'Is that an action man in there?' : masculinity as an imaginative act of self-making in an English primary school classroom
This thesis argues that masculinity does not exist as the empirical property of biological males. Instead, masculinity is viewed as being produced in its objective sense through a social imaginary that invokes masculinity as already ontologically present; as having ontological continuity; as being necessarily coherent; and as being embodied in real boys/men. l\lasculinity is therefore seen as an iterative exercise, or a narrative of self, whereby the boys in this study are seen as being involved in producing themselves as coherent males in each classroom interaction. The masculine social imaginary is made real through these subjective moments of self-making. This research focuses on the strategies engaged in by boys, in an English primary school classroom, in their accomplishment of masculine identities~ how they are secured in relation to both girls and other boys~ and how particular masculine forms achieve and maintain hegemony. The research looks at the relationship between objective and subjective senses of identity; the cultural resources available to boys in their identity work; the ways different cultural resources (capital) accrue value in the context of the school; how these differently valued resources contribute to the production of masculine hierarchies; and pedagogic structures and practices interact with the boys' identity work to construct different relationships with the official curriculum. Working through a concept of reflexive relativity, this thesis regards the data collected through observation and elicitation exercises, as narrative productions. The research text itself is a narrative production - a rendering of a theory of masculine behaviour; and as constituting a series of dialogues between the research and different research subjectivities.