the gender theories applied and the empirical data. An additional difficulty was the fact that female and male sex, are associated with traditional values. Therefore, the concept of biological “sex” has been problematized and defined as “the physical body”. The distinction between gender as a belief and the physical body forms the basis of a principle that has been developed, the Gender handling procedure, which involves integration of the biological and social constructionist perspective. Furthermore, the Gender process is a theoretical model which has been developed. It deals with conceptions to manage gender and the purpose is to express how pupils act and react in response to the context and change their roles (i.e. beliefs) to suit female or male coded rooms. I have also been inspired by Weber’s “ideal types” and use an instrument called hyper character to identify patterns of qualities in social situations. The results show that pupils change their characters which represents the change of roles in different contexts and situations. The navigation of gender beliefs is called “gender zapping”. Four hyper characters, Clown, Marionette, Prudorderly and Wallpaper flower, representing different roles adopted by the pupils, were used to highlight some gender orders identified in the empirical data. When problematizing the traditional female genderization of the classroom, the definitions safe or mined ground, was used to describe the different conditions for boys and girls. For the boys, the ground is mined in ordinary home and consumer studies lessons. This means that they have to live up to the male norm of superiority, cannot be “unmanly” and on no account express “femininity”. These reactions appear to take place on an individual level and a boy’s social position influences whether or not he is criticized. Girls cannot be reprimanded for being deviant, because they are already on safe ground, since the female norm applies in home and consumer studies, when the element of competition is lacking. But the context changed when the room became male coded by the introduction of an element of competition. Pupils assumed different roles and the boys were also allowed to behave according to the female norm, i.e. they were permitted to be diligent and orderly without being ridiculed. While the gender order control for the boys conflicts with the content of ordinary home and consumer studies lessons, it works in the same way for girls.
Göteborg University. Faculty of Education
Department of Food, Health and Environment
Göteborg : Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis
gender handling procedure
home and consumer studies
Göteborg studies in educational sciences