Codes and Contradictions

Race, Gender Identity, and Schooling

By Jeanne Drysdale Weiler

Subjects: Social Context Of Education
Series: SUNY series, Power, Social Identity, and Education
Paperback : 9780791445204, 264 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791445198, 264 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents

List of Tables


Chapter 1

Chapter 2
Social Class, Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Schooling: A Theoretical Overview

Chapter 3
The Social, Economic, and Educational Status of African American, Latina, and White Women in the United States

Chapter 4
Young White Working-Class Women: Envisioning Adult Lives

Chapter 5
Young Women of African American and Puerto Rican Descent: Anticipating Lives As Adult Women

Chapter 6
Young Women of Dominican and South American Descent: Constructing Possibilities for the Future

Chapter 7
Redefining Relationships to Schooling

Chapter 8
The Formal Curriculum

Chapter 9
The Social Construction of Gender Within the School

Chapter 10






This in-depth look at a diverse group of young women at an alternative high school illuminates issues of race, class, gender, and identity formation, and shows the enormous power of schools to re-orient young women from school failure to success.


This book examines the variations in the constitution of female gender in a group of young working class women of African American, Latina, U.S., Puerto Rican, and white European backgrounds who are enrolled in an alternative high school for students at risk of academic failure. It then analyzes the school processes that impact on the shaping of the young women's gender identities and provides evidence that female gender identity among various racial or ethnic backgrounds can be very dissimilar. It also illustrates the enormous power of schools to re-orient young women who have previous experiences of academic failure to view education as crucial to attaining their future goals.

Jeanne Drysdale Weiler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at Hunter College, CUNY.


"This book uniquely compares processes of identity formation among three groups of young women—white, African American and Puerto Rican, and Latinas. The inclusion of racialized minorities like Puerto Ricans as well an non-white immigrants is particularly important." — Catherine Raissiguier, author of Becoming Women/Becoming Workers: Identity Formation in a French Vocational School

"I found the author's careful and convincing portrayal of how race/ethnicity, gender, and social class collectively influence identity among these girls fascinating. The whole notion of identity construction—and particularly the role that schools play in its evolution—is underdeveloped in the educational literature. This book has important ramifications." — Ann Locke Davidson, author of Making and Molding Identity in Schools: Student Narratives on Race, Gender, and Academic Engagement