Violence and the Gendered Negotiation of Masculinity Among Young Black School Boys in South Africa

  • Deevia Bhana


By the time boys begin attending primary school in South Africa, they have already embarked on the lifelong process of acquiring and constructing their masculine identities. Masculine identities in school reach back in time into the family and, in turn, the social location of these families plays a major part in the early processes by which masculinities are formed. In South Africa, the context in which many black families function is one of poverty. Poverty and race correlate closely in South Africa with 61 percent of blacks being poor (May 2000). Three children in every five live in households characterized by unemployment, lack of access to water and electricity, crowded homes, and food insecurity. Although poverty does not cause aggression, it gives rise to conditions that make it more likely. Boys, black boys in particular, are vulnerable to violence, but at the same time, they learn that might is right. To understand the shape of school masculinities, we need to give due recognition to early life experiences of violence.


Food Insecurity Corporal Punishment Hegemonic Masculinity Masculine Identity Violent Masculinity 
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Copyright information

© Lahoucine Ouzgane and Robert Morrell 2005

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  • Deevia Bhana

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