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Article

Marta Brunelli and Juri Meda

The purpose of this paper is to explore the evolution and use of the school desk in unified Italy as a multifunctional and highly efficient tool, which was required not…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the evolution and use of the school desk in unified Italy as a multifunctional and highly efficient tool, which was required not only to efficiently support in-class activities, to facilitate the classroom management and finally to maintain a correct body posture in order to preserve pupils’ health, but also to accomplish the additional task of working as real “gymnastic equipment”, i.e. suitable for performing various gymnastic exercises inside the classroom.

Design/methodology/approach

The assumption upon which this paper rests is that school desks have always been signifiers charged with multiple meanings related to the evolution of curriculum, pedagogic ideas and daily school practices, which have often been forgotten, abandoned or, for some reasons, underrepresented in the official history of education as well as in the collective memory of school. In order to rebuild this forgotten history, and retrace the possible theoretical-pedagogical basis underlying such practice, the authors have systematically reviewed the Italian manuals on gymnastics between desks from the 1870s to the 1970s, retraced sources documenting this practice in the daily school life (government rules, school programmes, school hygiene prescriptions, iconographic sources, teachers and school managers’ testimonies) and finally, compared with other foreign practices (such as “calisthenics”).

Findings

The convergence between many differentiated sources has demonstrated the longevity of this school practice, which was not only the fruit of educational theories of gymnastic teachers but was also determined by the backwardness and logistic inadequacies of many Italian schools. The paper reveals how this gymnastic practice, after establishing itself in the post-Unification Italian schools, continued almost uninterrupted until the Second World War and even until the 1970s, evidencing how gymnastic teachers, hygienists, educationalists and lawmakers continued, over almost a century, to scientifically legitimise (from the top downwards) an educational practice that was actually driven from the bottom upwards, i.e. determined by an endemic lack of adequate spaces and tools for physical education in Italian schools.

Originality/value

For the very first time, the special source of Italian manuals and booklets on gymnastics between desks has been located, analysed and systematically reviewed for the period 1870s-1970s, and then cross-checked against differentiated sources. This study actually represents the first step of a research which must be still further developed. Undoubtedly, the “new” source represented by the manuals of “gymnastics between school desks” offered a first original perspective from which to explore the use of this furniture in the school of the past, thereby enabling historians of education to shed the first light on a school practice that has been overlooked or forgotten, and still hidden within the “black box of schooling”.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 46 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Abstract

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History of Education Review, vol. 45 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

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Transforming State Responses to Feminicide: Women's Movements, Law and Criminal Justice Institutions in Brazil
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80071-566-0

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Article

Mohamed Branine and Ian Glover

Emphasizes the universality, variety and scope of ageism. Considers why systematic investigation of the phenomenon has begun in recent years and how it has become a…

Abstract

Emphasizes the universality, variety and scope of ageism. Considers why systematic investigation of the phenomenon has begun in recent years and how it has become a subject of political argument and debate. Suggests how thinking about ageism should be linked to the study of many economic, social and political factors. Argues that two contrasting theories, commodification and greening, may be useful in exploring the ways in which ageism influences and is influenced by the unfolding development of contemporary advanced, and many developing, societies.

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Personnel Review, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article

Michel Soto Chalhoub

Competition is a major driver of industry consolidation, pushing firms towards mergers or alliances. This paper discusses growing competitive challenges that make business…

Abstract

Competition is a major driver of industry consolidation, pushing firms towards mergers or alliances. This paper discusses growing competitive challenges that make business partnering a core component of company strategy. We develop two frameworks for resource sharing using two dimensions: operational integration, and knowledge transferability. We analyze critical interface points at three levels in organizational design: corporate, business unit, and functional, and show that mergers could succeed without high level of integration. Large groups such as Renault and Ford witness such industry pressures from globalization, lower government protectionism, and shifts in buyer tastes. The framework illustrates preservation, incubation, osmosis, and full absorption as post-merger firm relationships, each requiring alignment with corporate strategy. The frameworks are illustrated using the Renault-Nissan relationship, the motivation behind it, its benefits, and its challenges.

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International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

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Abstract

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The Emerald Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-786-9

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