Rituals of Obedience

Education is increasingly about performing rituals of obedience. This explains, at least in part, why men are underrepresented at all levels of educational attainment and black men are particularly badly represented.

4 thoughts on “Rituals of Obedience

  1. But education was always about obedience. Is it possible men don’t want to participate in obedience rituals because it’s increasingly women who administer them?

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    1. I’m not sure that works as an explanation in the United States, where women have significantly outnumbered men in the ranks of primary and secondary school teachers since the early 20th century.

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    2. “Education has always been about obedience” is the kind of technically-true-if-you-squint kind of belief that makes you give up things of value with a timid sigh.

      There’s a degree of enforced conformity in any group endeavour, that’s just how humans be. But there’s a pretty great difference between a culture of performed dissent, where a professor expects their students to be able to have insights based on a combination of who the student is as a person and approximate mastery of their joint discipline; and a culture of moral correction, one where the student is seen as a dangerously rotten and crooked and who can only be cleaned up and straightened out by drilling them on doctrine that neither of student nor teacher can really question.

      There’s conformity in performed dissent, obviously – if you’re clever, you can figure out or guess at the area of belief that your teacher holds as acceptably divergent and aim all your shots there. But even so, it’s an open kind of thing – surprising things are invited to happen, and so they sometimes do, and everyone involved is expecting them and learning to deal with them.

      Contrast that with a culture where you’re expected to put up with shit arguments because contradicting them might bring about some ominous, unspecific harm, and any criticism you bring forth is taken as evidence of how morally corrupt you are, and you need to either take it on faith that no, everything actually makes sense even if no one involved can explain how and you need to get with the program, or say goodbye to being treated like a fellow human.

      Those two are not the same thing.

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  2. I suspect it’s because it’s women who administer the rituals of obedience in education – the military requires rituals of obedience too, but plenty of young men still want to join the Marines. I’m guessing there’s a hunger for male authority on the part of a lot of young males, especially fatherless ones.

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