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.
Michael R. M. Ward
Michael R. M. Ward and Thomas Thurnell-Read
This special issue of Boyhood Studies considers how a group of international scholars have engaged with the concepts of boyhood and belonging as a complex personal and powerful process. In different ways, the authors highlight how belonging is an ongoing negotiation within one’s surroundings. The international research presented here compels us to conceptualize belonging and boyhood as something that is not only infused with individuals and collective histories, but also interwoven within different conceptions of place and space. These places and spaces are experienced in multiple ways within different social contexts. We contend that this special issue is positioned at an important time in studies of boys and young men. As boys and young men experience their transition into adulthood with increased precarity, it is time we take theories of boyhood and belonging seriously. These theories can open up new spaces and provide critical insights into young lives.
Anna Tarrant, Gareth Terry, Michael R.M. Ward, Sandy Ruxton, Martin Robb and Brigid Featherstone
This article considers the so-called war on boys through a critical examination of the way boys and young men have been represented in what might be termed the male role model discourse in policy and media debates in the UK. Critical engagement with academic literatures that explore the male role model response to what has become known as the problem of boys, predominantly in education and in welfare settings, reveals that contemporary policy solutions continue to be premised on outdated theoretical foundations that reflect simplistic understandings of gender and gender relations. In this article we advocate policy solutions that acknowledge the complexity and diversity of boys’ and young men’s experiences and that do not simplistically reduce their problems to the notion of a crisis in masculinity.