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Power in Feminist Pedagogies. The Case of Sex Education in France

Abstract : Drawing on the example of sex education in France, this paper considers the feminist poststructuralist critique of critical pedagogy and its impact on the conceptualization of relations and knowledge. Although feminist educators showed an early interest in critical pedagogy, some of them in the poststructuralist camp expressed concerns about critical pedagogies' tendencies toward dominance and essentialism. French sex education illustrates many of these problematic aspects. From its historical links to the control of populations to its current aim at "education for equality" inspired by progressive pedagogies, it emerges as the "missing link" between liberatory education and state-controlled mechanisms of discipline. It shows how in spite of emancipatory intentions, critical pedagogy can drift toward normalization. Poststructuralist feminists state that this tendency is linked to the fact that critical pedagogies reify power and fail to theorize adequately relations at the level of the classrooms. The specificity of the educational setting ought to be taken into account in order to understand how schools participate in the production of gender relations. That's why, instead of considering how to manage relations between already existing individuals with defined identities and differences, a feminist education should aim at a "we" that is not previous to the construction of knowledge, but which is its result. Alternative histories and oppositional knowledges would then be the conditions for new modes of being together.
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Contributor : Vanina Mozziconacci <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:40:06 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 1:52:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, June 8, 2018 - 12:37:16 PM

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Vanina Mozziconacci. Power in Feminist Pedagogies. The Case of Sex Education in France. SEW@AESA 2014 Conference: "Reconceptualizing diversity: engaging with histories, theories, practices, and discursive strategies in global contexts", American Educational Studies Association; International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) Oct 2014, Toronto, Canada. pp.92-99. ⟨halshs-01721903⟩

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