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Unformatted text preview: entities has been less frequently studied. An exception has been the work on representations of intelligence by Mugny and Carugati (1989), and
the related work on mothers' representations of children by Molinari and Emiliani (1990). In
these studies the different social identities which emerged were related systematically to the
social positions occupied by different people. Mugny and Carugati, for example, describe the
way in which the theme of intelligence appears from the position of parents or teachers, and
others who are more removed from daily contact with children. They suggest that it is parents
and teachers need to generate an acceptable explanation for differences between children
which accounts for their adherence to an ideology of giftedness. In this account the process
of positioning refers to the social-psychological consequences of adopting a particular social
role. Our own work has a slightly different focus, and not only because it deals with gender
rather than intelligence. Our concern has been with the emergence of children with gendered
identities in the context of entering full time schooling. The process of positioning here not
only refers to the way in which children locate themselves within representational space, but
it is also a process which, as we have seen, takes place in time.
The theme of time is, in fact, multi-layered in the development of social gender identities.
One issue which our research raises but does not answer is the consequences of adopting a
particular position within the social world of gender. As we have seen, gender identities
defined through our observational measure varied considerably across the first year of
schooling. Some positions, though, may offer a more restricted possibility for change than
others. Girls who adopt the position of a femininity organised around the exclusion of boys
will find very little opportunity for interacting with boys, especially in peer organised
contexts. The positions which are adopted do have consequences for the further elaboration
of social gender identities. In this sense, social identities not only orient children to the world
of the present, but also to the future. From our own work it is difficult to see how clearly this
future orientation is apparent to the children themselves. The teachers (and parents) clearly do
have representations of how children develop, and these representations are also linked to
gender. Different expectations arise of the how girls and boys will develop. To return to the
tomboy and the sissy, these are roles which have a clearly specified career path into the
future. The tomboy is tolerated because there is an expectation that sooner or later puberty
will intervene to reorient the girl into an identity which will enable her to take an appropriate...
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2012 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 107 taught by Professor Neascu during the Spring '12 term at UMass (Amherst).
- Spring '12
- Social Psychology