This ethnographic case study examines how pupils’ gendered identities are constructed in one rural secondary school in Scotland. It utilises the work of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler to provide theoretical insight into how and why pupils take up particular gendered positions in the school. Data collection is primarily by ethnographic observation, supported by semi-structured interviews. The findings highlight the discursive role of peer interactions in affecting how pupils shape their gendered identities, with boys seen to be more affected by peer influences than girls. Subject choices emerged as the strongest gender-related curricular theme; girls in the school appear somewhat bound by gender norms when making subject choices throughout their school career. Insights into how some pupils and teachers perceive the rural space as a masculine one also emerged in the data. Overt femininity was seen as very much at odds with the rural landscape, meaning that some girls find conflict in how they construct their feminine identity. The findings also suggest that teacher discourse can reinforce traditional constructs of masculinities and femininities, and that some teachers’ understandings of gender rely on binary views of girls and boys. The findings are taken up in the study to make recommendations for policy and practice, and future research. A key recommendation highlights the need for teachers to have deeper and more sophisticated understandings of gender, an area which is currently neglected in both Scottish educational policy and in teacher education programmes. It also recommends that pupils are given the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of how their gender construction affects their educational experiences. Finally, this research calls for further exploration into how young people shape their gendered identities within the rural setting, an area where there is a dearth of research.
|Date of Award||1 Sep 2017|
- University Of Strathclyde
|Supervisor||Ninetta Santoro (Supervisor) & Yvette Taylor (Supervisor)|