[ONLINE] University of Aveiro, Portugal

October 21, 22 and 23 2020

Curriculum and Gender: Construction of Youth Masculinities in the School Context

Marie Luce Tavares
Adriano Gonçalves da Silva
Arthur Cardoso Lana
Ulisses Expedito Pereira Teodoro das Dores

By striving to be, by law, the instrument by which the subjects can have access to any type of discourse, education, and in this case, the school, prints marks of what it allows and what it prevents, marking its lines/limits by distances, oppositions and social struggles. Thus, the entire educational system is a political way of maintaining or modifying the appropriation of the speeches, with the knowledge and powers that they contain. It is also reinforced that youth, as a phase and condition, is characterized by intense anatomical, physiological, psychological and social transformations. Young people build their identity, discovering and experiencing what it is to be and feel young, in the midst of social, geographical, cultural demands and several new experiences in relation to gender and sexuality. In this sense, talking about masculinities permeates urgent issues that our society needs to address, such as, for example, the way in which the social construction of masculinities has conditioned the school path of young people. The school institution is structured on hierarchical bases of power, a place where young people relate daily, where identities, notably gender, are built, reinforced and sedimented. In this sense, this work presents an excerpt from the research carried out in a school of professional and technological education that proposes to analyze the construction about masculinities in the discourse of young students of Integrated High School, identifying the way they interpret, contest and/or negotiate the values of hegemonic masculinity. Thus, we seek to discuss the construction of masculinities and their relationship with the school context in the speeches present in the first narratives of young students. These narratives, by ordering and assigning meanings to events, allow narrators to assign meanings to their experiences, constituting themselves as a privileged discursive form for understanding the subjects’ interpretations about themselves and about the construction of their masculinities, in a possible self-invention. Approaching the most critical formulations of Feminist Studies and Cultural Studies; we understand the subjects as having plural, multiple identities; identities that change, that are not fixed or permanent, that can even be contradictory. Therefore, we seek support in post-critical theories in the area of Education, specifically in the discussion of the curriculum, which has ‘power’ as the central issue. Thus, destabilizing the notion of curriculum as knowledge selected from a broader culture to be taught to all, and considering curriculum policy as a process of invention of the curriculum itself, a process of invention of the subject. It is emphasized that the constructions about masculinities are related to the life experiences of young people, and dialogue and active participation by educators is essential. With regard to gender relations, the school faces an enormous challenge. The construction of masculinities in youth encompasses a series of symbolic spaces that mediate man’s identity formation under culturally and socially defined molds, attributions and functions. Considering this aspect and school context, the development of studies directed to the way understandings related to masculinities are established and valued and how they can impact help in the design of educational policies and in the way of organizing space and daily life in school. We understand the importance of the school in recovering these “roles”, “norms”, “codes of meanings”, considering the school context as the locus in which these bodies will be configured.

Keywords: Gender; Masculinities; Curriculum; School; Identity Appropriations.