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Boys will be boys, or will they? A study of youth offending team practitioners’ constructions of masculinity of the young men with whom they work

BAUMGARTNER, ERIC,CHRISTIAN,GUNTER (2014) Boys will be boys, or will they? A study of youth offending team practitioners’ constructions of masculinity of the young men with whom they work. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This doctoral thesis explores the relevance of concepts of masculinity in youth justice practice, the assessment of and the intervention work with young men who have been identified as having offended. It explores the ways in which practitioners at a Youth Offending Team in England construct the masculinity of the men with whom they work, the role criminal behaviour plays in those constructions, and what relevance practitioners in this setting attribute to ideas around masculinity in the work with young men in the Youth Justice System. Using a qualitative multi-method approach, the thesis employs documentary analysis of a total of 278 Assets and 3528 case diary entries, 12 interviews with Senior Practitioners, Case Workers, Intervention Supervision and Surveillance staff, and a focus group with members of staff who provide sessional support. The analysis of the data is informed by key sociological theorists such as Goffman and Bourdieu, engages with Butler’s notion of performativity, and uses Connell’s framework of hegemonic masculinity to explore YOT practitioners’ constructions of masculinity. This thesis highlights how practitioners’ explanations of offending behaviour in young men are deeply embedded in the ways they construct the young men’s masculinity as homogeneous gender identity with discrete behavioural characteristics, understood as learned from families and performed with and policed by peers. A disjuncture is identified between underlying assumptions of offending behaviour, the masculinisation of risk in youth justice, and the central position ideas of masculinity play in how YOT practitioners explain offending behaviour, yet the complete lack of explicit gender-targeted assessment and intervention. Recommendations and implications for practice are debated.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Masculinity, Youth Justice, Masculinity and Social Work
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 May 2014 11:46

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