Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Young girls in the countryside: growing up in South Northamptonshire

Tucker, F. (2002) Young girls in the countryside: growing up in South Northamptonshire. Doctoral thesis. University of Leicester.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Abstract: Although there has been a surge of interest in a geographical approach to the study of children, there is a pro-urban bias in much childhood research. Childhood is seemingly assumed to be an entirely metropolitan experience; there is a paucity of research on rural childhoods. Few studies have investigated girls’ use of outdoor environments, particularly those beyond urban settings. The dominance of pro-urban and ‘malestream’ research tends to hide the experiences of girls living in rural areas. This thesis explores difference and diversity in the lifestyles of 10-15 year olds growing up in South Northamptonshire, employing a multi-stranded methodology including: a questionnaire survey of children; in-depth discussion work with girls centred on child-taken photographs and videos, and interviews with mothers. To try to get close to the lifeworlds of young people, wherever possible their voices are included in the text. The study area represents one type of rural experience - that of an affluent, commuter-dependent area. The theoretical constructs of liminality and habitus are used to help make sense of the use and social ownership of space. A series of factors is shown to interact in various ways to produce complex geographies. Contingency effects of gender, age and location create a multitude of rural lifestyles; there is no universal ‘country childhood’. Girls use and value recreational space in a myriad of ways. Young people often have to share their play spaces, and anxiety, tension and conflict between rival groups is commonplace. Girls and their mothers express concern about stranger-danger, gangs and traffic hazards, and this limits the spatial freedom of some girls. Mothers, deeming the private car the only safe form of transport, determine the spaces in which their daughters spend their leisure time. Rather than providing greater spatial freedom, the rural offers parents more control over their children’s use of public space
Additional Information: This University of Northampton thesis was validated by the University of Leicester
Uncontrolled Keywords: Children in Northamptonshire; human geography; girls in Northamptonshire
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767 Children. Child development
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography > GF127 Rural settlements. Rural geography
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races > HT401 Rural groups. Rural sociology
Creators: Tucker, Faith
Department: School of Social Sciences > Theses
Northamptonshire and East Midlands: Rural Issues
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > School of Social Sciences (to 2016) > Theses
Date: 2002
Date Type: Completion
Language: English
Status: Unpublished
Institution: University of Leicester
URI: http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/id/eprint/2840

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