The conversation on the school-to-prison pipeline among boys of color is complex and involves understanding how the 4 C’s— classroom, cops, courts, and community— interface to create a pipeline. However, what has been underconceptualized is whether and how notions of masculinity and boyhood that emerge within these institutions may operate as an invisible connective tissue across these institutions. In other words, the manner in which the bodies of Black and Latino males are viewed, interacted with, and treated within these institutions provides a rationalizing frame for how the actions within institutions occur. In this special issue, we theorize that, to understand the ways in which the school-to-prison pipeline operates for boys of color, there needs to be theoretical exploration through empirical work of what notions of masculinity are promoted and detracted within these institutions during boyhood. This interdisciplinary special issue of Boyhood Studies provides a conceptual exploration of how male bodies of color are constructed within and across these institutions, e.g., suspensions (schools), arrests (police), sentencing (courts), and violence (communities) in order to establish the pipeline as concretized through “normative” or oppressive notions of masculinity and boyhood.
Masculinity and Boyhood Constructions in the School-to-Prison Pipeline
Edward Fergus and Juwan Bennett
The Impact of Exclusionary Practices on the School Lives of African-American Males
This article focuses on findings from a subgroup of African-American male students as part of a broader qualitative dissertation research study, which explored how exclusion and marginalization in schools impact the lives of African-American students. The study focused on the perspectives of youth attending both middle and high schools in Michigan, and investigated how students who have experienced forms of exclusion in their K–12 schooling viewed their educational experiences. Key themes that emerged from the study were lack of care, lack of belonging, disrupted education, debilitating discipline, and persistence and resilience. These themes were analyzed in relation to their intersectionality with culture, ethnicity, race, class, and gender.
Symbolic Violence on the Bodies of Boys of Color in One “No Excuses” Charter School
L. Trenton S. Marsh
Historical, socially constructed notions of Black and Latino masculinity, mis/labeled behavior, punitive policies (e.g., suspension) and practices (e.g., school-imposed labeling) lead to disproportionate rates of dropout in urban US schools, continued involvement in the criminal legal system, and a limited participation in society. This article argues that school-imposed labeling—affixing a category or descriptor on a student to signal a shorthand message to others about a student’s academic ability and behavior—is symbolically violent (Bourdieu). By examining unofficial labels, punitive structures, and teacher perceptions of labeled students, I explored school-imposed labeling as a form of “normalized” practice that impacts Black and Latino males who attend an urban charter school with a “no excuses” orientation.
Scouting, Soldiering, and Boys’ Roles in World War I
This article examines the shifting representation of the ideal of masculinity and boys’ role in securing the future of the British Empire in Robert Baden-Powell’s Boy Scout movement from its inauguration in 1908 to the early years of World War I. In particular, it focuses on early Scout literature’s response to anxieties about physical deterioration, exacerbated by the 1904 Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration. In Baden-Powell’s Scouting handbook, Scouting for Boys (1908), and in early editions of The Scout—the official magazine of the Scout movement—there was a strong emphasis on an idealized image of the male body, which implicitly prepared Boy Scouts for their future role as soldiers. The reality of war, however, forced Scouting literature to acknowledge the restrictions placed upon boys in wartime and to redefine the parameters of boys’ heroic role in defense of the empire accordingly.
Adolescence, Chivalry, and Turn-of-the-Century Youth Movements
This article traces the intellectual and cultural history of the concept of chivalry, paying particular attention to its relationship with coming-of-age narratives, boyology, and theories of adolescent development. The concept of chivalry was central to the texts surrounding turn-of-the-twentieth-century youth movements, such as the Boy Scouts and the Knights of King Arthur. Chivalry, as it was constructed in these texts, became a way to contain cultural anxieties associated with a fear of modernity and, as a code of behavior, provided a path for youths to come of age, therefore containing concerns about the newly conceived and characteristically unstable developmental stage of adolescence.
J. Cammaert Raval
The Emotional Education of Boys in Mexico during the Early Porfiriato, 1876–1884
Carlos Zúñiga Nieto
This article explores the popularization of the concept of sentimental boyhood during the anticolonial insurrections in the Ten Years’ War (1868–1878) and the Caste War (1847–1901) in Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula in the early 1870s. The concept was popularized as childhood advocates articulated a uniquely Mexican emotional standard in the process of child-rearing, promoting the individual cultivation of honor, the management of anger, and the use of fear as discipline. Beginning in the 1870s, Mexican educators popularized theories of boyhood drawing on European notions of boyhood, including work by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. While educators promoted Rousseau’s and Pestalozzi’s “sentimental notions of boyhood” in rural Yucatán, pedagogues in Mexico City advocated the use of fear to instill obedience among boys.
Diederik F. Janssen
Robyn Singleton, Jacqueline Carter, Tatianna Alencar, Alicia Piñeirúa-Menéndez, and Kate Winskell
A study of 50 narratives (16 male-authored, 34 female-authored, ages 13–16) contributed to a scriptwriting competition by Mexican youth from Oaxaca State was undertaken to understand youth social representations of hegemonic masculinity. Representations of masculinity manifested within three domains: substance use, companionate or abusive relationships, and economic roles. Positively portrayed male characters maintained companionate relationships and economically provided for loved ones. Rejection of abusive rural male characters who misuse financial resources occurred via condemnatory language and tragic outcomes. The young authors highlight financial control as a key element of Mexican masculinity, but this control goes unchallenged if dependents benefit. The rejection of a macho hegemonic masculinity in favor of a companionate relationship model mirrors historic trends in Mexico regarding migration, gender, class, and modernity.