The Unrealized Potential of Body-Reflexive Practices

Intimations of a New Materialism

in Boyhood Studies
Steve Garlick University of Victoria, Canada

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Raewyn Connell's work foregrounds bodies in a way that challenges the social-constructionist orientation that has dominated much of the critical research on masculinities. Yet, her concept of “body-reflexive practices” is one of the least explored aspects of her work. In this commentary, I argue that body-reflexive practices, as the concept is developed in The Men and the Boys, points in the direction of a potentially productive convergence between masculinity studies and new materialist theories. In its engagement with the nature of bodies underlying the cultural construction of gender, Connell's work maintains a relevance that has been largely unappreciated. This is especially the case for boys and young men as they develop masculinities in negotiation with their corporeal capacities.

Contributor Notes

Steve Garlick is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Victoria, Canada. His research focuses on a range of issues including masculinities, sexuality, bodies, neoliberalism, and social theory. He is the author of The Nature of Masculinity: Critical Theory, New Materialisms, and Technologies of Embodiment (UBC Press, 2016). His work also has been published in journals such as Body & Society, Critical Sociology, Men & Masculinities, and History of the Human Sciences. Email:

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Boyhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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