‘We're the mature people': a study of masculine subjectivity and its relationship to key stage four Religious Studies

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Critical theory and research has shown that subjects carry gendered meanings. Numbers opting for Religious Studies (RS) have remained skewed towards girls. Drawing from post-structuralism and masculinities theory, this article critically analyses data from interviews with a group of key stage four boys who had opted for Religious Studies in contrast to the majority of their male peers. Interview data demonstrate that these boys were able to use Religious Studies as a discursive resource, constituting themselves as emergent critical ethical subjects and developing their own relationship to existential questions of meaning and purpose. The boys demonstrated reflexive self awareness as they were also able to negotiate socially successful identities through their relationship to the dominant masculinising forces of sport, physicality and authority and engage with Religious Studies. This article concludes that subjects such as Religious Studies which create spaces for criticality also act to create masculine subjectivities outside of restrictive gendered norms. Keywords: boys, gender, masculinity, religious education, Religious Studies, subjectivity,
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-36
JournalGender and Education
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Nov 2014


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