So What's a Boy? Addressing Issues of Masculinity and Schooling

So What's a Boy? Addressing Issues of Masculinity and Schooling

So What's a Boy? Addressing Issues of Masculinity and Schooling

So What's a Boy? Addressing Issues of Masculinity and Schooling

Synopsis

"This book focuses on the impact and effects of masculinities on the lives of boys at school. Through interviews with boys from diverse backgrounds, the authors explore the various ways in which boys define and negotiate their masculinities at school. Through looking at the problems and examining the question of what makes a boy a boy, this title offers recommendations and outlines directions for working with boys in schools in the future." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This chapter outlines the theoretical frames that inform our analysis of boys' experiences of schooling and social practices of masculinity in this book. We draw particularly on the work of Foucault (1978, 1984a, 1984b) and postcolonial mestiza feminists such as Anzaldua (1987) and Trinh (1989, 1990a, 1990b, 1991, 1992) to interrogate the ways in which masculinities are defined and negotiated in adolescent boys' lives at school. Our focus, therefore, is both on the ways in which boys come to understand and fashion themselves as particular kinds of subjects, and how they defy categorizations and binary classifications that are inscribed through certain normalizing tendencies and practices. We think it is helpful, therefore, to define these conceptual frames in two dimensions.

Normalizing regimes and practices of self-regulation

This focus draws attention to ways in which boys learn to police their masculinities and to place themselves (and other boys) under a particular kind of surveillance. In other words, we are interested in boys' understandings of what constitutes ‘normal’ or desirable masculinity and how they learn to fashion and embody this masculinity in socially acceptable ways. The application of the work of Foucault (1984a, 1984b, 1985) has been particularly useful in helping us to develop a greater understanding of the role that self-regulation and normalizing practices play in how boys learn to relate, behave and think as certain kinds of boys. We are concerned to highlight, therefore, how particular power relations are played out in their lives at school and, in this sense, pay attention to the pecking order of masculinities in boys' social experiences and relationships (see Walker 1988; Mac an Ghaill 1994b, 2000, Connell 1995; Epstein 1997; Martino, 1999, 2000a; Martino and Meyenn 2001; Skelton 2001).

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