Resisting Dominant Discourses of Femininity in a Working-Class Junior School

Jon Swain


This paper describes different types of femininity within one working class UK junior school. The fieldwork took place between 1998-99 and the data come from observations and a series of interviews with twelve 10-11-year-old girls. The paper attempts to go beyond using typologies and argues that femininities are more nuanced and malleable, and also temporal and situated. Although all the forms of femininity were constructed through the heterosexual matrix, the findings differ from the work of other researchers in that only two girls attempted to perform Connell’s (1987) ‘emphasised’ form of femininity, and the others were able to resist this dominant discourse.


Dominant Discourses; Sociology; Gender; Education

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