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Boys’ masculinities in play : in dialogue with anti-violence teachers and students Wang, Athena L. Y.


Feminist and other scholars have begun to examine masculinity and boys' schooling, as well as the connection between masculinity and male violence. However, research that looks at anti-violence instructors' and their students' discussions about masculinity and male violence within the context of anti-violence education remains sparse. In addition, the limited work on boys' own views of masculinity has focused primarily on White boys' experiences with hegemonic masculinity. This latter research is also Australian, British, and American, with litde in the Canadian context. The purpose of this study is to explore, through semi-structured interviews, the talk of a small multiethnic sample of anti-violence teachers, boys, and girls on masculinity and male violence within the context of their gender, culture, and "race." Twenty-six grade 10 students (12 male, 14 female) who completed a school-sponsored violence prevention program in two Canadian high schools and six (three male, three female) anti-violence instructors who taught the program were interviewed. All interviews were tape recorded and transcribed for analysis. Drawing on a feminist poststructuralist framework in my analysis, four main themes emerged. First, many boys played hegemonic masculinity in certain situations due to their perception that it was necessary, while engaging in non-oppressive masculinities in other situations. Second, girls not only reinforced, albeit sometimes unintentionally, boys' hegemonic masculinity talk and practices, but many also struggled with challenging a dominant image of manhood. Third, "race" and culture were found to play a significant role in considerations of masculinity. Fourth, everyone's talk revealed the connection between hegemonic masculinity and male violence. The findings from this study suggest that drawing on feminist poststructuralism in developing a framework for conceptualizing masculinity would serve as a useful tool in teaching anti-violence programs to diverse groups of boys (and girls).

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