Routledge international handbook of the sociology of education
Apple, Michael W. Ball, Stephen J. Gandin, Luis Armando
Place of Publication
New York, N.Y.
In this chapter I identify and elaborate, from a feminist perspective, upon the theoretical shifts and key concepts that inform sociological analyses of gender and educational organizations. Gender inequalities are embedded in the multi-dimensional structure of relationships between women and men, which, as the modern sociology of gender shows, operates at every level of experience, from economic arrangements, culture and the state to interpersonal relationships and individual emotions. (Connell, 2005: 1801) Even naming this a sociology of gender and organizations is problematic. Many sociologists consider gender as a key sociological concept, but not necessarily from a feminist perspective. Feminism is a multidisciplinary, transnational movement that 'focuses on the relationship between social movements, political action and social inequalities' (Arnot, 2002: 3) and on the everyday experiences of women and girls and how they translate into social and structural 'ruling relations' (Smith, 1988). Feminism takes on multiple trajectories and imperatives in different cultural contexts, although with familial resemblances, most particularly the shared objective of equality for women and girls. Education as a primary institution of individual and collective mobility and social change, but also social and economic reproduction, has long been a focus of feminist theory and activism. So a feminist sociology needs to address this complexity of feminist sociological 'encounters' with gender and organizations.