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Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School (Studies of Great Texts in Science) Paperback – 1 Mar 1993

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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (1 Mar. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813519233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813519234
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,432,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"A stunning achievement. Through the most careful, finely wrought sociological observation, Thorne transforms our ability to see gender in social life. She demonstrates that every action . . . is worthy of interpretation and infused with social and cultural meaning. We have been hearing from feminist theorists that gender is contingent and constructed, but only Gender Play shows us--in richly complex detail--how. Feminist scholarship takes a major step forward with this book."--Nancy J. Chodorow "author of Feminism and Psychoanalytic Theory "

"This is a beautifully observed, as well as deeply reflective book . . . pathbreaking research is combined with vivid and enjoyable writing. Thorne will help teachers and parents, as well as students and researchers, gain a new understanding of issues about gender."--Bob Connell "author of Gender and Power "

"Destined to be a classic . . . a wonderful text--beautifully inflected, reflexive, responsive to diversity and differences, and grounded in careful ethnographic work."--Laurel Richardson "author of The Dynamics of Sex and Gender "

From the Back Cover

You see it in every schoolyard: the girls play only with girls, the boys play only with boys. Why? And what do the kids think about this? Breaking with familiar conventions for thinking about children and gender, Gender Play develops fresh insights into the everyday social worlds of kids in elementary schools in the United States. Barrie Thorne draws on her daily observations in the classroom and on the playground to show how children construct and experience gender in school. With rich detail, she looks at the "play of gender" in the organization of groups of kids and activities - activities such as "chase-and-kiss", "cooties", "goin' with", and teasing. Thorne observes children in schools in working-class communities, emphasizing the experiences of fourth and fifth graders. Most of the children she observed were white, but a sizable minority were Latino, Chicano, or African American. Thorne argues that the organization and meaning of gender are influenced by age, ethnicity, race, sexuality, and social class, and that they shift with social context. She sees gender identity not through the lens of individual socialization or difference, but rather as a social process involving groups of children. Thorne takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery, provides new insights about children, and offers teachers practical suggestions for increasing cooperative mixed-gender interaction.

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