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How femininities are performed and valued in three domains of vocational education
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5222-6229
Göteborgs universitet.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3737-3244
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.
2018 (English)In: ECER 2018, Bolzano, 3–7 September, 2018, Free University Bolzano: Inclusion and Exclusion, Resources for Educational Research?, 2018Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Gendered identity and norms interplay with other social categories, as ethnicity, age and class. What is valued and recognised as ways of being a girl and women in one social group differs from another. In this study, we focus on how girls in three different tracks of vocational education act/perform gender as a part of their vocational, civic and private identity - in relation to peers and teachers. The research was carried out in Swedish upper secondary education, where the pupils, after comprehensive K-9, chose between twelve Vocational education and training programmes (VETP) alongside six Higher education preparatory programmes (HEPP). On a general level, the pupils applying for the VET programmes have working class background (parents with low educational level, level of income and living standard compared to students applying for HEPP) (Broady and Börjesson 2006). The VET programmes are strongly gendered, some programmes being either boy- or girl-dominated by tradition, peer-pressure and/or other fractors (Fehring and Herring 2013; Lundahl 2011), and gendered-marked vocational programmes have gendered practices (Connell 2006; Smyth and Steinmetz 2015). We argue that exploring gender in VET is of particular importance because of the strong gender divide. This is not only the case in Sweden, but rather a general phenomenon throughout Europe. The division, and ‘keeping apart’, of women and men is an important principle of upholding gendered categories, which is a prerequisite for the logic of men as norm (compare Hirdman 1988). The problem investigated is expected to generate results that can further the understanding of gender and vocational education more generally.

In her anthropological study of groups in the Children and recreation programme and Social science programme, Ambjörnsson (2004) shows how norms and ideals of femininity is performed differently by VETP girls and HEPP girls. As Ambjörnsson, we are influenced by the works by Skeggs (2004; 2000) on how working class girls and women perform gendered subjectivities that differs from valued feminitities within middle class. We consider gender to be reified through social performances (compare Butler 2006 [1999]) and thus as socially constructed identities. Also, in line with Butler (2006 [1999] we acknowledge that the constant practices of performing gender opens for possibilities to change and challenge norms: subversive performativity. Our ambition is to explore how ‘girls’ - norms and ideals of femininity - are constructed in different contexts, i.e. different VET programmes. This means that we are comparing the performance of gender within the larger group of pupils enrolled in VET, i.e. a group of pupils that on an aggregated level have a working-class background, not, as Ambjörnsson (2004), pupils in VETP with HEPP, which have a larger share of pupils with middle class background. The three VET-programmes selected are gendered in terms of ratio of girls/boys enrolled and reflects a gendered divided labour market: Health and Care (HC) programme (81% girls), Restaurant management (RM) programme (58% girls) and Vehicle and transport (VT) programme (14% girls). The question of how girls act/perform gender as a part of their vocational, civic and private identity - in relation to peers and teachers in different VET contexts - are largely unexplored. The aim of this study is thus to contribute with knowledge of the processes of being and becoming a girl and a young women in the specific context of vocational education and training. RQ: How do the pupils perform feminitity? What ways of performing femininity is recognised, encouraged and valued by others?, and the other way around, what ways of performing femininity is not recognised, but opposed and disqualified?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-156813OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-156813DiVA, id: diva2:1292381
Conference
ECER 2018, Bolzano
Available from: 2019-02-28 Created: 2019-02-28 Last updated: 2019-03-06

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https://eera-ecer.de/ecer-programmes/conference/23/contribution/44077/

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Ledman, KristinaRosvall, Per-ÅkeRönnlund, Maria

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