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Masculinities and Other Hopeless Causes at an All-Boys Catholic School


Kevin J. Burke

We get our fixed – or malleable – notions of sexuality and gender from a variety of sources: family expectations, a hypersexualizing media gaze, and through the dictates of those great monoliths, Faith and Obedience within a/the Church. However, gender is also being formed in the well-worn halls and the ordered environment of classrooms: schools are the great throughways where gender gets most articulated – bartered for and with – during adolescence.
This book documents a year-long autoethnographic study in an all-boys Catholic secondary school. It elucidates how schooling helps form both assumptions and practices about what it means to become a man, and examines how these discourses are reshaped by young men in their daily lives. In the process the book explicates how students come to make sense of and exercise their own identities amidst the discourses of the school around, through, and by religion and gender and, necessarily, sexuality.