Discourses of regionality, masculinity and boys' non-completion of secondary school

Year: 2002

Author: Harrington, Ingrid

Type of paper: Refereed paper

An area that has received considerable attention in recent years, is the relationship between gendered discourse and knowledge. Within the particular context of boys' education, studies have focused on the discourse of masculinity and its effects on boys' school experiences. In Australia, research has identified school participation, academic performance and retention as particular problems in the education of boys. This paper seeks to question the exact nature of the relationship between regional context and the issues that surround boys in secondary schools.

This paper will report on a section of a longitudinal study of boys' non-completion of school which considers the connections between boys' decision-making and discourses of masculinity from a rural region in Queensland. The study is based on an ARC/SPIRT research grant between Ed/QLD and James Cook University Townsville, entitled "Factors affecting boys' engagement with schooling at the Secondary level". The current research questions how boys construct their views of schooling, education, employment, and the destinies they see for themselves, and how these are related to discourses of masculinity. In analysing these constructions, the study examines how non-completers are positioned within the discourses made available to them through the cultures operating at a local scale.