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AbstractThis thesis examines how child-centred research illuminates complex and intertwined social dynamics for boys in dance. Male involvement in dance has been compared to effeminacy and homosexuality (Owen and Riley, 2020b), which has marginalised male participation. In doing so, dance has been distanced from orthodox masculinity, which is framed in heterosexuality, homophobia, and anti-femininity identities. The pressure to perform within such boundaries has impacted upon gendered and sexual identities. Nonetheless, an attitudinal revolution under the guise of inclusive masculinity theory (Anderson, 2009) maintains more liberal masculine identities are emerging. My research questions therefore ask: (i) what evidence of inclusive masculinity is present in primary aged boys? (ii) how do primary age boys perform masculinities in dance? (iii) What do boys aspire for within lessons to encounter meaningful dance through PE? These questions were answered through data from two case study schools in the West Midlands region of England. The study built on the ‘write, draw, show and tell’ (WDST) method (Noonan et al., 2016) and added the innovative use of ‘emojis’ to create the write, draw, show, tell and emoji’ (WDSTE) approach. Over a four month duration, observations, focus group interviews using WDSTE, and photo-elicitation, with 18 Year Five and Six (ages 9-11) boys were deployed. The boys’ visual and verbal data was thematically analysed (Braun and Clarke, 2006) giving insight into three themes, including the freestyling of masculinity, embodying inclusive masculinity and inquiry, and embodied learning in dance. Boys resisted hegemonic ideals, instead displaying increasing normalcy of homosocial tactility with other boys (Anderson and McCormack, 2014) as a means to cope in dance. The data demonstrated desired ownership over the content and increased social connectedness through collaborative activities. My thesis illustrated that contemporary masculinity is continuing to evolve and boys are not trapped by the stigmatisation of their interest in dance or physical closeness with other boys. I argue with, and for, boys, who saw a need to vocalise for more equitable practices in dance, where they aspired to be supported meaningfully to become competent. This thesis draws attention to the interest that boys hold towards dance and the need for educational purposes of dance to be mindfully considered to support holistic growth in primary school dance.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Professional Doctorate in Education.
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