The Imaginative Space of Adolescent Masculinities in the Migration to High School
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Adolescence is a period marked by significant social pressures as young individuals attempt to negotiate between who they are and who they aspire to become. For adolescent males, the social pressures of navigating a gender conforming masculine performance in a sexist society adds to this already heavy burden. Therefore, this research aims to understand the young masculinities being enacted as males transition from an elementary school to a high school context. This research utilizes the methodology of narrative inquiry and draws on Daniel Coleman’s concept of narratives of refraction, shifts in perspective resulting from a migration from one culture to another. This research employs Raewyn Connell's theory of masculinity which views masculinity as pluralized and diverse and highlights the diversity within men as they strategically negotiate the varying demands of everyday situations. Based on the Positive Psychology/Positive Masculinity (PPPM) model, this work explores the positive aspects of adolescent masculinities. Interviews were conducted with two male participants to gain a deeper understanding of the healthy, positive aspects of their gender enactment, as well as to explore their stories to live by that resist or reinterpret traditional enactments of masculinity. In attending to stories of masculinity and sport, positive enactments of masculinity were considered in relation to the problematic culture of sport which may promote and perpetuate antifeminine, misogynistic, and sexist attitudes. Additionally, remaining attentive to silence was identified as necessary because adolescent males are navigating dominant narratives of masculinity that dictate stoicism in the face of difficulty. The significance of this body of research is the potential for it to open spaces for healthier, more adaptable gendered behavior. The findings of this research highlight the need for curricular resources that address the heteronormative, patriarchal systems of power operating in our schools.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeCaldwell, Lynn; Balzer, Geraldine; Loewen Walker, Rachel
adolescence, masculinities, positive psychology, patriarchy