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Between Femininities

Ambivalence, Identity, and the Education of Girls

Marnina Gonick

Publication Year: 2003

Arguing for a recognition of the contradictory and ambivalent identifications that both attract and repel those who live the social category “girl,” Marnina Gonick analyzes the discourses and practices defining female sexuality, embodiment, relationship to self and other, material culture, use of social space, and cultural-political agency and power. Based on a school-community project involving collaborative production of a video which tells the stories of several fictional girl characters, Gonick examines the contradictory and textured structure of the discourses available to girls through which their identities are negotiated. Woven throughout the book is the integral concern with the way in which ethnographic writing as a discursive practice is also implicated in the production and signification of social identities for girls.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series, Second Thoughts: New Theoretical Formations

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

This book owes a great deal to both the place and the people who supported its first inception, as a doctoral dissertation. At the time I was a student there, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education was a site of intense, exciting, and profound intellectual debate. And while hindsight may have furnished something of a rosy lens, my horizons were most definitely crucially expanded there. I continue ...

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CHAPTER 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-20

To open this discussion on inventions of girls and girlhood, I invite you to the Blue Room. For in many ways, both my own entry into thinking about the discursive and social practises of femininity and the origins of the About Us, By Us video project that will orient our explorations of these practices can be traced to the Blue Room, otherwise known as the school staff room, and a meeting that ...

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CHAPTER 2. Points of Departure and Disrupted Arrivals: Negotiating the Research Terrain

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pp. 21-60

So, why do you want to know all this?” LeLy is once again asking for an explanation as to what it is I’ve been doing at her school for the past two years. She is trying to understand what it is my project is about. The question has come up before in a variety of forms. On numerous occasions she has wondered, “Why would an adult hang out with kids?”...

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CHAPTER 3. Crystal's Story: The Bad Girl Within

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pp. 61-104

Is everyone ready? Okay, places, everyone!” LeLy shouts. “Come on people! We haven’t got all day!” “Oh my god, that thing is heavy,” Fanny complains not for the first time today, as she picks up the video camera. “If this were a real movie, I wouldn’t have to hold this the whole time. We’d have one of those things for the camera to go on.”...

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CHAPTER 4. Tori's Story: Becoming Somebody

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pp. 105-173

Having retrieved the video from its storage place in the back of my filing cabinet, I am watching the scenario unfold from a distance of three years—or is it four? I am further from those girls now, from Mai, who plays Tori, and the others. Three years ago I knew them, not uncomplicatedly, as girls, working-class students, immigrants whose family histories brought them to this city from the far ...

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Conclusilon. The Good, the Bad, the Smart, and the Popular: Living Ambivalence

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pp. 161-186

How does one conclude a discussion in which the limits to understanding have been as central to the analysis as claims to knowledge? Do I now magically reveal the absences and the silences underlying that which has been spoken, assert the authority I have thus far refused to claim, and finally (m)utter summary words? How should I bring this conversation to a close, moving ...

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pp. 187-188

Mai called the other day (though I remind myself to be careful not to address her by that name). It has been several months since the last time we were in touch. “Not done yet?” she asks. “I’m working on the conclusion,” I say. It is possible I am only imagining the incredulousness in her voice. The longevity of this writing process has, by now, become something of a ...


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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-214


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pp. 215-225

E-ISBN-13: 9780791486344
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791458297
Print-ISBN-10: 0791458296

Page Count: 226
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: SUNY series, Second Thoughts: New Theoretical Formations