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Engineer, mechanic or carpenter: boys' transitions to work in the 1960s

By John Goodwin and Henrietta O'Connor


In this paper, we seek to examine the gendered nature of boys’ school to work transitions for a group of young male workers entering employment for the first time in the 1960s. We argue that such an enquiry is important because past studies of transitions have not problematised boys’ school to work transitions in terms of gender. Moreover, where gender has been employed as an analytical category, it has been used as shorthand to describe the experiences of women. We draw upon data from Norbert Elias’s largely unknown ‘Adjustment of young workers to work situations and adult roles’ project to examine the boys’ experiences of the transition process in terms of reflections on school, thinking about work, finding and adjusting to work and thinking about the future. Analysis of these data reveals that young males do experience the transition to work as a gendered process and paid employment confirms aspects of their male identity

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Year: 2005
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13639080500327824
OAI identifier:

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