‘Place-making’: Investigating the place-based identity negotiations of high school girls in the informal spaces of their school

Rinquest, Elzahn (2016-12)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This research study explores the navigation and negotiation of five Grade 10 high school girls’ identities within their school spaces. The study privileges a link between space and identity which provides a conceptual platform in terms of which I was able to construct an investigation into how these high school girls go about their place-making inside their school. The investigation focuses on understanding how practices of place-making influences the identities of the students involved as well as the formation and transformation of the place, their high school. The theoretical framework is founded on a combination of Lefebvre’s theory (1971/1991) regarding the production of space which includes the interaction of physical, social and mental dimensions of space on the one hand, and Proshansky, Fabian & Kaminoff (1983) theorisation of the formation of place-identities. Together with these theories, other researchers and theorists, such as: Nespor (1994, 1997), Massey (1991, 1994, 1995), Tupper et al. (2008), O’Donoghue (2007) and Marcouyeux & Fleury-Bahi (2011) have contributed to my theorisation of place-making and place-identities. This study is situated within the interpretivist paradigm and utilised a critical ethnographic research approach that produced qualitative data findings. Data were collected through the use of five qualitative data collection methods: (1) participant observations; (2) unstructured and semi-structured interviews; (3) focus group discussions; (4) photo-elicitation interviews utilising student produced photographs; and (5) photo-diaries. My main analytical findings reveal that these girls went about making place in ways that stretched across the three spatial dimensions (physical, social and mental) and they went about this in individual, communal and strategic ways guided by their affective positions in response to the affectivity of the place. I argue that through the school’s encouragement of the students to express themselves in its spaces, the students went on to inhabit and create the school as a place in unanticipated ways. In the school’s ‘out-of-sight’ spaces the girls were emoting, acting, negotiating and strategising in order to establish their emerging identities. Importantly, the culture of the school opened up the space for these girls to act and their acting at school was instrumental in reorganising and transforming the place. The school attempted to be an inclusive space that accommodates diversity, but the girls’ affectivities, their bodies and their embodied dispositions, co-constituted the school as a specific type of place. I argue that the girls interpreted the culture of the school and acted in response to its discourses and their desire to belong and consequently constructed ways of living’ at the school. It became clear that the character of the school as a place was constantly lived, experienced and reordered by those who moved through it.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie navorsingstudie ondersoek die bepaling en bedinging van die identiteite van vyf graad 10-dogters binne die ruimtes van hulle skool. Die studie gebruik die verband tussen ruimte en identiteit as konseptuele platform om ondersoek in te stel na hoe hierdie hoërskooldogters die proses van plekskepping binne hulle skool hanteer. Die doel met die navorsing is om te begryp hoe plekskeppingspraktyke die betrokke studente se identiteite sowel as die vorming en omvorming van die plek – hulle hoërskool – beïnvloed. Die teoretiese raamwerk berus enersyds op Lefebvre se teorie (1971/1991) oor ruimteskepping, wat die wisselwerking tussen die fisiese, sosiale en geestesdimensies van ruimte insluit, en andersyds op Proshansky en kollegas (1983) se teoretisering van die vorming van plek-identiteit. Hiermee saam het ander navorsers en teoretici soos Nespor (1994, 1997), Massey (1991, 1994, 1995), Tupper en kollegas (2008), O’Donoghue (2007) sowel as Marcouyeux en Fleury-Bahi (2011) ook tot die teoretisering van plekskepping en plek-identiteite bygedra. Die studie is binne die vertolkende paradigma uitgevoer, en het ’n kritiese etnografiese navorsingsbenadering gevolg om kwalitatiewe databevindinge op te lewer. Data is ingesamel deur middel van vyf kwalitatiewe datainsamelingsmetodes, naamlik (1) deelnemerwaarneming, (2) ongestruktureerde en semigestruktureerde onderhoude, (3) fokusgroepbesprekings, (4) fotoreaksie- (“photo-elicitation”-)onderhoude met foto’s wat deur studente self geneem is, en (5) fotodagboeke. Die vernaamste analitiese bevindinge dui daarop dat hierdie dogters se plekskeppingsprosesse oor ál drie ruimtelike dimensies (die fisiese, sosiale en geestesdimensie) strek, en dat hulle dié prosesse op individuele, gemeenskaplike en strategiese maniere aanpak na gelang van hulle affektiewe reaksie op die affektiwiteit van die plek. Omdat die skool die studente aanmoedig om hulle in die skoolruimtes uit te leef, het die studente die skool op onvoorsiene maniere as plek begin inneem en inrig. In die skoolruimtes buite sig het die dogters emosioneel opgetree, gehandel, onderhandel en strategieë uitgewerk om hulle ontluikende identiteite te vestig. Dit is belangrik om daarop te let dat die skoolkultuur die ruimte vir die dogters se handelinge ontsluit het, en dat hulle handelinge bygedra het tot die herskikking en transformasie van die plek. Die skool het ’n daadwerklike poging aangewend om ’n inklusiewe ruimte te wees wat vir diversiteit voorsiening maak. Terselfdertyd het die dogters se affektiwiteite, liggame en beliggaamde gesindhede die skool egter ook as ’n bepaalde soort plek ingerig. Die karakter van die skool as ’n plek word klaarblyklik voortdurend geleef, beleef en herskik deur diegene wat daardeur beweeg.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100068
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