The Way to a Boy's Heart? New Mechanisms for making boys better

McWilliam, Erica L. & Brannock, Jillian M. (2001) The Way to a Boy's Heart? New Mechanisms for making boys better. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 29(1), pp. 7-18.

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This paper situates the current educational focus on boys in the wider context of a workplace culture of performativity and enterprise. The authors argue that the present focus on reclaiming boys’ emotions parallels important shifts in the corporate sector to privilege the ‘soft skills’ of service and social interaction over the hard skills of boss management. However, in a departure from an earlier generation of correspondence theorists, the authors do not understand this ‘correspondence’ of schooling and industry needs as merely repressive. The new work culture is a service culture, and boys are being expected to have the requisite skills (of social service) in order to have jobs in the future. The first part of the paper provides a critique of the new essentialism that appears to underpin many of the social and educational intervention programs being conducted on behalf of Australian boys. The second part of the paper explains how such programs work as part of a larger logic about the sort of skills necessary to the ‘globalised’ workplace. The argument is made here that, for better and worse, this work which teachers are being asked to do allows boys to be redeemed as victims of their biology rather than ‘behavioural problems’. In being re-formed from villain to victim, boys can be become ‘better’ and more productive at the same time.

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ID Code: 1042
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1080/13598660120032941
ISSN: 1469-2945
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2001 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: First published in Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education 29(1):pp. 7-18.
Deposited On: 28 Jun 2005 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:24

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