Exploring young black and white boys' social construction of masculinity in a private multi-racial school.

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dc.contributor.author Smith, Robyn-Leigh
dc.date.accessioned 2010-05-25T09:58:36Z
dc.date.available 2010-05-25T09:58:36Z
dc.date.issued 2010-05-25T09:58:36Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/8142
dc.description.abstract This study explored how adolescent boys of different races negotiate multiple voices of masculinity in the context of post-apartheid South Africa. Research has shown that masculinity is not a fixed, homogenous and innate construct, but is rather fluid, relational, contextual, constantly being negotiated (Connell, 2000, 2005; Segal, 1993; Shefer, 2006). Morrell (1998) and Shefer et al. (2007) contend that in the area of research, a focus on boys, men and issues concerning masculinity remains relatively under-researched. In terms of the South African context, few studies have been undertaken in relation to the topic of young masculinities (Davies, 1997; Davies & Eagle, 2007; Langa & Eagle, 2008; Morrell, 2001; Reid & Walker, 2004; Shefer et al., 2007). The rationale for this study therefore stemmed from the lack of South African research on adolescent masculinity, and aimed to explore the role of the social context, in this case a private multi-racial school, in the construction and the negotiation of masculinities. Due to the significance of race in the South African context, the study aimed to assess whether the construction of young masculinities would differ in terms of race. In investigating the research aims, eight adolescent boys (four white and four black), age between 15 and 18 attending a private multi-racial school broader area of Johannesburg, Gauteng participated in this study. The research methods utilised included auto-photography; semi-structured individual interviews and a focus group with all eight participants. The participants’ responses were recorded and then analysed utilising content analysis. Various themes, such as what it meant to be a boy; boys and risk taking behaviour, alternative masculinities, and the role of context and class in the shaping of masculinity were explored. In order to develop a sense of the role of race in constructing the boys’ understandings the themes focussed on these issues. From the analysis what became evident was the pressure that boys experience within society and the school context to fit into popular or hegemonic constructions of masculinity. However, as much as some of the accounts were in line with hegemonic constructions others indicated alternative and opposing positions. It seems that even though society constructs masculinity and race in certain ways, masculinity is not fixed but rather boys hold multiple and conflicting masculine positions throughout their life experiences. Moreover, this study gives evidence to the internal complexity and contradictory nature of masculinity. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.title Exploring young black and white boys' social construction of masculinity in a private multi-racial school. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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