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

Andy, thanks for these generative questions and comments! I'll defer to my
co-authors to situate the focal case in the larger study but I'll address
how we are considering relationships among gender, practices, and tools.

We're conceptualizing tools as anchoring artifacts, that concretize and
suggest particular uses  and users accrued from cultural histories of
access and use (following Holland and Cole's cultural artifacts, and more
recently, Rowsell and Pahl's sedimented identities and artifactual
literacies). Tools index shared histories of use, values, and expectations
for who *should *be a user and for how practices *should *be conducted,
practices which following Paechter are situated in communities of gendered
practice that are multiple, local, and embodied.

However, we would not say that a tool is gendered in any fixed or
deterministic way. In any given moment of activity, tools signal multiple
histories in many nexus of practice (following Ron Scollon, the tacit
shared practices that members of a community expect of one another) that
lead up to, enter in, and flow from that moment, in contradictory,
confounding, and complementary ways, hence the ambiguity you've mentioned.
How/whether social actors make use of particular histories in a specific
context realizes foregrounds some histories while backgrounding others-- in
ways that can reproduce, contest, or blur prevailing expectations for
participation. In our analysis, we looked closely at the mediated actions
in the handling of tools in the one nexus to understand in a very concrete
way how girls were able to gain and maintain control over
projects--contrary to histories and expectations for high levels of tool
handling, participation, and trajectories of expertise for boys in
electronics activity.

Looking closely at the mediated action in this transformative moment
reveals how changing the electronics tools from wires to needle and thread
changes the nexus, activating a powerful perception/expectation for girls
as appropriate tool users by signalling histories of sewing practices and
feminine communities of practice.

In regard to other situations, looking closely at mediated actions,
material artifacts, and tacit expectations for participation in the
relevant nexus of practice will likely also reveal how materials relate to
stereotypical expectations, pointing to places ripe for rupture where
changing something small in the local activity (e.g., an action, a tool, a
material) in dominant nexus of practice can signal a different kind of user
and potentially disrupt persistent and naturalized stereotypes.

Looking forward to continuing the conversation,

On Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 7:08 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> 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
>> ---
>> 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
>>     Practices*
>>     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
>>     children’s
>>        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
>>     (attached)
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>> ------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     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
>>         www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10749039.2014.939762
>>         <http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/10749039.2014.939762>
>>         http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10749039.2014.
>> 939762#.VEZ25Ra_4wI
>>         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

Karen Wohlwend, Associate Professor
Literacy, Culture, & Language Education
Indiana University
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
Office: 812-856-8275
Fax: 812-856-8287