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Primary School Children’s Constructions of Gender, Power and Adult Work
Although the academic success of girls has greatly improved in recent years, children’s classroom interactions remain strongly gendered.
This book investigates primary school children’s constructions of gender in relation to their own lives and the issue of adult occupations. Becky Francis marries the lively data she collected from dialogue and role-play by children in primary schools with a new theoretical framework combining aspects of post-structuralism with feminism. She shows how children, in their desire for secure gender identity, actively construct the genders as opposite, through ritualized and stereotypical forms of talk and behavior. Their oppositional constructions of masculine and feminine manifest in sexist incidents and affect children’s power positions in the classroom.
The author concludes that the only way to address the power inequalities is to deconstruct the notions of gender as relational, and she suggests how this can be achieved in primary classrooms.