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Diederik Janssen

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, by Michael Kimmel. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008, xviii+332 pp.

Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity, by Gary Cross. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008, 316 pp.

Permanent Adolescence: Why Boys Don’t Grow Up, by Joe Carmichiel. Far Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press, 2009, xi+244 pp.

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Editorial

Boyhood Studies at 10

Diederik F. Janssen

It is my very great pleasure to introduce the tenth-anniversary 2017 volume of Boyhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal.

The present Spring issue is a collection of contributions about boys in global sports contexts, guest edited by Adam White, qualitative researcher at the Sport and Exercise Research Centre of the University of Winchester’s Department for Sport and Exercise Science. Adam has done an excellent job in bringing together contributions from fields as diverse as the history of sport, sport sociology, and sport psychology.

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Crimen Sollicitationis

Tabooing Incest after the Orgy

Diederik F. Janssen

Late modernity’s binary intrigue of child sexuality/abuse is understood as a backlash phenomenon reactive to a general trans‐Atlantic crisis concerning the interlocking of kinship, religion, gender, and sexuality. Tellingly dissociated from 1980s gay liberation and recent encounters between queer theory and kinship studies, the child abuse theme articulates modernity’s guarded axiom of tabooed incest and its projected contemporary predicament “after the orgy”—after the proclaimed disarticulation of religion‐motivated, kin‐pivoted, reproductivist, and gender‐rigid socialities. “Child sexual abuse” illustrates a general situation of decompensated nostalgia: an increasingly imminent loss of the child’s vital otherness is counterproductively embattled by the late modern overproduction of its banal difference, its status as “minor.” Attempts to humanize, reform, or otherwise moderate incest’s current “survivalist” and commemorative regime of subjectivation, whether by means of ethical, empirical, historical, critical, legal, or therapeutic gestures, typically trigger the latter’s panicked empiricism. Accordingly, most “critical” interventions, from feminist sociology and anthropology to critical legal studies, have largely been collusive with the backlash: rather than appraising the radical precariousness of incest’s ethogram of avoidance in the face of late modernity’s dispossessing analytics and semiotics, they tend to feed its state of ontological vertigo and consequently hyperextended, manneristic forensics.

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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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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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Diederik F. Janssen

I am pleased to introduce the Autumn 2016 issue of Boyhood Studies, particularly because it does an excellent job in honoring the broad scope of the journal. Contributions tap into children’s literature, gender role research, sex differences research, medical history, the sociology and social history of sport, and folklore studies. Yet all contributions admirably show how any strict insistence on the boundedness of these respective fields will fail in doing full justice to the topics discussed.

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BOY

Linguistic Anthropological Notes

Diederik F. Janssen

This article proposes a linguistic anthropological approach to the notion BOY, drawing attention to diverse research methods including etymology, onomasiology, corpus analysis, semantics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, and comparative ethnolinguistics. As a popular and flexible lexical device, BOY may function as an operator on the received nature of manhood (by rendering it contingent on the discourse and narrative of development), but also as a possible aid in its ever-imminent bankruptcy by disengaging its stylistics from essentialist understandings of both gender and life phase. BOY, thus, lies at the heart of discussions about masculinity as it relates to performativity, language, and discourse, but, in important ways, it also exceeds and contests the confinements of gender/masculinity research.

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Diederik F. Janssen

I am pleased to introduce Boyhood Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1. This issue’s authors unanimously invite an appreciation of the many regional, temporal and contextual inflections of manliness-in-the-making. After all: “Among boys, as among men, there are ‘all sorts and conditions;’ environment moulds them” (Anon. 1890: 147). This merits a bit of intercontinental timetravel. Ecce puer: from Lord Baden-Powell’s and American contemporaries’ middle ages to late nineteenth-century Mexico’s French Third Republic, back to Baden-Powell and into the Great War, and back again to presentday Mexico. In Mexico, on both visits, we are travelling back and forth as well, between the rural and urban experience.

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Miles Groth and Diederik F. Janssen

With far too many scholarly journals out there now, why launch yet another? Hurried readers may never recognize what THYMOS is about unless they get past the first word to what follows: Journal of Boyhood Studies. That may happen in quite a few cases at first, but we are convinced that once underway, THYMOS will take its place among the best interdisciplinary journals in English. Boys, we believe, have something to teach us about the body, sexuality, spirituality and the imagination and, for that reason, without wishing to be excessive, we want to emphasize our conviction that the subject matter of THYMOS—boys and boyhood—is central to everyone’s self-understanding as a human being in what will very soon be a thoroughgoing global culture.

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Martin Ashley, Jürgen Budde, Andrew Calimach, Heather Ellis, Pauline Farley, Stephen T. Graef, Diederik Janssen, Amanda Keddie, Bertha Mook, Peter Redman and Maria Elena Reyes

For this, the sixth issue of Thymos, which will conclude its third year of publication and with a lively plan of upcoming issues already in place, I asked the members of our editorial board and all past contributors to Thymos to informally respond to this question: “As someone who has written about ‘the boy’ and ‘boyhood’, how do you conceptualize and define these terms as you begin to study and write about issues facing ‘boys’, in the cities, in rural settings, in schools, in various contemporary cultures?” I also suggested that the meaning of “the boy” and “boyhood” may, in fact, be the central issue of boyhood studies at this point. The question elicited eleven remarkably different responses, which follow.