Masculinity, femininity, class, rurality and schooling: First stages of a qualitative longitudinal research project

Year: 1994

Author: Yates, Lyn, McLeod, Julie

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The authors are engaged in a qualitative, longitudinal study (The 12 to 18 Educational Research Project) of a group of students from the end of primary school until the end of secondary school. This paper explains some methodological and substantive interests which frame this project and discusses some tentative impressions concerning gender, class and rurality from interviews conducted with Grade 6 children at three primary schools during the first stage of this project.

In terms of gendered subjectivity, the background to the study is the psychological theories of Gilligan and others regarding male and female development, and the rather different theories of discursive construction of Davies, Walkerdine, Taylor, Gilbert and others which have raised ways of seeing individual subjectivity, but have not traced how these look as individual development over the course of secondary schooling.

The stage of the study reported here primarily notes some findings about Grade 6 boys which were rather unexpected in terms of the literature. In terms of class and schooling, the study is constructed to focus on two types of comparisons not readily available in that earlier influential study, Making the Difference: namely, the different experiences of children from rather similar class locations who attend different types of school; and the different experiences of those attending school outside the metropolitan setting. This early stage of the study reports some tentative initial impressions of those experiences.