Based on the course articles and group discussion.

Group: Tomas Blomqvist, Lucy Kaplan, Heidi Urpilainen & Tero Väisänen (writer)

Arnot’s article was about Willis’s research of ”lads” who were young working class males. They had three categories that defined them and made them ”the lads”: their age, social class and gender. They were not very interested about school and they had created their own behavioral codes, that had huge differences from those middle class behavioral codes that school required. ”Lads” knew well their own opportunities in society and thats why they had strong views what jobs were honorable to do and they were manual working class jobs. Willis suggests that this mechanism is the main thing that opresses these young working class males. When middle class school system does not recognize cultural capital of these ”lads”, they will try to create their own field that recognize these capitals and gives them chance to separate them from ”others”. The problem with this situation is that the system still will not recognize ”lads” cultural capital, so even though this mechanism might empower ”lads” in some level, it still opress them. For individual ”lad” it might be hard to try to brake this chain because if he act against the behavioral codes of ”lads”, he might be emasculated and he will be seen as the ”others”. So it is a cycle that might let these young working class males feel more accepted in their surroundings, but in long run it works against them by making them wrong kind for the middle class society.

As in ”lads” case the fields of society are born by social construction, so is gender, says Paechter in hers article. Most of us are born as male or female, which is defined by our genitals. After that moment when we have been divided by our sexes, the world around us starts to treat us differently. Girls will have dolls to play with and boys will have toy cars to play with. In school girls will be expected to be calm and hard-working, when boys will have much more space to challenge the schools rules because ”boys will be boys” attitude. This is large problem, because specially in Finland, this separates jobs between men and women. If person will go to a job that is considered to be opposite sexs job, for example man to work as kindergarten teacher, it could raise some eyebrowns of other people. So with gender comes lots of norms that people need to follow if they don’t want to be seen as ”different”. In the end of this blog post I would like to share one of my own experience about this. When I got in university of Helsinki to study education science (kasvatustiede), first thing that my dad said, instead of congratulating was ”Isn’t it like a girls thing?”. After months of hard work and achieving something like that, I will always remember that reaction.


Arnot, M. (2003). Male working-class identities and social justice. Ch 6 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.

Paechter, C. (2003). Masculinities, feminities and physical education: bodily practices as reifies markers of community membership. Ch 8 in Social justice, education and identity edited by Carol Vincent.

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