Faculty Publications

Title

Leaving the street alone: Contesting street manhood as a gender project

Document Type

Article

Keywords

boys, masculinity, race, street culture, US blacks

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Gender Studies

Volume

22

Issue

1

First Page

38

Last Page

53

Abstract

This study examines the gender project at an after-school program for low-income black boys in which officials and workers contested street manhood as a legitimate form of masculinity. Acting street involves establishing respect and status through physical intimidation, usually when race- or class-disadvantaged boys lack other resources. For programmers and direct-care workers concerned about boys' well-being, changing the definition of manhood potentially offered boys freedom from harm and a route to success. This study analyzes the life-skills programs designed to promote alternatives to acting street. It finds that while trying to protect boys from race- and class-based injury, these programs reinforced male entitlement to authority, status, and freedom from scrutiny by legitimizing rationality, responsibility, achievement, and traditional male roles. Furthermore, workers who implemented the programs often reinforced boys' gender privilege even when they undercut the definition of manhood inherent in the programs. The findings illustrate how addressing gender's internal hegemony reproduced external hegemony (Demetriou 2001). © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Original Publication Date

3-1-2013

DOI of published version

10.1080/09589236.2012.681188

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