Boy talk: Critical literacy and masculinities

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64 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe, interpret, and explain the changes in four young adolescent boys' awareness of how masculinity constructs and is constructed by texts, both written and spoken. Specifically, the research question was: How do the critical literacy activities within a homeschooling setting sustain or transform the boys' awareness of gendered identities and inequities in texts? I used Fairclough's (1989, 1995) critical discourse analysis as the framework in which to analyze the boys' participation in critical literacy activities within a homeschooling setting. The boys and I participated in critical literacy activities that focused on masculinity, a topic that they had not talked much about before the study began. As the boys talked, they became more aware of the practices of masculinity and of how masculinities were portrayed in a variety of texts. They began to question the rigidity of these practices. However, as this analysis demonstrated, the boys' awareness of gendered identities and inequities was unstable and was at times, uncertain. Highlighted in this study were two themes: (a) the instability and uncertainty of the boys' awareness of gendered identities, and (b) the impact of power relations within and among the local, institutional, and societal contexts on the boys' participation in the critical literacy activities. These themes were discussed in relation to Bakhtin's (1984) notions of word with a loophole and dialogism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-337
Number of pages26
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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