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Picture of An Ethnography in an Irish Girls Secondary School

An Ethnography in an Irish Girls Secondary School

Exploring how Hegemony and Power Mediate Agency and Structure

Author(s): Miriam Doran Hamilton

Book Description

Based on an ethnographic study, this book explores the cultural experiences of a group of Irish 6th year girls. Facing the high stakes Leaving Certificate examinations while on the cusp of adulthood, this study contributes to the agency-structure debate from a feminist perspective. Findings elicit insights into incidences of social and cultural reproduction with hegemony evident in visible and invisible ways among the cultural group.

This ethnography describes how a group of girls navigate this territory in school. It explores the effects of the personal, group and institutional habitus that mediate the girls’ everyday interactions. The girls’ peer interactions and contextual experiences serve as an explanatory framework, which references how power is shared, wielded and resisted among the myriad of relationships within the school.

The school life of the girls is described at an individual and group level with themes such as friendship, conformity, resistance and alienation discussed, within the framework of school life. Findings related to youth culture and identities elicit challenges for the girls as they manage the duality of adolescence and scholarly endeavour.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-8255-2
ISBN-10: 1-4438-8255-0
Date of Publication: 01/12/2015
Pages / Size: 250 / A5
Price: £47.99


Miriam Doran is a Lecturer in Education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Her research interests include issues pertaining to social class, gender and educational policy. Miriam previously worked in two national support services in Ireland with responsibility for continuous professional development of primary and post primary teachers. Prior to that, she taught at post primary level for over twenty years. This work is adapted from a PhD thesis completed in 2014 and is an inaugural academic book publication for this researcher. This ethnographic study has generated interest at many conferences in Ireland and the UK to date, where Miriam has presented papers based on its substantive findings.