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A study of learning and identity production within extracurricular activities set for university students

Maina, Mary Nyawira (2014) A study of learning and identity production within extracurricular activities set for university students. EdD thesis, UCL Institute of Education.

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This thesis is a study of two extracurricular groups – a Dance Group and a Singing Group established for students at a university in the United Kingdom. The study centres on learning facilitated by student group social practices in relation to the production of identities, focusing particularly on gender and the role of the body. A review of the existing literature reveals distinct strands in this area. The first focuses academic success and future employment. A second strand critiques simplistic notions of academic skills and employability. The third analyses a diversity of student identities development within communities of practice in legitimate peripheral participation. This study extends this third strand by investigating the questions: How are student identities constructed in extracurricular dance and singing groups in a UK university? What role do the body and gender play in identity construction? Ethnographic techniques mainly participant observation and general conversations were utilised for collection of empirical data from student groups for one academic year (2007-2008) for ten sessions each term, as well as additional related events. The analysis draws on three bodies of theory: the theory of the body and of corporeal realism (Shilling, 2012), feminist theory and theories of masculinities and femininities (e.g. Connell, 2013); and the community of practice theory of learning (Wenger, 1998; Lave and Wenger, 1991). Analysis suggests that extracurricular groups were used to both achieve an externally-set objective and for engagement in complex social relations that constitute a significant aspect of student life. Furthermore, analysis explores specific ways in which masculine and feminine identities were produced. Gendered norms and relations were variably repeated, challenged or resisted through students’ embodied engagement in group activities. Thus, this contribution enhances existing knowledge through analysis that incorporates the importance of the human body in gendered identity production within extracurricular activities in higher education.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Subjects: Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: Mr Julian Zerfahs
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2015 15:47
Last Modified: 22 Apr 2015 15:47
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