Primary school boys' narratives about masculinity

McDonald, Anne (2013-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The issue of masculinity is complex, and many theories on how gender is constructed exist. The central premise of this study is that gender construction is the result of dynamic social interaction and, as such, a post-structuralist paradigm is ascribed to. The concept of multiple masculinities exists to explain the influences different contexts have on how masculine ideas are constructed. This is not a passive process and individuals are considered active creators of their own identity. However, research demonstrates that not all masculinities are equal. Hegemonic masculinity maintains its leading dominant position status through using strategies of power and dominance to maintain the pinnacle position of status in the hierarchy of masculinities. The purpose of this study is to listen to the narratives of pre-adolescent boys about masculinity. Post-structuralist and social constructivist ideas that meaning is fluid and open to change, is influenced by culture and the individual meanings that people make. This understanding provides the theoretical framework for this qualitative study. Through a narrative-inquiry design, meaning was made of the individual experiences of six boys within the context of a single-sex preparatory school. The narratives of these participants, purposively selected, were obtained using the data-collecting methods of interviews, a focus group and the construction of a collage. The analysed data was presented both in the form of the narratives of the participants and through a thematic analysis. The findings indicate that within this private, single-sex preparatory school context, multiple constructions of masculinity are formed, and they all appear to be constructed in relation to hegemonic notions of masculinity. It was found that fathers play an important role in the way in which boys construct their masculine identity. However, their peers and the school context also play a significant role. Further, the findings revealed that although hegemonic notions of masculinity in this context had a powerful impact on these participants’ construction of masculinity, there are indications some are challenging overt expressions of hegemonic masculinity and, as such, hold more complex, transitional constructs of masculine identity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die kwessie rondom manlikheid is kompleks en daar bestaan baie teorieë oor hoe geslag gebou word. Die sentrale uitgangspunt van hierdie studie is dat die konstruksie van geslag ‘n resultaat van dinamiese sosiale interaksie is en dus aan 'n post-strukturalistiese paradigma toegeskryf word. As sodanig bestaan die konsep van verskeie vorme van manlikheid om te verduidelik hoe verskillende kontekste manlike idees beïnvloed. Dit is nie 'n passiewe proses nie. Individue word as aktiewe skeppers van hulle eie identiteit beskou. Navorsing toon egter dat nie alle vorme van manlikheid gelyk is nie. Hegemoniese manlikheid hou 'n dominante posisie in stand deur die gebruik van strategieë van mag en oorheersing; die hoogsteposisie van status in die hiërargie van manlikheid word dus gestaaf. Die doel van hierdie studie is om na die narratiewe van pre-adolessente seuns oor manlikheid te luister. Post-strukturalistiese en sosiale konstruktivistiese idees wat aandui dat bedoelings vloeibaar en veranderbaar is, afhangende van kultuur en die betekenis wat deur 'n individu daaraan geheg word, voorsien dus 'n teoretiese raamwerk vir hierdie kwalitatiewe studie. Deur die gebruik van ‘n narratiewe ondersoek-ontwerp, is die betekenis van die individuele ervaringe van ses seuns in die konteks van 'n enkel-geslag voorbereidende skool geevalueer. Die verhale van hierdie deelnemers, wat doelgerig geselekteer is, is verkry deur gebruik te maak van onderhoude, 'n fokus groep en die konstruksie van 'n collage as data insamelingsmetodes. Die geanaliseerde data is beide in die vorm van verhale van die deelnemers sowel as 'n tematiese analise aangebied. Die bevindinge dui daarop dat binne hierdie private, enkel-geslag voorbereidende skoolkonteks, verskeie konstruksies van manlikheid gevorm word en het telkens beblyk in verhouding tot hegemoniese idees oor manlikheid gebou te word. Daar is bevind dat vaders 'n belangrike rol speel in die wyse waarop seuns hul manlike identiteit konstrueer. Eweknieë en die skoolkonteks speel egter ook 'n belangrike rol in die konstruksie van geslag. Die bevindinge het verder aan die lig gebring dat, alhoewel hegemoniese idees oor manlikheid in hierdie konteks 'n kragtige uitwerking op hierdie deelnemers se konstruksie van manlikheid het, daar aanduidings is dat sommige van die deelnemers openlike uitdrukkings van hegemoniese manlikheid uitdaag en sodoende meer komplekse oorgang-konstrukte van manlike identiteit het.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/80281
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