Construction of masculinities at a township school south of Durban : a case study.
Davis, T. Garey.
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Masculinities are not constructed and performed identically. This research project looks at how male learners at a township high school, South of Durban, define, understand, and perform masculinities. To that end, this study employs varying instruments (non-participant observation, focus group, and individual interviews) to explore the participants’ understanding of their own masculine identities as well as that of their fellow male students. The study was informed by masculinities, sex-role, and black masculinities theoretical and conceptual frameworks. The participants (grade 9-11 male learners) range in age from 14 to19. These young males discussed early masculinities teachings as well as defining characteristics of an ideal “real men.” Their understanding of masculine identities was shaped by family, media, church, peers, and others. They also provide information on the various masculinities constructions and performances at their school. Focusing on the opposition of dominant and subordinate masculinities, I gained firsthand knowledge from the participants about male learners who are excluded from formal and informal school process. The participants identified and discussed male learners who are said to be performing subordinate masculinities, including admonishment and sanctions used against learners who fall in this category. Emergent masculinities are highlighted from suggestions that participants provided as a means of ensuring that all learners can fully participate in the school process. Lastly, this study provides implications and recommendations for all stakeholders involved in secondary school education.