We explore the experience and meaning of being in an arranged male adult friendship for 7–10-year-old boys from single-mother families; we look at this from the perspective of the boys, their mothers, and their adult friends. In analyzing empirical material from a two-year fieldwork study, we draw on methodology and concepts from phenomenology. We propose that boy–adult friendships provide boys with a realization of masculine embodiment and reflect hierarchical masculinity, but that the presence of the male body is essential. We discuss how the analysis contributes to the literature on adult–child friendships, particularly between boys and male nonrelative adults, and to that on masculinity and boyhood studies, exploring boys’ embodiment from a phenomenological perspective.
Kathrine Vitus has a PhD in sociology and is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. Vitus's research centers on migration and social work, with a particular focus on children and young people. She has extensive experience studying migrant children and young people's experiences and conditions within different political, welfare-institutional, and local (social work) contexts. Vitus's research also contributes to the further development of qualitative research methods; she makes use of ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, focus groups, collective memory work, and participatory visual methodologies.
Nathalie Peergaard (NP) has a PhD in sociology from the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. Perregaard's research centers on child–adult relationships and volunteer social work, with a particular focus on children and young people. She is experienced in a variety of qualitative methods, including ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, focus groups, and participatory methods.