Between Femininities

Ambivalence, Identity, and the Education of Girls

By Marnina Gonick

Subjects: Identity
Series: SUNY series, Second Thoughts: New Theoretical Formations
Paperback : 9780791458303, 238 pages, September 2003
Hardcover : 9780791458297, 238 pages, September 2003

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Table of contents




What Is the "Problem" with These Girls?: School Discourses of Teenage Femininity
The Itinerary of an Idea
Itinerant Writings/Readings/Pedagogies


Points of Departure and Disrupted Arrivals: Negotiating the Research Terrain

Knowing "Us" and "Them": Ethnographic Knowledge, and the End of Innocence
Researching Experience/Experiencing Research: Crisis in Research Epistemology and Representation
Research Geographies
Text, Talk, and Videotape: Research Methodology as Feminist Pedagogy
Notes towards a Politics of Arrival: New Ethnographic Stories


Crystal's Story: The Bad Girl Within

Crystal's Story: Narrating the Self through Romance
Scenes of Desire: The Bad Girl Within
Scene 1: Subjectivity and Femininity
Scene 2: Bodies in Trouble: The Bad Girl Made Visible
Scene 3: Necessary Failures: Disrupting the Good Girl Story
Scene 4: Good Girls and the Disavowal of Self


Tori's Story: Becoming Somebody

Narrating the Self from the Inside Out
Scenes of Transformation
Scene 1: From the Outside In: (Re)Dressing Social Difference
Scene 2: (Re) Situating the Self in Social Space


The Good, the Bad, the Smart, and the Popular: Living Ambivalence

Mixed Subjects: Disruptive Figures?
I. Intersections: The Bad Girl Within: Transformations beyond the Ending
II. Intersections: Becoming Somebody: Romancing the Self
Mixed Subjects, New Subjectivites, and Feminist Cultural Pedagogies





An investigation into the complex processes of "becoming a girl."


Arguing for a recognition of the contradictory and ambivalent identifications that both attract and repel those who live the social category "girl," Marnina Gonick analyzes the discourses and practices defining female sexuality, embodiment, relationship to self and other, material culture, use of social space, and cultural-political agency and power. Based on a school-community project involving collaborative production of a video which tells the stories of several fictional girl characters, Gonick examines the contradictory and textured structure of the discourses available to girls through which their identities are negotiated. Woven throughout the book is the integral concern with the way in which ethnographic writing as a discursive practice is also implicated in the production and signification of social identities for girls.

Marnina Gonick is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Women's Studies at Penn State at University Park.