The lesson learned early which David learned as well is that not adhering to

The lesson learned early which david learned as well

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The lesson learned early, which David learned as well, is that not adhering to routines such as com- pleting one's obento on time leads to not only ad- monishment from the teacher, but rejection from the other students. The nursery school system differentiates be- tween the child who does and the child who does not manage the multifarious and constant rituals of nursery school. And for those who do not manage there is a penalty which the child learns either to avoid or wish to avoid. Seeking the acceptance of his peers, the student develops the aptitude, will- ingness, and in the case of my son-whose outspo- kenness and individuality were the characteristics most noted in this culture-even the desire to con- form to the highly ordered and structured practices of nursery school life. As Althusser (1971) wrote about ideology: the mechanism works when and be- cause ideas about the world and particular roles in that world that serve other (social, political, eco- nomic, state) agendas become familiar and one's own. Rohlen makes a similar point: that what is taught and learned in nursery school is socialorder. Called shudanseikatsu or group life, it means or- ganization into a group where a person's subjectiv- ity is determined by group membership and not "the assumption of choice and rational self-inter- est" (1989: 30). A child learns in nursery school to be with others, think like others, and act in tandem with others. This lesson is taught primarily through the precision and constancy of basic routines: "Or- der is shaped gradually by repeated practice of se- lected daily tasks . . . that socialize the children to high degrees of neatness and uniformity" (p. 21). Yet a feeling of coerciveness is rarelyexperienced by the child when three principles of nursery school instruction are in place: 1) school routines are made "desirable and pleasant" (p. 30), 2) the teacher disguises her authority by trying to make the group the voice and unit of authority, and 3) the regimentation of the schoolis administered by an attitude of "intimacy" on the part of the teach- ers and administrators (p. 30). In short, when the desires and routines of the school are made into the desires and routines of the child, they are made acceptable. Mothering as Gendered Ideological State Apparatus The rituals surrounding the obento's consumption in the school situatewhat ideological meanings the obento transmits to the child. The process of pro- duction withinthe home, by contrast, organizes its somewhat different ideological package for the mother. While the two sets of meanings are inter- twined, the mother is faced with different expecta- tions in the preparation of the obentm than the This content downloaded from on Fri, 14 Feb 2014 02:28:12 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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202 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY child is in its consumption.
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