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Abstract

This paper is based on an ethnographic multi-method study, involving interviews, focus groups, diaries and observation. It explores some of the tales of thirteen-year-old female students who told about their experiences of growing up and making the transition from primary to secondary school. The paper argues that their experiences of growing up and changing schools were not a simple, linear process, but involved feelings of intense pleasure and tremendous pain. Building on a growing body of literature concerned with the experience of growing-up, this paper seeks to highlight the multiple ways in which these female students negotiated this phase of change and constructed identity. The paper suggests that school context fosters a sense of maturity upon which thirteen-year-old female students can build their various identities, individually and collectively as a peer group.

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