Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Type: Thesis
Title: Rethinking masculinities and young age : primary school students constructing gender.
Author: Bartholomaeus, Clare Louise
Issue Date: 2012
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
School of History and Politics
Abstract: Questions are seldom asked about whether Connell’s influential masculinities framework may be entirely applicable to young people. In particular, young age is rarely considered as a potential barrier to hegemonic masculinity. Attention to the intersection of masculinities/gender and age is crucial to understanding young people’s gender constructions, and illuminating the limits age presents to accessing particular gender discourses. This thesis offers a focused consideration of masculinities in young age, drawing on empirical research in two South Australian co-educational primary schools, comparing classes of students aged 6-7 years old and 11-13 years old. The views of boys, girls, teachers, and parents are all included to provide a broad understanding of gender in students’ lives. Connell’s framework has identified that gender is produced hierarchically, and that hegemonic masculinity is privileged over other masculinities and all femininities which ensures men’s privilege (as a group) over women (as a group). Drawing on Foucault’s notion of discourse, this thesis considers the usefulness of reframing hegemonic masculinity as a discourse of hegemonic masculinity. This approach was used to conceptualise how, while in the research participants endorsed practices relating to a particular version of masculinity, boys expressed plural and fluid gender practices. As a result of their young age, boys were denied full access to physicality and sexuality, which are often viewed as key to hegemonic masculinity. Instead, the participants constructed a discourse of hegemonic masculinity largely around sport, an activity which many boys had access to and could practise. A discourse of idealised femininity was mainly defined in terms of appearance, and helped to uphold the overall privileging of masculinities. This thesis highlights how young age exacerbates the incoherence and diversity of gender constructions, and explores how, while different gender practices may be subordinated, they can sometimes be combined with or challenging to a discourse of hegemonic masculinity. The strength of a hierarchical arrangement of practices relating to masculinities is also explored. The importance of considering masculinities within the broader gender context is illuminated by an examination of gender relations, and the participants’ understandings of gender privilege, discrimination, and equality. This thesis demonstrates the ways in which young age impacts on gender constructions and offers a more nuanced way for theorising the intersection of age and gender.
Advisor: Beasley, Christine
Bulbeck, Chilla
Oakley, Susan Ann
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences and School of History and Politics, 2012
Keywords: gender; masculinities: Raewyn Connell; discourse; primary school; young age; qualitative research
Provenance: Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
01front.pdf277.97 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
02whole.pdf3.08 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
  Restricted Access
Library staff access only539.74 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
  Restricted Access
Library staff access only3.69 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.