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Editorial

Boyhood Studies at 10

Diederik F. Janssen

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A Social Negotiation of Hope

Male West African Youth, ‘Waithood’ and the Pursuit of Social Becoming through Football

Christian Ungruhe and James Esson

ABSTRACT

This article examines the present-day perception among boys and young men in West Africa that migration through football offers a way of achieving social standing and improving their life chances. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among footballers in urban southern Ghana between 2010 and 2016, we argue that young people’s efforts to make it abroad and “become a somebody” through football is not merely an individual fantasy; it is rather a social negotiation of hope to overcome widespread social immobility in the region. It is this collective practice among a large cohort of young males—realistic or not—which qualifies conceptualizations of youth transitions such as waithood that dominate academic understanding of African youth today.

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Diederik F. Janssen

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Introduction

Cinemas of Boyhood Part II

Timothy Shary

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Introduction

Cinemas of Boyhood, Part I

Timothy Shary

These are ripe times to study boyhood in cinema. Even though male characters have undoubtedly dominated cinema roles from the start, boys’ stories have not been consistently produced or appreciated. Since the publication of Where the Boys Are: Cinemas of Masculinity and Youth, a collection edited by Murray Pomerance and Frances Gateward in 2005, there has been increasing academic interest in boyhood representation through movies, as demonstrated by the articles collected here. This interest follows the expansive concerns of pop psychology texts at the turn of the century that took up the political and emotional consequences of boys’ behavior, such as Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack (1999), Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson (2000), and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism is Harming Our Young Men by Christina Hoff Sommers (2001).As is evident in their titles, this research joined the chorus of a prevailing masculinity in crisis theme that has permeated gender studies in recent years: boys have been troubled by the pressures of patriarchy, the demands of feminism, and the culture of capitalism, and thus are in need of rescue and protection from these influences.

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Diederik F. Janssen

I am most excited to be announcing the first issue of Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. The journal continues Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies, seven volumes of which were published between 2007 and 2013 by The Men’s Studies Press. Boyhood Studies will complement Berghahn’s prize-winning title Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, published as of 2008.

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Introduction

Schools, Masculinity and Boyness in the War Against Boys

Chris Haywood, Máirtín Mac an Ghaill, and Jonathan A. Allan

The re-publication of Christine Hoff Sommers’s book on the War Against Boys (2000, 2013) continues to feed into a widely circulating premise that feminist inspired pedagogical strategies are having a detrimental effect on boys’ experience of education. It resonates with a UK newspaper article whose author asked: “Why do women teachers like me treat being a boy as an illness?” (Child 2010). In the late 1990s, Sara Delamont had already highlighted how the media targeted feminists for the failure of boys, where “school and classroom regimes … favour females and feminine values; a lack of academic/scholarly male role models for boys, a bias in favour of feminism in curricula, a lack of toughness in discipline, and a rejection of competition in academic or sporting matters” (1999: 14).

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Puerilities/Masculinities

Introducing a Special Issue on Boyish Temporalities

Diederik F. Janssen

Pioneering cultural historian Johan Huizinga’s short chapter on puerilism, featured in his interwar essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, famously highlighted what he considered the mutual “contamination of play and seriousness in modern life.” “Puerilism we shall call the attitude of a community whose behaviour is more immature than the state of its intellectual and critical faculties would warrant, which instead of making the boy into the man adapts its conduct to that of the adolescent age” (Huizinga, 1935 [1936, p. 170]). The puerilist condition degrades the serious to the superficial, true and ritual play to boundless childishness. It is a dangerous and decadent symptom, a “bastardization of culture,” a semi-seriousness and appetite for the sensational and the trivial appealing to obedient masses and small minds. Modern man becomes a slave to his comforts. “In his world full of wonders man is like a child in a fairy tale. He can travel through the air, speak to another hemisphere, have a continent delivered in his home by radio. He presses a button and life comes to him. Will such a life give him maturity?”

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Reproduction, Resistance and Hope

The Promise of Schooling for Boys

Michael C. Reichert and Joseph Nelson

Extended editorial introduction to a double special issue on boys and schooling. Adopting a developmental perspective on boyhood, the editors frame these special issues on boys' education by reviewing research on their experience of schooling. In particular, they endeavor to illuminate boys' agency and opportunities they can find in schools for resistance to restrictive masculine regimes.

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Delinquents, Savages, and Lovers

An Introduction to the Cinema of Boyhood

Jeffery P. Dennis

Introduces this special issue’s theme of “Boys and Cinema,” discussing the emergence of a specific, international cinema of boyhood in the early 1960s, and five main themes established within it by the late 1960s.