Pedagogy and Sexual Difference (2014/2015)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Anna Maria Piussi
Anna Maria Piussi
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. IIA, Sem. IIB

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

Education, teaching and formation are fields strongly marked by the female presence, but the language, the symbolic, the knowledge, the organisational and managerial structures seem to reflect still neuter-masculine paradigms. These are based on hierarchizing dualisms embodied in degrees of power (nature/culture, public/private, production/reproduction, rational/emotional, object/subject, normal/abnormal). Urgent becomes to assume a posture of thought and action that takes into account the fact that the world is one but inhabited by women and men, with the variety of their unique human experiences and sexual orientation, and with expectations, desires, capabilities and educational needs that cannot be homologated.
We will start from a basic idea of the feminism of sexual difference: the idea that women should not be treated as a disadvantaged and discriminated social group, to protect, support, and make it more equal to men through equality/equal opportunities politics and "pedagogies of gender; but, on the contrary, that the freedom of women, earned in the relations between women, has changed profoundly, strating from the relationship with themselves, the relationship with men and with their historic buildings, and radically rethinks the world (culture, knowledge, forms of social ties, economy, politics etc.) betting on a change of civilization, more livable and fair for all.
As in other research fields, also education and pedagogical knowledge are confronted with a post-patriarchal time, characterised by disorientation and ambivalences, but also by new awareness, subjectivity and transformative practices. The course will initiate the students towards these profound rearrangements in the view, language, and in the interpretative paradigms.
The course aims to make consciously operating the free sense of sexual difference, for a new civilization of relations, in educational research, practice education and training, planning and organization of interventions and educational services, in counselling to individuals and groups.


Main attitudes of thought and action to be acquired:
- Talking is never neuter: sexualisation of the language, subjectivity and symbolic competence;
- Starting from oneself: the thought and knowledge from experience in education and in the pedagogic research;
- Relations at centre: practice of relations, disparity relations, care;
- Power and authority: the maximum of authority with the minimum of power

The subjects of the class are articulable into several interesting directions for pedagogical reflection. I propose the following:

1. New family and relational constellations. LGBT parenting;
2. Men and women, male and female children in the school and in services for children: what’s new?
3. The male issue and the phenomenon of violence;
4. The female competence in aid relations;
5. The maternity principle in the organisational culture and in leadership.

Introductory book: Anna Maria Piussi, Due sessi, un mondo. Educazione e pedagogia alla luce della differenza sessuale, Quiedit 2008.
1. Alessandra Gigli (a cura di), Maestra, ma Sara ha due mamme?, Guerini (2011) 2014.
2. M. Cristina Mecenero, Voci maestre, Junior 2003, e Laura Cappellini (cur.), Educare alla differenza, dossier rivista 'Bambini', genn. 1999 (reperibile in Biblioteca di Dipartimento)
3. Giuseppe Burgio, Adolescenza e violenza. Il bullismo omofobico come formazione alla maschilità, Mimesis 2012; oppure Deiana-Greco (cur.),Trasformare il maschile. Nella cura, nell’educazione, nelle relazioni, Cittadella 2012.

4. Il rischio dell'incontro. La competenza femminile nella relazione di aiuto, Comune di Mantova 2004 (reperibile in Biblioteca di Dipartimento); Delfina Lusiardi, Anna Maria Piussi, E la vita continua quasi dritta. Un laboratorio di narrazioni pazienti, Quiedit 2015. Per chi volesse approfondire, indico un altro testo, ma solo come facoltativo: Carol Gilligan, La virtù della resistenza. Resistere, prendersi cura, non cedere, Moretti & Vitali 2014.
5. Andrea Vitullo, Riccarda Zezza, La maternità è un master, Bur 2014.
These references are arranged for the different topics of the course. Please note that the introductory book, as well as those books at point 2 and 4 are compulsory, plus another text chosen from the remaining points 1,3,5.
The course offers a plenty of didactic activities: frontal lectures, workshops, small groups’ researches, discussions of case study and ongoing projects.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam for non-attendant students.
Depending on the number of participants, the attending students can replace the oral exam with an paper of small group (3 people max) presented and discussed in the classroom, in which the individual contribution is recognizable, with the aim to explore the themes proposed. Will be given guidance on how to organize and spread the paper. Proposals for the work of the groups will gather April 2; exposures in the classroom will take place in May according to a schedule to be agreed together.

Teaching aids