Utes, blokes, school and the arts: A critical investigation of gendered rural youth identity construction

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    The capacity of the chosen strategies to bring positive change to the dominant masculinity and their potential impact on local youth femininities is explored. The identity play of the young people in what appeared to be a culturally homogenous rural school community emerges from this study as a practice characterised by diversity and responsive flexibility. The gender differentiated nature of these diverse identities attests to the enduring power of the overarching field of gender.Through the theories of Pierre Bourdieu the characteristics of the identity play of these rural young people is examined to reveal responsiveness to change and flexibility within constraints. The boys' education project initiated by the local high school which focused on arts activities was demonstrated to support a youth microculture called the Skeggs which identified with cosmopolitan imagery of the street and the beach. The once dominant rural youth identity of the Frigger, which identified with stock handling, polo playing and horsemanship, is demonstrated to be in decline in this site.The segregated but reciprocal nature of gender roles within these youth microcultures raises questions about the issue of dominance and subordination in these groups. Girls provide the informed gaze for the performance of the physical exploits which act as masculine identity markers in this context. Bourdieu's emphasis on the importance of symbolic power elevates the significance of the feminine role, problematising a universal binary of dominance and subordination.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Kemmis, Stephen, Principal Supervisor
    Award date31 Aug 2010
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publisher
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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