Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: An ethnographic study into the construction of masculinity of 10-11 year old boys in three junior schools
Author: Swain, Jon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 1638
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis investigates the construction of masculinity of 10-11 year old boys at school. It is a comparative ethnographic study set in three junior schools differentiated by the social characteristics of their intake. The two main sources of data come from participant observation and interviews with children. The thesis draws on social constructionist and feminist-inspired theories and argues that the boys construct, negotiate and perform a range of different masculinities which are contingent on the meanings and practices found within each school. It is argued that there is a hierarchy of masculinities, of which one can be identified as dominant within each setting. Whilst, in each school, some masculinities are subordinated, the study found that not all boys aspire to, or compete with, the dominant form of masculinity and the version of the 'idealised' boy this presents. Some boys appear content to pursue their own forms of masculine identity. The boys' peer group is a powerful influence on the formation of masculinity. The study investigates the various strategies and symbolic resources that the boys are able to draw on to gain status and to classify and position themselves both within their own peer groups and in relation to the official culture in each school. The part played by the body is a dominant theme in the analysis presented and many forms of masculinity are seen as being defined through embodied practices. The most esteemed and extensively used resource across all three schools is physicality/athleticism exemplified by demonstrations of strength, power, fitness, skill and speed. While the official practices of the school attempt to regulate and control the boys' bodies to render them docile and receptive, the boys were, at times, active and demonstrated agency in resisting these attempts. The majority of boys form a pragmatic accommodation with the school regime and work hard for instrumental reasons, for instance to pass examinations that they see as leading to improved career opportunities and material remuneration
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available