On Leadership, Fitting In, and Disunity: A study of the group dynamics of an early primary peer group

Year: 2000

Author: KEDDIE, A

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on my research into the way young males (boys) think about and practice their masculinity. Underpinning my investigation is a foundational assumption that dominant forms of identity work are enacted and reinforced in groups (see Harris, 1998). The focus of my study, therefore, involved analysing the collective knowledges and practices of a group of young boys attending a primary school in Launceston, Tasmania. The 'peer group' at the centre of this research comprised of five Grade 1/2 male friends.

On the basis of a series of group discussions and regular observations I have sought to explore how collective understandings of masculinity (and indeed gender) are negotiated and constructed. My understandings of 'becoming gendered' are strongly informed by the tenets of feminist poststructural theory. My immersion within this perspective has directed my focus to the centrality of power relations in how and why boys adopt particular masculinities.