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South African Journal of Childhood Education

On-line version ISSN 2223-7682
Print version ISSN 2223-7674

Abstract

MOTSA, Ncamsile D.  and  MOROJELE, Pholoho J.. Vulnerable masculinities: Implications of gender socialisation in three rural Swazi primary schools. SAJCE [online]. 2019, vol.9, n.1, pp.1-11. ISSN 2223-7682.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v9i1.580.

BACKGROUND: This article draws on social constructionism to explore vulnerable boys' constructions of gender within three primary schools in Swaziland. OBJECTIVES: It seeks to understand the ways in which vulnerable boys make meaning of masculinities and the implications of these on their social and academic well-being in schools. METHOD: The study adopted a qualitative narrative inquiry methodology, utilising individual and focus group semi-structured interviews and a participatory photovoice technique as its methods of data generation. The participants comprised 15 purposively selected vulnerable boys - orphaned boys, those from child-headed households and from poor socio-economic backgrounds, aged between 11 and 16 years. RESULTS: The findings denote that vulnerable boys constructed their masculinities through heterosexuality where the normative discourse was that they provide for girls in heterosexual relationships. The vulnerable boys' socio-economic status rendered them unable to fulfil these obligations. Failure to fulfil the provider role predisposed vulnerable boys to ridicule and humiliation. However, some vulnerable boys adopted caring attitudes as they constructed alternative masculinities. CONCLUSION: The study recommends the need to affirm and promote alternative masculinities as a strategy for enhancing gender-inclusive and equitable schooling experiences for vulnerable boys.

Keywords : gender equality; masculinities; poverty; vulnerable boys; schooling; Swaziland.

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