WSTA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 21: Bricolage

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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CHAPTER 21: Warrior Narratives in the Kindergarten Classroom: Renegotiating the Social Contract?
since the beginning of second-wave feminism, the separation between the public (masculine) world of politics and the economy and the private (feminine) world of
the family and personal life has been seen as highly significant in establishing gender differences and inequality
Pateman's broad argument is that in the modern world, the world since the Enlightenment, a 'civil society' has been established
in this civil society, patriarchy has been replaced by a fratriarchy, which is equally male and oppressive of women
men now rule not as fathers but as brothers, able to compete with one another but presenting a united front against those outside the group
it is the brothers who control the public world of the state, politics, and the economy
women have been given token access to this world because the discourses of liberty and universalism made this difficult to refuse, but to take part, they must
conform to the rules established to suit the brothers
this public world in which the brothers operate together is conceptualized as separate from the person and emotional
one is realm where there is little physicality – everything is done rationally, bureaucratically, according to contracts that the brothers accept as legitimate
violence in this realm is severely controlled by agents of the state, except that the brothers are sometimes called upon for the supreme sacrifice of dying to
preserve freedom
the social contract redefines the brawling and feuding long seen as essential characteristics of masculinity as deviant, even criminal, while the rest of physicality –
sexuality, reproduction of the body, daily and intergenerationally – is left to the private sphere
Conclusion
- we have suggested that the classroom is a major site where little boys are introduced to the masculinity of rationality and responsibility characteristic of the
brothers in civil society; we have been looking at a ‘cycle of practice’ where, in classroom after classroom, generation after generation, the mode of masculinity
typified in the warrior narratives is first driven underground and then transferred to the sports field
- we are, we would suggest, seeing, renegotiated, for each generation and in each boy’s own life, the conception of the ‘social contract’ that is characteristic of the
era of modernity, of the Enlightenment, of democracy, and of capitalism
- we are watching, re-enacted, the transformation of violence and power as exercised by body over body, to control through surveillance and rules, the move from
domination by individual superiors to acquiescence in a public sphere of decorum and rationality
- yet, this is a social contract, and there is another side to the bargain
- although they learn that they must give up their warrior narratives of masculinity in the public sphere, where rationality and responsibility hold sway, they also learn
that in return they may preserve them in the private realm of desire as fantasy, as bricolage, as a symbolic survival that is appropriate to the spaces of leisure and
self-indulgence, the playground, the backyard, the television set, the sports field
- although this is too large an issue to be explored in detail here, there may even be a re-enactment in the school setting of what Pateman has defined as the sexual
contract, the male right to dominate women in return for accepting the constraints of civil society
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