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Who giveth this woman to this man?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don’t seem to be able to embed this, so check it out here. In yesterday’s royal marriage ceremony there was a bit in the service which I’d forgotten about.  At one point (follow the link) the Archbishop of Canterbury (and when is someone going to tell him to get his hair cut?) said ‘Who giveth this woman to this man?”. Mr Middleton then gave his daughter’s hand to the Archbishop, who placed Kate’s hand upon Prince William’s hand.  Well, I know you can say it’s ‘just’ a tradition, but what would feminists make of that I wonder? Surely the symbolism and the language is clear? The woman is a piece of property - she is ‘given’ by the father, to her husband.  The husband-to-be however, is treated differently. He, it seems, is regarded as a fully independent being, who no one has the power to ‘give away’.  A marriage of equals?  Make of that what you will.

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nature vs nurture

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More fuel for the nurture versus nature argument.  This BBC article discusses how success is determined more by effort than talent, and the importance of a ‘growth mindset’ rather than a ‘fixed’ one.  Dweck’s experiment should prove fertile ground for discussion.

Men Kissing

Friday, April 15, 2011

This little story seems to be getting a lot of media coverage.  But for a simple bonus point, identify one public place in the UK where men are allowed to kiss?  It’s a good example of the relative nature of deviance - in terms of place that is.

Material deprivation

The ATL has produced a study of the impact of poverty of pupils’ learning, reported by the BBC.  There is perhaps nothing unusual or unexpected in the findings, but as it is a report of teachers’ perceptions, it could be a useful discussion point on subjectivity as well as material deprivation.

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Ethnicity and higher education

Monday, April 11, 2011

David Cameron has raised a stink about ethnic minorities going to Oxford University.  Much of the argument relates to how you read the statistics!  Read it here.

Sociology, Post Modernism, Art and the Handbag?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Time for a little light relief for the end of term? This new book from the French Sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann has been all over the British press this week; The Times, The Guardian and The Express. In it he collates 18 months of research looking at what a handbag says about its owner. According to Kaufmann, “I’m like an ethnologist except that, instead of observing a tribe, I observe women. It is perfectly understandable, given that the advent of the handbag coincided with the dawn of choice, so it highlights the way in which women have been able to construct their own identities.
On a similar theme the French video artist Pierre Klein simply asks women to empty the contents and explain what the contents say about the owner. So there you have it, a perfect end of term ‘Starter’ activity - get your students to empty the contents of their bags!

What happens to our census forms?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Students who have been discussing the census may be interested in following up by looking at this clip.

social mobility

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Nick Clegg has been talking about social mobility, as reported by the BBC.  Alongside the usual politican-speak, is a nice graph that should prove a good discussion point.


boy or man?

Monday, April 04, 2011

This story on the BBC struck me today, not just because of the events, but because of the question of the point at which we stop being children and start being adults.  Do we draw the line between boy, youth and man differently depending on the context?  Food for thought.

Puzzle Maker

I was going to write something about the royal wedding ring and there’s a nice clip on the BBC about what happens to the census form. However, time has flown, so I will direct you instead to this helpful site where you can make your own crosswords. In fact, I’m going to make one now.

‘feminism trumps egalitarianism’

Saturday, April 02, 2011

David Willets, the Universities Minister, claims that feminism has held back working class men.  Read the article - what do you think?

Official statistics - census

Friday, April 01, 2011

Nice article from the BBC about the census and the difficulties of counting people - useful evaluation points for students to use.

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