Girls, reading and literature: a genealogy
Stockholm University, Sweden
This project focuses on the historically changing status of reading practices and the reading subject. More specifically, the project focuses on constructions of ‘the good reader’ or – in present time’s discourse, ‘the avid reader’ - a position that in today’s Swedish society is mainly possessed by the teenage girl. In public discourse, the reading girl is contrasted against the nonreading boy, and more generally - although contradictory, - a ‘nonreading’ generation. By looking at contemporary girls’ own stories about their reading practices, and contextualizing them through contemporary and historical texts concerned with girls, reading and literature, the project aims to study practices of self-cultivation and reading. The historical materials used in this study are advice books on reading from early 1900s, for girls and/or their parents; debate articles on the specific genre “the girl book” that was popular in Sweden during the 1900s; marketing strategies of publishing companies; official government reports on reading habits and literature; and reading promotion campaigns.
Exploring the dimensions of student youth’s sexuality: the case of Russia
St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation
The beginning of the 21st century is characterized by crucial transformations in the sexual sphere of life in various modern societies including Russia, namely: tendencies of liberalization and democratization of sexual, gender and family relations, commercialization of sexuality, the rise of queer movement, etc. Thus, at the moment sexuality might be regarded as a complex mosaic of cultural forms, styles of life, traditions, communities, practices, and discourses that are spreading, confronting, competing, and co-existing at the global, regional, and local levels. One of the social groups that are mostly affected by contemporary changes in sexual and gender life is the youth, including student youth. In this paper, based on the findings of in-depth interviews with 21 young men and women aged 18-25 years old, students of different universities of St. Petersburg (the second biggest city in Russia), the main modes and dimensions, tendencies of formation and reproduction of sexuality of student youth are revealed and described. The following dimensions of student youth’s sexuality are extracted and investigated in the study: axiological, normative, representational, behavioral, gender, and subcultural. The various configurations of these dimensions lead to (re)production of different modern modes of sexuality of student youth in Russia.
No Woman's Land? Gender and Generational Dynamics in thirty young women's life histories in the agro-food sector in Sardinia, Italy.
University of Cagliari, Italy
The paper traces the intertwining of the biographical and career courses of a sample of 30 female entrepreneurs in the agro-food sector in Sardinia, whose life histories were collected between 2014 and early 2016. In a global context of regeneration of the peasant sector (Van der Ploeg J., 2008), involving to a large extent the younger cohorts who are entering in an increasingly precarious labor market, the récits de vie of these women who chose an unusual professional path, also in gender terms, appear very significant.
The key event that marked a "before" and "after" in their life course is the generational transition from the background family to the farm, because the way they handled this step has been crucial in the process of definition of their aspirations and their personal and professional future. The link between timing (“When you joined the farm?”) and the strategic meaning of this choice (“What project did you have in mind, as a young woman?”) led to outline five trajectories: 1) A linear transmission of the farm's core, from father to daughter; 2) A Back-to-the-land movement, coming from other training and professional careers; 3) A generational leap, aimed at recovering a grandfather's farm and at re-stitching a parental plot which has been suspended for a long time; 4) A biographical and career break, based on an ex-novo project in the agro-food sector, completely detached from the family background; 5) A multiple presence among different segments of the labor market, in constant search of a sustainable balance between business duties, other professional roles and private life.
What we do (not) want to tell teenagers about sex? Female and male sexuality constructing in the context of sexuality education in Poland
1University of Zielona Góra, Poland; 2Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland
This pronouncement shall concern the contexts of constructing of teenage girls and boys sexuality contained in the messages in sexuality education textbooks in Poland. There will be presented the findings of the all-Polish research project "Gender in Textbooks", concerning the critical analysis of the content of Polish textbooks and core curriculum. The research was focused upon the following research issues: 1) What expectations are presented in the sexuality education textbooks as for playing gender roles within the areas of intimate life? 2) What meanings are related in sexual education textbooks with sexuality, and in what contexts the sexual behaviors defined as feminine and masculine are depicted? The concept of gender was a research perspective and, at the same time, an analytical category - the basis for the categorization key structured. The research was of a complex nature, i.e. the analysis included all the sexual education textbooks approved for teaching process by the Ministry of National Education in the years 2013-15. Quantitative and qualitative strategies were applied in the research. All together, 1113 visual forms and 11 books were analyzed. The presented constructs are strongly connected to the traditionally defined femininity and masculinity patterns. The traditionally understood femininity and masculinity, and sexuality are valuated positively and presented in opposition to the so-called liberal image - identified as contemporary one - depicted negatively. The model presented in textbooks is based on the idea of the dualism of sexes and the perspective of essentialism and shows the physicality and sexuality of young women and men in reference to the simplified images having its source in gender stereotypes thus limiting the diversity of needs and attitudes.