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Title: Adolescent dating violence and the negotiation of gender
Author: Hird, Myra Jean
ISNI:       0000 0001 3579 0530
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1995
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The purpose of the thesis is to investigate psychological, physical and sexual violence in adolescent, heterosexual, intimate relationships. Questionnaires were administered to 487 pupils at two secondary comprehensive schools in Oxford. Data from the questionnaire reveal that a minority of adolescents regularly employ violence in intimate relationships and suggest no significant differences in levels of violence between adolescents of different gender, religious affiliation, household composition or social class. A review of the literature on the use of this standardised questionnaire highlights serious methodological and epistemological problems and questions the use of such questionnaires in future research on the phenomenon of intimate violence. The primary focus of the thesis concerns transcript data from seventeen single-sex focus groups and thirteen individual interviews. Transcript data reveals that girls and boys recount different experiences of reality. The discourse used by girls and boys represents an active negotiation of personal experience and cultural prescriptions of meaning. Peers, parents, siblings, teachers, school administrators and media inform adolescents about dominant definitions and boundaries of gender. These definitions are discussed as 'hegemonic masculinity' and 'emphasised femininity' in which gender is structured as distinct, separate, hierarchical and biologically determined. Girls and boys who employed discourses of biological determinism described intimate violence as inevitable and largely a function of female responsibility. Conflict results from the negotiation of this culturally dominant discourse and personal experience. A minority of girls and boys employed other discourses such as those of socialisation and feminism. These discourses provide alternative understandings of personal experience and social identity which some adolescents may find empowering and represent a crucial resistance to the ascendancy of culturally practiced gender.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology