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[Xmca-l] Re: Gendered Access in Crafting and Electronics Practices

Kylie & co.,
A fascinating study around a truly ingenious approach to the gendered division of labour - giving school kids E-textiles to construct an electronic device - total mixing up and confounding the gender stereotypes about sewing and electronics, etc.

Some of the results were quite startling. That the young boy should not just abstain and demonstratively not pay attention, but pay active and supportive attention to the girl making the circuit with her needle-and-thread - an admired female-typical stance one would have thought a young male incapable of adopting with a female workmate. And that the gender-inscription of the sewing tools over-rode the greater experience that in this case the young boy had in using them, with the boy deferring to the less experienced girl in recognition of the gender-appropriateness of her "taking charge" with the needle-and-thread. This does cause one to think a little deeper into how we might conceptualise such gendered behaviours.

As you would know, MCA has a strong preference for qualitative research, and studies with small sample sizes are not generally a problem, but so much seemed to hinge on the study of just *one* boy-girl team, that I am concerned about the capacity to generalise from such a base. There were about 80 youth in the activity as a whole, so I can only hope and presume that observation of the other 78 kids in some way guided the work focused on just 2.

I must say, the analysis of the video data is very sophisticated and productive and you are to be congratulated on this aspect of the work. I see that you approach the gendering of the activities through the idea of the various *tools* being gendered, rather than the *practices* themselves. This is something that was really necessary for you to be able to make these observations, because the gendering of the activities is ambiguous, but not it seems the gendering of the tools. Is this a result of the study, or is it something you already knew or did you arrive at this by logic?

Do you see any other opportunities for confounding gender stereotypes in this way?

And finally, does the experience of working in ambiguous, even inverted gender-stereotyped activities like these have any outcome which carries over into a world where the gender division of labour lacks ambiguity?


*Andy Blunden*

Kylie Peppler wrote:
Thanks Andy! We're excited to discuss with the community and would welcome any comments/questions on this emerging line of research!

Kylie A. Peppler
Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences
Indiana University | School of Education
1900 E 10th Street | Eigenmann 528 | Bloomington | IN | 47406 | 812.856.8381

On Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 10:52 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Here's the article for discussion Artin is introducing:
    *Hands On, Hands Off: Gendered Access in Crafting and Electronics
    Beth Buchholz, Kate Shively, Kylie Peppler, and Karen Wohlwend.
    Indiana University.

       The Maker movement promotes hands-on making, including crafts,
       robotics, and computing. The movement’s potential to transform
       education rests in our ability to address notable gender
       disparities, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and
       mathematics fields. E-textiles - the first female-dominated
       computing community - provide inspiration for overcoming
       long-standing cultural divides in classrooms. Analysis of
       use of e-textiles reveals that materials like needles, fabric, and
       conductive thread rupture traditional gender scripts around
       electronics and implicitly gives girls hands-on access and
       leadership roles. This reconceptualization of cultural divides as
       sets of tacitly accepted practices rooted in gendered histories has
       implications for reconceptualizing traditionally male-dominated
       areas of schooling.

    *Andy Blunden*

    Goncu, Artin wrote:

        Dear All,

        We are writing to let you know that the most recent issue of
        MCA is out.
        One of the articles published in this issue and being
        introduced here for
        discussion in referenced below.  The authors of the article
        have kindly
        agreed to lead the discussion, and they are on xmca with us
        now.  The free
        access to the article is possible through the links below.  We
        are looking
        forward to hearing from you all.  Best, ag

        Hands On, Hands Off: Gendered Access in Crafting
        and Electronics Practices
        Beth Buchholz, Kate Shively, Kylie Peppler, and Karen Wohlwend



        Artin Goncu, Ph.D
        Co-editor, Mind, Culture, and Activity:An International Journal
        Professor Emeritus,
        University of Illinois at Chicago
        College of Education M/C 147
        1040 W. Harrison St.
        Chicago, IL 60607