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Gender discourses and identities in the curriculum and classrooms of Hellenic primary schools

Kostas, Marios (2014) Gender discourses and identities in the curriculum and classrooms of Hellenic primary schools. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Abstract

Gender equality issues in the Hellenic primary school system have not received adequate attention from government policy makers and educators. Although gender equality is mandated in the official curriculum, the pedagogical praxis continues to reinforce traditional gender discourses. This study aims to scrutinise the education system’s role in challenging or reinforcing normative gender discourses and how pupils negotiate, reproduce or challenge normative and non-normative gender discourses in the curriculum material and children’s literature. In addition, this research explores how pupils deploy these discourses in their quotidian gender performances on school playgrounds. The research applies a qualitative methodological approach, grounded in a post-structuralist theoretical approach to gender (Butler, 1990) and Connell’s (1987) theory of hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity. Observations were carried out in primary classrooms and school playgrounds, and a semi-structured interview format was employed in group interviews with students (40 boys and 40 girls). In parallel with this, individual teachers were interviewed (four males and one female), in two Athenian primary schools. Feminist critical discourse analysis (FCDA) was used to examine anthology textbooks, while the interview data and observation notes were analysed using thematic analysis. The resulting qualitative data reveals the role played by Hellenic primary schools in reinforcing traditional gender discourses and makes clear the patterns of hegemonic masculinity and emphasised femininity in specific schools. The analysis also highlights how pupils negotiate, reproduce and challenge normative and non-normative gender discourses and how they use these in their quotidian gender performances on school playgrounds. This research makes a significant empirical contribution to knowledge in the field of study because this type of study has not been carried out before in Hellas. The paper concludes with 5 suggested future directions for research and recommends actions to be taken by the Hellenic government to achieve gender equality in primary education.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Gender discourses, hegemonic masculinity, emphasised femininity, post-structuralism, primary schools
Subjects: Departments > Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2015 15:56
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2015 15:15
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