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Classes, Clubs, and Control

Classes, Clubs, and Control

(p.59) Chapter Three Classes, Clubs, and Control
Schooling Selves
Peter Cave
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines how schools sought to shape students’ selfhood through activities in two key groups within schools– class groups (gakkyū) and extra-curricular clubs (bukatsudō). Teachers saw classes as heterogeneous groups in which students had to learn to accept and work together with others, creating unity without losing diversity. Students generally accepted these ideals in theory, but in practice sometimes preferred to pursue their individual agendas. In contrast, clubs were seen as groups with a shared enthusiasm, allowing students autonomous choice. However, clubs were actually at least as much about disciplined commitment as about individual autonomy. The imperative to keep control was crucial in impelling teachers towards regimes of group discipline within schools, and was influenced by the dominance of gender norms of conventional masculinity. Nonetheless, it did not go unquestioned, and there were signs of some loosening of masculine dominance and disciplinary emphasis by 2007.

Keywords:   Class, gakkyū, club, bukatsudō, control, gender, masculinity, autonomy

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