Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Honours

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

Abstract

This purpose of this project was to examine the experiences of five male nursing students, to uncover the challenges involved with reconciling the perceived feminine nature of their occupation with the demands of a traditional masculine gender regime. The research was based within a social constructionist epistemological paradigm, employing a critical theory interpretation and grounded theory methodology. Conducted through semi-structured interviews, the participant’s accounts demonstrated the ways in which they modified, rejected and generally re-conceptualised dominant masculinities within the non-traditional setting. Their experiences were captured through three dominant themes; script assessment, self-authorship and authenticity. Emerging from these themes was a grounded theory of developmental gender authenticity, an iterative process of masculine identity construction that was similar for all of the men as they increasingly distanced themselves from the normative gender discourses with which they were formerly familiar. Traditional masculine practices lost most if not all legitimacy for the participants, as they committed themselves to authentic ongoing personal projects to reconstruct their gender identity to produce a progressively socialised self.