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

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


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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