The Mystery of the Missing Men

How Do Young Men Experience “Belong-ing” in Higher Education?

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 University of Huddersfield v.trowler@hud.ac.uk
  • | 2 University of Huddersfield r.l.allan@hud.ac.uk
  • | 3 University of Huddersfield r.r.din@hud.ac.uk
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Abstract

There is something of a moral panic about the relative paucity of men in higher education in many countries. Closer examination shows that it is often men from subordinate groups in their contexts, such as working-class men (in the UK context) or African men (in the South African context) who are most underrepresented. This article draws on research in Scotland, South Africa and England to examine the experiences of young men positioned as “nontraditional” in their localized HE contexts who do attend university. Our studies found their experience of “belong-ing” to be mediated by their underrepresentation, as well as constructions of masculinity at system/context or at individual/group level. Understanding the latter can help ameliorate the effects of the former.

Contributor Notes

Vicki Trowler is Postdoctoral Researcher in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. Vicki has worked in a range of contexts and capacities in Higher Education in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Her recent research concerns the intersection of student engagement in higher education with issues of social justice, widening participation, student transitions, and the student voice. Previous research has included “nonacademic” staff working in higher education, teaching writing through blogging and social media, virtual communities, online identity, knowledge management, digital humanities, and academic computing. Email: v.trowler@hud.ac.uk

Rob Allan currently fulfills a role covering teaching and learning in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. He has extensive experience of course development, quality assurance, and teaching over the past 20 years, with a particular interest in widening participation and the challenges facing students from various backgrounds. He is currently working with colleagues from across a range of Yorkshire institutions as part of Yorkshire Universities’ project tackling “hard-to-reach students.” The fundamental aim is to encourage more students from underrepresented groups (specifically BME and white, working-class males) into higher education. Email: r.l.allan@hud.ac.uk

Rukhsana Din is Course Leader for the Science Extended Degree in the School of Applied Sciences at the University of Huddersfield. She has worked in many educational establishments ranging from delivering educational events at primary schools through to lecturing within higher education. She was employed by WISE as the campaign manager for several years leading a national initiative encouraging females to take up leadership roles within STEM. Her current research interests at the University of Huddersfield lie within math anxiety, and widening participation of students entering higher education. Email: r.r.din@hud.ac.uk

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