Posts Tagged ‘gender’
While mnemonics are not everyone’s favourite hot beverage I’ve always found them a very useful memory device – and I’m particularly fond of CAGE (Class, Age, Gender, Ethnicity) and its less-exulted compatriots CAGES (…Sexuality) and CAGED (…Disability)* for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, it has a simple manifest function for students. If you’re ever stuck for evaluation ideas in an exam it’s always possible to say something useful about class, age, gender or ethnic differences. Use it as a kind of “Get Out of Jail Free” card you can play whenever you need a quick prompt to get an answer flowing.
Secondly a latent function of CAGE for teachers is that you can use it to illustrate the concepts of structure and action in a simple and memorable way using the distinction between social and personal identities.
A long, long, time ago, when the Internet was still young, there existed a web site, created by Mark Peace, called Sociology Stuff. This web site specialised in producing high quality sociology stuff (hence the name. Probably. I’m guessing) for a few years before Mark got bored or went off to do a PhD or something and the site just disappeared, along with all the stuff it contained. Which was a shame.
Luckily, someone who shall be nameless (but we’ll call “Chris” because that’s actually his name) saved a lot of this stuff onto one of his many hard drives and forgot about it. Either because he was Very, Very, Busy (the official version). Or because he was just a little bit jealous and wanted to keep all the Stuff for himself (the version I’m leaning toward).
Differences in UK educational achievement are normally categorised across three main dimensions – class, gender and ethnicity – of which the former is generally seen by sociologists of education as the primary determinant of achievement differences (as measured by exam grades), while gender and in some instances ethnicity is generally preferred by politicians and media commentators – Our schools are failing boys, which is bad news for Britain – for reasons that shouldn’t be too difficult to understand (although that, perhaps, is a story for another time).
Ken Browne (Sociology for AQA, Vol. 1: AS and 1st-Year A Level), for example, captures this often-complex hierarchy by structuring achievement in terms of class (the primary determinant), with gender and ethnicity as secondary determinants. As can be seen from this graphic the argument here is that differences in educational achievement are primarily class-based (upper class children achieve more than working class children) with gender / ethnic gradations within each class.
This graphic is helpful because it provides a simple visual representation that allows students to understand not just within-class differences, (between for example boys and girls) but also cross-class differences; upper class boys, for example, generally achieve more than working class girls. By understanding this students should be able to construct more-nuanced answers to questions about differential achievement.
Taking It Further? (more…)
Following from the previous post on sociological perspectives, this map on Media Representations demonstrates how useful these types of revision maps can be for organising student knowledge around quite diverse topics.
As with previous examples, this map is based around keywords illustrated by pictures and fleshed-out where necessary with short pieces of text.
Continuing the sociology of the media theme that began with moral and amoral panics, this series of posts looks at the idea of media representations from a range of different perspectives.
For traditional Marxism, economic power is a key variable; those who own the means of physical production are always the most powerful class and economic power brings with it the ownership of mental production – control over how different social groups are represented.
Cultural institutions such as the media are part of the ideological superstructure and their role is to support the status quo through the creation and maintenance of a worldview that favours the political, ideological and, above all, economic interests of a ruling class. How different social groups are represented within this worldview is a crucial aspect of ruling class domination and control – with the focus of explanation being the various ways a ruling class use their economic dominance to represent less powerful groups in ways that enhance and justify their power. While media representations are not in themselves a means of controlling behaviour, they are a means to an end. By representing different groups in particular ways the media allows a ruling class to act against such groups if and whenever they threaten their political, ideological or economic power.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is always a go-to source for all types of statistical data on a variety of topics and this one is no exception.
With links to both gender and social inequality “Welcome to unequal England” uses ONS data to show how inequalities impact on some of the most important life chances of all – the ability to live a long, healthy, life.
The research can also be linked to the work done by writers such as Rosenthal and Jacobson (Pygmalion in the Classroom: 1968) in exploring the significance of labelling and self-fulfilling prophecies as this relates to differential educational achievement.
If you want to build on these ideas, our short film The End of Childhood? features Jane Pilcher talking about her research on the sexualisation of young girls and how they understand gender stereotyping.
This snippet of research by Taylor and Rampino (2014) can be added to your armoury of explanations for gender differences in educational achievement.
Although it’s main focus is on “aspirations and attitudes” as factors in gender differences it goes some way to locating these within both the education system (inside school factors) and the family (outside school factors).
William Chambliss’ (1973) seminal essay about two rival high school gangs is rightly seen as a contemporary classic that explores, over a few short pages, the consequences of labelling processes and the development of self-fulfilling prophecies.
While it’s a useful primary resource for A-level discussions about the perceived relationship between class, age, gender, ethnicity and deviance it also serves as a context-piece for more contemporary examples of this phenomenon that students can research and explore – such as Keene State College in America or, closer to home, the behaviour portrayed in The Riot Club – a film based on the activities of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club.
Interesting Ted-Talk about the portrayal of women through advertising and its possible effects.