Motives for 'Laddishness' at School: Fear of failure and fear of the 'feminine'

  • Jackson C
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Abstract

‘Laddish’ behaviours in school have been identified as impediments to the academic progress of some boys and girls. This article provides and discusses empirical evidence to support Jackson’s proposal in an earlier article that ‘laddish’ behaviours may act to protect the self-worth and/or social worth of many boys, and that ‘laddish-ness’ may be prompted by both a fear of academic failure and a fear of the ‘feminine’. Drawing upon data from interviews with 50 boys across two secondary schools, the article focuses upon a key characteristic of ‘laddishness’, namely, the overt rejection of academic work. It is suggested that overtly rejecting academic work serves a dual function for some boys. First, it enables them to act in ways currently consistent with hegemonic forms of masculinity in their schools. Secondly, it provides an excuse for failure and augments success.

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