Reducing or reproducing gender norms : An ethnographic study based on observations in Ugandan preschools

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för utbildningsvetenskap (UV); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för didaktik och lärares praktik (DLP)

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to contribute, with knowledge of conceptions of male and female, to Ugandan preschools and to study in what ways gender norms in the Ugandan society are reflected and developed in the daily activity in preschools. The theoretical underpinnings used in this study are social constructive and inspired by Butler, Connell and Pearse among others. Reducing or reproducing gender norms is an ethnographic study based on observations at two Ugandan preschools located in the countryside of central Uganda. In addition to the observations, a small-scale content analysis of the curricular material has been made. The results highlight two factors contributing to doing gender in the preschool context: first the teachers’ actions, and secondly the structures and routines that characterized the Ugandan preschool. In the analysis of the study, it was found that teachers mainly contribute to doing gender through repetitive acts or by positive and negative reinforcement. The discussed structures and routines, which contribute to doing gender in the observed preschools, are the curricular material, songs used as tools for education, and the environment. In these areas, the results showed that girls and boys, women and men, are represented in gender-stereotyped situations. These stereotypes of how to act and behave properly, depending on their sex, are being mediated to the children through the pictures in the material.

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