• Ida Marie Thorsen
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Gender constructions surround us in everyday life from advertisements, TV-shows to politics, laws and to the spoken words said by close friends, family and one self. These constructions form what kind of behaviors is classified to be normal and what is labeled as deviant behavior. Gender constructions can lead to social consequences such as discrimination, repression, violence, bullying etc.

This master thesis investigates gender constructions and interactions between children and nursery teachers in a Danish day care. The thesis is an attempt to embed social problems related to gender constructions in the field of Social Work.

The analysis is divided into three chapters, one which examine the children’s interactional construction of gender, one which examine the pedagogues interactional construction of gender and one which examine children and the nursery teachers interactional construction of gender. By analyzing gender constructions I’m able to clarify what the agents classify as normal behavior and what is classified as deviant behavior.

I found that both children and nursery teachers construct gender in interaction in the light of heteronormative notions. Gender is understood in the binary notion of sex divided into males and females, men and women, boys and girls. We expect different things from different sexes. The children reflect these expectations in their behavior and thereby expectations to how a ’real boy’ and a ’real girl’ behave are socialized in reciprocal interaction. These heteronormative notions of how to be a boy and how to be a girl can lead to discrimination, repression and/or bullying etc. against children that differ from the norm. I also found that some children try to break free from these heteronormative notions but that’s only possible when the child gets help from one of the other children – and more likely if the other child is older. Also the nursery teachers tried to break free of these heteronormative notions, but they have neither the knowledge nor the tools to do it. This points towards a professionalization of gender at the day care and to educate nursery teachers specialized in gender.

To investigate how the children and the nursery teachers at the day care construct gender in their everyday life at the day care I used qualitative methods. The day care is divided into to sections called The Milky Way and Andromeda. I did my studies at Andromeda. First of all I made an observational pilot study for two days at the day care where after I began a week of observations. After collecting the observational data I made four focus group interviews with eight children of age 5 from Andromeda. I also made one focus group interview with the nursery teachers from Andromeda. These focus group interviews were based on the observations. From the observation data I made different kinds of cases from which the concept gender was to be discussed in different situations.

The results of this master thesis are to be included and to contribute to the collective accumulation of knowledge in the field of social work, gender and in the pedagogical practice.
Udgivelsesdato17 maj 2016
ID: 233439737