Boys negotiate violence and masculinity in the primary school

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In this paper, we contribute to the understandings of young masculinities by turning attention to the South African schooling primary school context. In the context of scarcity of interventions around violence in the primary school, we focus on how young boys construct, negotiate and experience violence. Notwithstanding dominant discourses around childhood innocence we argue that young boys are active participants in violent gendered cultures at school. We show how boys’ bodies are key sites for the enactment of violence and is especially a valuable resource in the context of food insecurity. The paper also shows the fluidity of masculinity as boys who are regarded as ‘victims’ can also defend and resuscitate masculinity that endorses violence. Implications for addressing young masculinities in the primary school within local context are considered in the conclusion of the paper.




Mayeza, E., & Bhana, D. (2020). Boys negotiate violence and masculinity in the primary school. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 41(3), 426–443.

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