Educational Philosophy and Theory 19 (1):20–28 (1987)

SummaryA more careful delineation of the ideal‐typical marriage allows the flaws in Berger and Kellner's article to be examined. These flaws stem both from a rather too easy assumption that marriages are egalitarian relationships and that equality means sameness of experience between husbands and wives, and from the use of sexist language combined with a reliance on examples drawn primarily from the husband's experience. Their claim that marriage is a crucial nomic process where individuals gain a sense of identity and of stability must be modified to say that individuals go into marriage with a clear commitment to being husbands and wives and without any realization, or perhaps even the ability to realise, that the current organisation of the nuclear family can be harmful for wives. The nomic processes which take place in marriage are central to a sense of identity and stability as Berger and Kellner claim, but they are only one of many other nomic processes, one of which is accessed only through the world of paid work. For the wife in the ideal‐typical family, to give up her access to nomic processes which have contributed to her sense of who she is and to envelop herself only in the marital conversation is to reduce her power, her sense of herself and her capacity to negotiate successfully within the marital conversation. Couples who may believe in and practise equality may find themselves caught up in a structure which makes equality non‐practicable without really realising how or why this has happened.I believe the foregoing analysis has demonstrated the way in which flawed theory is a probable outcome of reasoning based only on male experience. It is possible through attention to the experience in which the theory is grounded to extend that ground to include women and thus rewrite the theory such that it makes sense for women as well as for men.The implications for equality of educational opportunityThrough a reworking of the theories that make up the knowledge base of tertiary education, female students will not only gain access to theories which do not limit and distort their experience, but they will also gain access to a different form of negotiation within the educational process itself. Currently they learn through a multitude of explicit and implicit statements and through the process of education itself, that their role is to be passive and invisible.To engage them in the process of rewriting the theories themselves is to empower them, to give them a say in what constitutes the knowledge that they have currently been excluded from. In so doing they are learning to challenge one of the most basic foundations of the existing social order because they are asserting their power to question, to interpret men's words, to assert the validity of their experience outside masculine constructions of that experience, to theorize alongside men, not from a position of subordination , but from a position of equality
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DOI 10.1111/j.1469-5812.1987.tb00396.x
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Facing Up to Modernity.Peter L. Berger - 1980 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 40 (4):600-602.

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