Uncertain Masculinities: Youth, Ethnicity and Class in Contemporary Britain, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Uncertain Masculinities

Youth, Ethnicity and Class in Contemporary Britain, 1st Edition

By Mike O'Donnell, Sue Sharpe


216 pages

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pub: 2000-07-06
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In this era of rapid and unsettling change, boys now more than ever face difficulties in establishing their self-image and status. In this original and challenging study Mike O'Donnell and Sue Sharpe explore how teenage boys from white, African-Caribbean and Asian backgrounds negotiate contemporary uncertainties to construct their gender identities.

Drawing theoretical insights about how class, race and ethnicity critically affect the formulation of masculinities throughout, the authors examine:

* the discrepancies between boys and girls' attitudes and expectations

* the split between boys' formal acceptance of politically correct ideas and their informal behaviour amongst the peer group

* boys' leisure pursuits including involvement in illegal activities and their selective identification with global youth culture.

Uncertain Masculinities is a fascinating account of the complexity of contemporary boys' identities and will be of use to students of the sociology of youth and of gender studies.


'Uncertain Masculinities explores the complex and diverse interplay between ethnicity, class and gender by interviewing students from four London Schools. The study by O'Donnell and Sharpe highlights the complex nature of this interplay amongst youth culture both in and out of school. Those involved in managing schools should find the study both interesting and useful as it quite clearly shows that there is no quick fix to organising a successful learning experience for boys: it takes time, understanding and a recognition of their diverse backgrounds. - Phillip Snell, Head Teacher, Kingsbury High School

Table of Contents

1. Gender, Race and the Peer Group: The School and Neighbourhood Contexts 2. The Social Construction of Youthful Masculinities: Peer Group Subcultures 3. Marriage, Family and Relationships: Images and Expectations 4. Work: Changing Structures, Changing Opportunities 5. Culture, Leisure and Crime 6. Conclusion

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies