Advertisement

(Un)Belonging in Higher Education: Negotiating Working-Class Masculinities Within and Beyond the University Campus

Chapter
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)

Abstract

This chapter, drawing on a qualitative study in British Columbia Canada, explores how a group of working-class men negotiated their performance of masculinities within and beyond a university setting. I focus on how these participants felt they belonged or did not belong to the different communities they inhabited. I suggest that for these men in the process of acquiring middle-class professionalism and an academic accreditation, they draw on the cornerstones of working-class masculinity, such as hard ‘graft’, receiving pride from one’s stoic tasks, and with the aim of being able to provide for one’s family and to endure hardship without complaint. As this chapter will show, these men believe these desires cannot be fully achieved in low-skilled, service sector employment. However, this pressure to succeed is coupled with a dual burden of negotiating a successful masculine identity beyond the university space. These experiences of higher education show that some young men fail to feel like they belong to either of these communities.

References

  1. Bathmaker, A.-M., Ingram, N., Abrahams, J., Hoare, A., Waller, R., & Bradley, H. (2016). Higher education, social class and social mobility: The degree generation. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. BBC News. (2013) [Online]. Poverty of aspiration across many Yorkshire and Humber schools, says Ofsted. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-25333295
  3. Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. In H. Cooper (Ed.), APA handbook of research methods in psychology (pp. 57–71). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Burke, P. J. (2013). Formations of masculinity and higher education pedagogies. Culture, Society and Masculinities, 5, 109–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrigan, T., Connell, R. W., & Lee, J. (1985). Towards a new sociology of masculinity. Theory and Society, 14(5), 551–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheeseman, M. (2018). How to win at being a student. In R. Waller, N. Ingram, & M. R. M. Ward (Eds.), Higher education and social inequality: University admissions, experiences and outcomes (pp. 99–115). Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Cobbett, M., & Younger, M. (2012). Boys’ educational ‘underachievement’ in the Caribbean: Interpreting the ‘problem. Gender and Education, 24(6), 611–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  9. Connell, R. W. (2001). Introduction and overview. Feminism & Psychology, 11, 5–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connell, R. W., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005). Hegemonic masculinity rethinking the concept. Gender and Society, 19(6), 829–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edström, J., Hassink, A., Shahrokh, T., & Stern, E. (Eds.). (2015). Engendering men: A collaborative review of evidence on men and boys in social change and gender equality. EMERGE evidence review. Promundo-US and Sonke Gender Justice and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Retrieved March 18, 2018, from http://promundoglobal.org/resources/engendering-men-evidence-review/
  12. Gillborn, D. (2009). Education: The numbers game and the construction of white racial victimhood. In K. Sveinsson (Ed.), Who cares about the white working class? (pp. 15–22). London: Runnymede.Google Scholar
  13. Goffman, E. ([1956] 1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday and Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  14. Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis an essay on the organization of experience. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  15. Goffman, E. (1976). Gender display. Studies in the Anthropology of Visible Communication, 3, 69–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Greig, C. J. (2012). Boys underachievement in schools, in historical perspective, exploring masculinity and schooling in the post-war era 1945–1960 in Ontario. In C. J. Greig & W. J. Martino (Eds.), Canadian men and masculinities—Historical and contemporary perspectives (pp. 99–115). Toronto, ON: Canadian Scholars’ Press INC.Google Scholar
  17. Halsey, A. H., Heath, A. F., & Ridge, J. M. (1980). Origins and destinations: Family, class, and education in modern Britain. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Harper, S. R., & Harris, F. (Eds.). (2010). College men and masculinities, theory, research and implications for practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  19. Ingram, N. (2009). Working-class boys, educational success and the misrecognition of working class culture. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 30(4), 421–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ingram, N. (2018). Working-class boys and educational success: Teenage identities, masculinity and urban schooling. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ingram, N., & Waller, R. (2014). Degrees of masculinity: Working and middle-class undergraduate students’ constructions of masculine identities. In S. Roberts (Ed.), Change and continuities in contemporary masculinities (pp. 35–51). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. Jackson, B., & Marsden, D. (1962). Education and the working class. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  23. Jackson, S., & Scott, S. (2010). Rehabilitating interactionism for a feminist sociology of sexuality. Sociology, 44(5), 811–826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kenway, J., Kraak, A., & Hickey-Moody, A. (2006). Masculinity beyond the metropolis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kimmel, K. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  26. Lin, X., Haywood, C., & Mac an Ghaill, M. (Eds.). (2017). East Asian men masculinity, sexuality and desire. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. Lehmann, W. (2013). Habitus transformation and hidden injuries: Successful working-class university students. Sociology of Education, 87(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mac an Ghaill, M. (1994). The making of men. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Macleans. (2018). University rankings 2018: Canada’s top comprehensive schools. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from http://www.macleans.ca/education/university-rankings/comprehensive-universities
  30. McDowell, L. (2003). Redundant masculinities. Oxford: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morgan, D. (2006). The crisis in masculinity. In K. Davis, M. Evans, & J. Lorber (Eds.), The handbook of gender and women’s studies (pp. 109–124). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Morris, E. (2012). Learning the hard way: Masculinity, place, and the gender gap in education. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Noguera, P. A. (2008). The trouble with black boys and other reflections on race, equity and the future of public education. San Francisco, CA: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Pascoe, C. J., & Hollander, J. A. (2016). Good guys don’t rape: Gender, domination, and mobilizing rape. Gender & Society, 30(1), 67–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Payne, G. (2017). The new social mobility. Bristol: Policy Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pembeci, B. I. (2019). Being Kurdish at a Turkish university campus: A spatial approach to belonging. In S. Habib & M. R. M. Ward (Eds.), Identities, youth and belonging: International perspectives (pp. 69–85). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  37. Phipps, A., & Young, I. (2015). Neoliberalisation and ‘lad cultures’ in higher education. Sociology, 49(2), 305–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Reay, D. (2017). Miseducation, inequality, education and the working classes. Bristol: Polity Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Reay, D., Crozier, G., & Clayton, C. (2009). ‘Strangers in paradise’? Working-class students in elite universities. Sociology, 43(6), 1103–1121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Relph, E. C. (1976). Place and placelessness. London: Pion Limited.Google Scholar
  41. Roberts, K., & Atherton, G. (2011). Career development among young people in Britain today: Poverty of aspiration or poverty of opportunity? International Journal of Education Administration and Policy Studies, 3(5), 59–67.Google Scholar
  42. Roberts, S. (Ed.). (2014). Debating modern masculinities, change, continuity, crisis? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  43. Schrock, D., & Schwalbe, M. (2009). Men, masculinity and manhood arts. Annual Review of Sociology, 35, 377–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Segal, L. (2007). Slow motion. Changing masculinities, changing men (3rd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  45. Sweeney, B. (2014). Party animals or responsible men? Social class, race and masculinity on campus. International Journal of Studies in Qualitative Education, 26(6), 804–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stahl, G., & Habib, S. (2017). Moving beyond the confines of the local. Young, 25(3), 268–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tarrant, A., Terry, G., Ward, M. R. M., Ruxton, S., Robb, M., & Featherstone, B. (2015). Are male role models really the solution? Interrogating the ‘war on boys’ through the lens of the ‘male role model’ discourse. Boyhood Studies, 8(1), 60–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. The Guardian. (2016). Gender gap in UK degree subjects doubles in eight years, UCAS study finds. Retrieved March 18, 2018, from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jan/05/gender-gap-uk-degree-subjects-doubles-eight-years-ucas-study
  49. Walker, C., & Roberts, S. (Eds.). (2018). Masculinity, labour and neoliberalism: Working-class men in international perspective (pp. 60–79). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  50. Walkerdine, V., Lucey, H., & Melody, J. (2001). Growing up girl: Psychosocial explorations of gender and class. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  51. Waller, R., Ingram, N., & Ward, M. R. M. (Eds.). (2018). Higher education and social inequality: University admissions, experiences and outcomes. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  52. Ward, M. R. M. (2014a). You get a reputation if you’re from the valleys’: The stigmatization of place in young working-class men’s lives. In T. Thurnell-Read & M. Casey (Eds.), Men, masculinities, travel and tourism (pp. 89–104). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  53. Ward, M. R. M. (2014b). ‘I’m a geek I am’: Academic achievement and the performance of a studious working-class masculinity. Gender and Education, 26(7), 709–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ward, M. R. M. (2015). From labouring to learning, working-class masculinities, education and de-industrialization. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ward, M. R. M. (2018a). Acceptable masculinities: Working-class young men and vocational education and training courses. British Journal of Educational Studies, 66(2), 225–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ward, M. R. M. (2018b). Educational trajectories and different displays of masculinity in post-industrial wales. Wales Journal of Education, 20(1), 5–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ward, M. R. M., Tarrant, A., Terry, G., Robb, M., Featherstone, B., & Ruxton, S. (2017). Doing gender locally: The importance of ‘place’ in understanding young men’s masculinities in the male role model debate. The Sociological Review, 65(4), 797–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Weis, L. (2004). Revisiting a 1980s “moment of critique” class, gender and the new economy. In N. Dolby, G. Dimitriadis, & P. Willis (Eds.), Learning to labor in new times (pp. 111–132). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swansea UniversitySwanseaUK

Personalised recommendations