The serious and playful work of gender : talk and social order in a preschool classroom

Danby, Susan J. (1998) The serious and playful work of gender : talk and social order in a preschool classroom. In Yelland, Nicola (Ed.) Gender in Early Childhood. Routledge, London, pp. 175-205.


This chapter reports some observations made of the social interactions of girls and boys, aged 3 to 5 years, in play situations in a preschool classroom of a childcare centre. It provides an alternate framework for early childhood educators to become aware of how preschool children construct their gendered social organizations. As girls and boys organise and build their social worlds of play through their talk-in-interaction, they are building their social orders. In this chapter, an analysis of one episode of children's play has, as its focus , the methods that some girls and boys use in their talk and activity to make sense of their everyday interactions. The analysis of play shows the children's real life work of constructing and maintaining gendered social orders in their lived everyday social worlds. A close reading of the transcript of an episode illustrates how two girls turn they boys' masculine practices o ritualized threats into performance. By so doing, they show that while they know masculine discourse, and can perform it themselves, they do not actually 'own' it in the same way that the boys do. In this way, gender is established not as a social density but as a shaped dynamic practice that is ongoing, build by relational encounters and shaped by the collective performances of the participants.

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ID Code: 67534
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: gender, preschool classroom, constructing gender, play, constructing social orders, ritual, hegemonic masculinity
ISBN: 041515409X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Deposited On: 20 Feb 2014 00:43
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2014 00:43

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