“Most of the People My Age Tend to Move Out”

Young Men Talking about Place, Community, and Belonging in Manchester

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 Manchester Metropolitan University k.badwan@mmu.ac.uk
  • | 2 Manchester Metropolitan University samantha.wilkinson@mmu.ac.uk
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Abstract

Universities are as a means of leaving for the city for young people living increasingly precarious and mobile lives. This article explores how male university students (aged 18–25) talk about, and belong to, the places they inhabit in Greater Manchester, England. Drawing on mixed-methods data collection from survey responses and in-depth semi-structured interviews, this article finds that while young men embrace liquid understandings of place, they express tensions between “insiders” and “outsiders.” While universities appear to be significant places for male university students, only half the participants reported feelings of belonging to university communities. Consequently, this article proposes recommendations for universities, in order to ensure male university students feel they can open up to staff, thereby enabling them to feel part of a “learning community”—a key theme of the National Student Survey.

Contributor Notes

Khawla Badwan is Senior Lecturer in TESOL and Applied Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has interdisciplinary interests in areas related to language, globalization, and mobility. Her research has focused on the impact of social and geographical mobility on the linguistic and cultural capital of mobile individuals. She has also worked on sociolinguistics of mobility, international student mobility, internationalization in higher education, intercultural communication, and migration. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-1808-724X | Email: k.badwan@mmu.ac.uk.

Samantha Wilkinson is Senior Lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she was previously Lecturer in Human Geography. Her interdisciplinary research interests include innovative qualitative methods, young people and alcohol consumption, home care for people with dementia, animal geographies, the sharing economy, and hair and identity. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1564-5472 | Email: samantha.wilkinson@mmu.ac.uk

Boyhood Studies

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