Content Analysis on Gender Perspective of Social Science Text Books
Content analysis is a method that looks at the content of any communication device like books and TV programmes. It investigates for both explicit and implicit messages by utilizing quantitative and qualitative means. Quantitative aqnalysis looks at the presence or absence of target words, images And messages. Qualitative content analysis which is also known as the discourse analysis, keeps track of implicit or underlying meaning (PROMISE,2001) Bernard Berelson defined Content Analysis as "a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of communications" (Berelson, 74). Content analysis is a research tool focused on the actual content and internal features of media.” It is used to determine the presence of certain words, concepts, themes, phrases, characters, or sentences within texts or sets of texts and to quantify this presence in an objective manner. Texts can be defined broadly as books, book chapters, essays, interviews, discussions, newspaper headlines and articles, historical documents, speeches, conversations, advertising, theater, informal conversation, or really any occurrence of communicative language.
Berelson(1952 ) lists 17 uses of content analysis-
-To describe trends in communication content
-To trace the development of scholarship
-To disclose international differences in communication content
-To compare media or levels of communication
-To audit communication content against objectives
-To construct and apply communication standards
-To aid in technical research operations
-To expose propaganda techniques
-To measure the readability of communication material
-To discover stylistic features
-To identify the intentions and other characteristics of the communicators
-To discover the psychological state of the persons or the group
-To detect the existence of propaganda
-To secure political and military intellegence
-To reflect attitude, interest and values( cultural patterns) of population groups
-To reveal the focus of attention
-To describe attitudinal and behavioral responses to communication
To conduct a content analysis on a text, the text is coded, or broken down, into manageable categories on a variety of levels--word, word sense, phrase, sentence, or theme--and then examined using one of content analysis' basic methods: conceptual analysis or relational analysis. The results are then used to make inferences about the messages within the text(s), the writer(s), the audience, and even the culture and time of which these are a part. For example, Content Analysis can indicate pertinent features such as comprehensiveness of coverage or the intentions, biases, prejudices, and oversights of authors, publishers, as well as all other persons responsible for the content of materials.
How education through Curriculum and Textbooks can readdress inequities of gender
Education of women has generally been justified in the interests of supplementary income generation, lower fertility rates and population control, better mothering skills, upholding “tradition” and spiritual values, and improving social cohesion. Most of these interests address women as instruments for upkeeping the family and society, sacrificing or ignoring their very identity and rights as individual human beings. The paradox here is that education, which has been a site for the reproduction of social values and stereotypes which bind and constrain, is also potentially a site for empowerment. Moreover, the State and other agencies who “shape” and transmit education through curriculum and pedagogy are also caught in this paradox. On the one hand they become instrumental in reinforcing subordination and perpetuate the status-quo and on the other, take on a progressive mantle. The contradictions and tensions that this situation produces is then replicated in the contradictory messages inherent in the construction of knowledge in textbooks too. As an education activist from Pune observed, “The same textbook can show women as equal in one lesson, and mock women in another.” If education policy is committed to gender equality then this contradiction needs to be addressed, and the development of unambiguously progressive perspectives, in the very construction of knowledge has to be acknowledged as a focus of transformation. The curriculum’s presentation of gender relations is frequently based upon popular assumptions or upon ideas perpetuated by dominant groups. And it normally posits the male as the normative epistemic subject. It rarely takes into account the differentiated contributions, capacities and perspectives of women. Alternative Gendered Frameworks of Knowledge require equal reflection of the worlds of both men and women and carry within them the seeds of a just social transformation. “When education is viewed in terms of its transformative potential, as a social intervention that works towards re-examining existing realities, then it becomes the single most powerful process for redressing the inequities of gender. It can facilitate the forging of new values and forms of society that would enable both women and men to develop their human capacities to their fullest. An empowering education shares with gender a common project – presenting images of that which is not yet”Bloch, Ernest.1986. A Principle of Hope.Cambridge, Mass:MIT Press– thereby moving from the given to realizing new ways of imagining our future.
Looking for Gender Perspective in Social Science Text Books
As Social sciences encompass diverse concerns of society, and include a wide variety of content drawn from the disciplines of History, geography , political science, economics, sociology and anthropology, Environmental Studies and Social Science perspectives are indispensable to building the knowledge base for a just and peaceful society. Keeping in mind the above there is a need to explore whether Social Science text books are building a knowledge base for a gender just and peaceful society.
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