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“It's Not Being Racist, but … ”

A Youth Gang and the Creation of Belonging Based on “Othering”

Sinead Gormally

Abstract

This article explores the tacit endorsement of male youth gang members engaging in “race”-based conflict to gain localized levels of power. It examines the importance of belonging to an “in-group” for these young people via their connectedness to the broader residents, through cultural essentialism toward a Roma “out-group.” The young, male gang members, drawing on what they perceive to be their role, adopt physical and symbolic strategies to assert their control over their space and to concretize their sense of belonging with the wider community in-group. The article considers how a labeled and excluded group of male youth gang members from wider social structures find connection, commonality, and belonging in hardening their self-image through an othering process against those deemed inferior to them.

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Migration, Affinities, and the Everyday Labor of Belonging among Young Burmese Men in Thailand

Tiffany Pollock

Abstract

Fire dancers in Southern Thailand, almost exclusively young, intra-/international migrant men from rural Thailand and Myanmar, are paid to entertain tourists at nightly beach parties. An unacknowledged economy fueled largely by tips, fire dancing is fast becoming an iconic symbol of Thailand's young backpacker tourism sector but is not considered an acceptable form of labor or a valued artistic practice, because tourist beach spaces are perceived as sites of immorality, excessive drinking, and sexuality. Male fire dancers, then, come to be known as young social deviants who do not belong in the national imaginary and thus must maneuver around a complex politics of belonging with vast differences in social and economic power. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines how belonging is negotiated among Burmese fire dancers working in Thailand, and how experiences of belonging are shaped by spatialized gendered moralities and masculinities that operate within the fire dancing scene.

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

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

Khawla Badwan and Samantha Wilkinson

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.

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The Mystery of the Missing Men

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

Vicki Trowler, Robert Allan, and Rukhsana Din

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.

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Resisting the Demand to Stand

Boys, Bathrooms, Hypospadias, and Interphobic Violence

Celeste E. Orr

Abstract

How sex-segregated bathrooms negatively impact trans, genderqueer, nonbinary, queer, and gender-nonconforming people has been extensively studied, yet few have considered how intersex people are subjected to bathroom violence. To begin broadening this conversation, I focus on the medical management of boys with the intersex variation hypospadias and demonstrate that anxieties around bathrooms extend beyond the bathroom walls—into surgical theaters—and are not simply a trans or queer issue. Anxieties about bathrooms and hegemonic urinary masculine behavior inform the violent medical maltreatment of intersex boys with hypospadias; they are subjected to shaming, disabling, and invasive procedures in the hope they will reinforce compulsory dyadism and able-bodiedness, as well as exhibit hegemonic heteromasculine behaviors, namely standing to urinate. Because of discriminatory, gratuitous surgical interventions, the bathroom and urination become sites of pain and trauma for these boys. In turn, these boys’ sense of masculine belonging are undermined or destroyed.

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Book Reviews

Erica Morales, Alex Blower, Samantha White, Angelica Puzio, and Matthew Zbaracki

Ingram, Nicola. 2018. Working-Class Boys and Educational Success: Teenage Identities, Masculinities, and Urban Schooling. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pinkett, Matt, and Mark Roberts. 2019. Boys Don't Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools. London: Routledge.

Agyepong, Tera Eva. 2018. The Criminalization of Black Children: Race, Gender, and Delinquency in Chicago's Juvenile Justice System, 1899–1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Farrell, Warren, and John Gray. 2018. The Boy Crisis. Dallas, TX: BenBella Books.

Potter, Troy. 2018. Books for Boys: Manipulating Genre in Contemporary Australian Young Adult Fiction. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.

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“Boys in Power”

Consent and Gendered Power Dynamics in Sex

Katrín Ólafsdottir and Jón Ingvar Kjaran

Abstract

Sexual consent determines if sex is consensual, but the concept is under-researched globally. In this article, we focus on heterosexual young men and how they negotiate sex and consent. We draw on peer group interviews to understand how young men are constituted by the dominant discourses at play in shaping their realities. We have identified two different discourses that inform consent, the discourse of consent (based on legal, educational, and grassroots discourses), and the discourse of heterosexuality (based on the heterosexual script, porn, and gender roles) resulting in conflicting messages for boys. They are supposed to take responsibility for sex to be consensual as well as being gentle partners, but at the same time, the heterosexual discourse itself produces power imbalances in sex and dating.

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Editorial

Michael R. M. Ward

It is with real pleasure that I introduce this issue of Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (BHS), my first full issue as Editor. The past few months have been a learning curve in terms of the roles and responsibilities expected when editing an international journal, but I am very pleased with what we have to offer here. At a very important and critical time for gender scholars, I want to use this editorial as a general announcement of the editorial change, or addition, in editorship and the future direction, I would like to take the journal in. It is also an opportunity to introduce editorial board members, old and new to the readership and to outline what follows in volume 12, issue 1.

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Masculinity and Neighborhood Bullying among Adolescents in Ibadan, Nigeria

A Research Note

Mofeyisara Oluwatoyin Omobowale, Offiong Esop Akpabio, and Olukemi Kehinde Amodu

Abstract

Masculinity, as an identity signifier along gender lines, varies from one society to another. The nature, definition, and expression of masculinity (dominance, oppression, violence, and aggression) through social interactions may breed bullying, as found in the Agbowo community of Ibadan, Nigeria. The data for the study were collected through mixed methods and revealed that patriarchal constructed masculinity allows for hegemonic dominance, aggression, oppression, and violent acts that foster bullying among adolescent males in Agbowo. Hence, to address bullying-related problems among adolescents, an understanding of the societal context in which it is carried out is required.

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Remixing and Reimagining the Early Childhood School Experiences of Brilliant Black Boys

Brian L. Wright and Donna Y. Ford

Abstract

As early as preschool, Black boys face low and negative expectations that contribute to excessive subjective-based discipline, over-referrals by teachers to special education, and under-referrals by teachers to gifted education. An increasing body of research demonstrates that the predominantly White female teaching force is complicit in allowing deficit thinking to compromise their views of Black boys’ languages, literacies, strengths, and cultural ways of being. We present an overview of these issues, with most attention devoted to gifted education, as it is a neglected topic when it comes to Black boys. We also share a formula for educators to adopt that sets minimum representation percentages in order to be equitable in gifted education for Black students in general and Black boys in particular.