Critique. This Critique Seeks To Provide Contextualisation

1355 WordsApr 14, 20176 Pages
Critique This critique seeks to provide contextualisation for investigations into gendered representations in children’s literature, and the mechanisms that underpin their construction and reproduction. The key aim is to explore possible shifts within gender representation in children’s literature. Hamilton et al. (2006) argue that although there have been changes, over time, to gender representations, improvements have been mitigated by both the underrepresentation of female characters and a continued tendency to cast girls in “passive roles, boys in active ones” (p. 758). It is important to note that whilst underrepresentation is an important facet of study in children’s literature, it will be excluded from this discussion as to…show more content…
178). Representations are construction in text, thus have a constructive effect in shaping understandings of world, identity and gender (Sunderland, 2011, p. 5). Sunderland notes, and partially supports, claims that representations constructed by discourses that stress differences could play significantly into naturalising and legitimating traditional ideas of gender. Construction is not without criticism, particularly as there are multiple definitions of what constitutes constructionism. Similarly, meanings of key concepts are open to contest by theoretical approaches (Lehtonen, 2007, 11). For example, various theoretical approaches disagree on the ‘role of the reader’ in construction as an ‘active negotiator’ or ‘passive recipient’ (Stam, 2001, p. 294). Other criticism of construction, in relation to discourse, argues that it is stronger theoretically, but lacks empirical outcomes (Stam, 2001, p.294; Sunderland, 2004, p. 172). Sunderland does observe this. Her own clear and concise investigation on discourse allows her to explore and critique various theoretical approaches to gendered discourse. Throughout the book, Sunderland makes an argument for interdisciplinary approaches to gendered discourses arguing that each theoretical approach has something to offer that may support or strengthen the others’ conclusions. Despite criticism, it is possible to conclude that discursive construction is useful to critique approaches to representation to

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