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Toys, gender and education in a toy library

This text is about a research project carried out with children ranging from age 2 to 10, at the Education College Toy Library at the University of São Paulo from March 2005 to March 2006, with the objective of establishing relations between toys, gender and education. The qualitative and ethnographic research includes a logbook, video recordings, transcriptions of episodes in which children are playing and personal stories. Drawing on the post-structural feminist theory, based on a conception of subjectivity as precarious, contradictory and constantly reconstructed in discourse, the author suggests a concept of gender based on the performance of social actors as a means to develop equity in playing for both boys and girls. The results show the difficult task of eliminating gender preconceptions, which depends on factors that are external to the Toy Library environment. They also reveal the evidence of changes, strengthening the belief that it is possible do adopt a policy that stimulates equity in childhood playing, encouraging boys and girls to play together.

gender; toys; post-structural feminist theories; toy library; equity in playing

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