Dropping out: identity conflict in and out of school in Ghana

Dunne, Máiréad and Ananga, Eric Daniel (2013) Dropping out: identity conflict in and out of school in Ghana. International Journal of Educational Development, 33 (2). pp. 196-205. ISSN 0738-0593

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This paper explores geographies of identity of Ghanaian school dropouts. In particular, we investigate how school dropouts in rural communities construct narratives of identity within and outside school. In our analysis we trace how space, power and identity intersect in accounts of dropping out. Focusing on the narratives of four school ‘dropouts’, we start with their accounts of life outside school where they have significant social responsibilities as parents, carers and/or wage-earners. We contrast this with their accounts of their experiences as students in school. After exploring their efforts to gain and sustain access to school, we turn to their accounts of life in school and the ways they navigate the institutional gender and age regimes. These narratives highlight how being ‘over-age’ intersects with polarised student gender identities in a range of variable ways that discourage staying in school. The analysis indicates that the social positioning and identities of drop outs within school spaces were in tension with those they occupied in their homes and communities. More specifically, we suggest that the difficulties in navigating power and identity in these different spatial geographies are critical to understanding the processes of dropping out. In addition, we reflect on the methodological implications of this research which demonstrates the limits of quantitative data on dropout and associated problems with homogenised, deficit accounts of dropout often articulated in dominant development discourses. In turn this has important implications for how we might construct interventions to address dropout and the right to education for all.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Drop out; Gender; Age; Identities; Spatiality; Social geographies
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Cecilia Kimani
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2012 08:53
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 08:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/39702
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