My first year as editor of Boyhood Studies has flown by. I am really pleased with the issues we have put out since I came on board and the progress we have made in terms of the quality, rigor, and consistency of submissions. I think it is important as an interdisciplinary international journal that we continue to represent work in the field from multiple perspectives. Before I turn to outline this issue in detail, I want to briefly highlight the exciting plans we have coming up for out next two issues (13.2 and 14.1), which will both be special issues focusing on the work of one of the leading masculinities scholars of the past 30 years, Raewyn Connell.
Forthcoming Special Issues
The year 2020 is the twentieth anniversary of Raewyn Connell's seminal text The Men and the Boys. The book was published five years after the release of the ground-breaking text Masculinities and tackled multiple issues about men and boys. In recent years, these questions about men and boys have continued to raise remarkable media interest, public concerns, and controversy. In addition, the book outlined the future direction of the field in key areas around men and masculinities, globalization and its different forms, men's bodies, sexuality, education, health, politics and change, and violence and peace.
Working alongside Raewyn, these special issues, dedicated to this important work, will be edited by Victoria Cann, Kopano Ratele, Sebastián Madrid, Anna Tarrant, and myself. We have assembled a range of established and emerging men and masculinities scholars who will respond to the text by using key themes from the book and highlight where we are now in the field of boyhood and young masculinities. In keeping with the remit of our journal, we will provide a picture of research across the globe and how we see it developing. In addition, we will also provide pieces where authors reflect back on the importance of Connell's work for their own intellectual development and how it has shaped their thinking.
I am happy to be able to offer a taste of what is to come in the final piece of the current issue, which is provided by Sara Delamont. Delamont, a contemporary of Connell, reflects back on her own 45-year career as a gender scholar and highlights some of Connell's early work, which readers might be unfamiliar with. I hope these issues will bring a wider readership to the journal as well as celebrate this seminar text.
In our first article, Eric Baumgartner focuses on the Youth Justice System (YJS) in England. He highlights how although boys and young men continue to make up a large proportion of service users, the YJS largely neglects to examine the potential role of dominant forms of masculinity in offending and interventions. Through qualitative research, Baumgartner explores the role dominant masculinity may play as understood by practitioners. The article concludes that practitioners closely link localized forms of hegemonic masculinity to offending behavior of boys and young men.
Moving the focus toward schools, in our next article Victoria Cann examines the nuanced performances of masculinity enacted by a 14-year-old boy named “Tom.” In this UK-based case study, Cann shows how Tom, a boy of Filipino descent, played with his masculinity and countered potential accusations of homosexuality through acts of self-exoticization and self-feminization (removing others’ power to do so). The article highlights the role that Tom's Filipino heritage and London background plays in his performance of masculinity, arguing that in the overwhelmingly white context of Norfolk (UK), where the case study was conducted, it serves to anchor his hegemonic masculinity through connotations of “toughness” and “urbanness.”
Elizabeth Al-Jbouri and Shauna Pomerantz, in our third article, explore masculinities in Disney films, specifically from its lucrative subsidiary Pixar, to determine the kinds of masculinities represented. They show how male characters have and or have not disrupted dominant gender norms through flows of struggle and consent. Using a feminist textual analysis that includes the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Coco, this article considers how masculinities are constructed for young boys’ viewership. The authors suggest that while Pixar films strive to provide their male characters with a feminist spin, they also continue to reify hegemonic masculinities through sharp contrast to femininities and by privileging heterosexuality.
The fourth article, by Mellie Torres and colleagues, examines how Latino boys (re)conceptualize, (re)construct, and challenge stereotypical master narratives of Latino masculinity. Utilizing a mixed methods approach, the authors draw on the notion of counter-storytelling from critical race theory to explore ways Latino boys try to reframe masculinity, manhood, and what they label as “responsible manhood.” Data are drawn from the Black and Latino Male School Intervention Study (BLMSIS) conducted by New York University's Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.
Our next article, by Barry Ryan, explores issues of rancor and grief in James Joyce's text “The Sisters.” Ryan suggests that the topic of pederasty in “The Sisters” has attracted extensive commentary, but that one character's confusion, a boy growing up at the crux of two views of masculinity, has not been explored. Ryan also contends that another character, Father Flynn, who has a rather nostalgic view of boyhood, and his dependency on the company of the boy also warrants exploration. Ryan suggests that the boundary between the boy and adults he encounters in the text is constructed across two opposing ideals of masculinity, obliterating any possibility of contestation.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork, in our final regular article Andrea Moreiras explores how a group of young men construct their sense of belonging to a public space, namely, a market in the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. The article shows how these young men position themselves and negotiate their masculinities in an urban environment where they are identified as a threat to the social order.
This issue also contains a book review by Liam Wrigley of Steven Robert's text, Young Working-Class Men in Transition. As noted in the introduction, to end this issue. Sara Delamont provides a commentary piece, “Reading Raewyn: Reflections on a Lifelong Inspiration,” that acts as a preview of our forthcoming special issues.
To conclude, I record my thanks to all those who have reviewed submissions over the past year and for the board members’ support in terms of the work we have forthcoming. I want to remind readers that BHS is very much open to special issue proposals or ideas for themed issues. Please do get in touch with us!