Posted: March 18th, 2023
Sociology research review and critique: “Boyz to Men”
Anoop Nayak’s 2003 sociological study “Boyz to Men: masculinities, schooling and labour transitions in de- industrial times” examines the adaptation (or lack thereof) of a representational group working-class British young men to a changing labor economy. Life in Britain has been profoundly altered due to shifts in the class structure. There is a dearth of stable factory jobs and a shift to “service sector economies, part-time work, fixed-term contracts and more ‘flexible’ patterns of labour” (Nayak 2003: 148). The study focuses specifically on the Northeast of England and details a specifically ‘male’ experience inside and outside of school. The perspective adopted is thus one of social constructivism, which seeks to understand how the subjects understand their own experiences in a social context and contextualizes those experiences within a wider cultural framework of interpretation which has many ‘layers.’
The Northeast region was historically an industrialized area, but has not reaped the benefits of Thatcherism or globalization (Nayak 2003:149). According to Nayak: “An in-depth and multi-textured analysis of masculinities is now better served by also accounting for young men’s multiple relationships to the family, locality, peers and changing labour market in global times. To develop such perspectives this study will utilise ethnographic methods including the use of history, familial biographies, semi-structured interviews and ‘thick’ description of people and place” (Nayak 2003:148). Nayak attempts to understand socially significant symbols such as football and manual labor, and significant locations (such as pubs) to give insight into the young men’s world.
The researcher was particularly concerned about the fact that previous analysis of the behavior of working class boys tended to focus upon their failures in schools, rather than attempted to understand them in a wider framework. By focusing on the relatively narrow venue of school, the boy’s full, experiential lives did not receive adequate justice, and it was too common to fall into the trap of seeing the young men simply as ‘failing’ youths. “Researching young men’s subjectivities within and beyond school walls allowed for a multidimensional, and ultimately more intimate portrait of their masculinities to emerge” (Nayak 2003:149). The young men’s wider social environment better contextualizes their life experience, including their tendency to deemphasize scholastic achievement, rather than merely problematize it.
The research was gender-specific in nature to examine how the ‘feminization’ of the job market impacted this group of working-class males. Historically, males were gendered as the primary breadwinners within working-class culture. In the new, IT-driven economy, computer skills proved to be far more valuable vocational attributes and a source of work for women. Women, who lacked many of the male inhibitions of selecting white-collar work, have thrived, in contrast to their male counterparts. The unemployment rate of men vs. women was nearly double in 1996 in the area (Nayak 2003:150).
This suggested how changing economic pressures challenged the conventional social structures of gender labor relations. But rather than causing the men to view desk work in a more masculine way because of its job prospects, many men clung to their values of prioritizing manual labor over white-collar work, despite the fact that such work was growing increasingly scarce to find. This decision might seem inexplicable to an outsider, but Nayak’s social constructivist perspective shows how this ideology is ‘constructed,’ despite its economically disadvantageous nature.
The ethnography focused upon a specific group of white, working-class youths with a strong tradition of manual labor in their families. Most of them had aspirations to enter trades or to enter into the businesses of their fathers (which catered to working class men, like a pub in the case of one of the boys). The study drew a direct link between their sense of regional and class identity and attitudes towards education (Nayak 2003:151). Implied in the analysis of the responses was that the boy’s attitudes made it difficult for them to change with the times, despite their youth. “The Real Geordies promoted the values of a muscular puritan work ethic (honesty, loyalty, self-sufficiency, ‘a fair days work for a fair days pay’) in a situation where manual unemployment was now the norm” (Nayak 2003:151). Hard work rather than higher education was seen as preferable and none of the boys seemed to wish to leave the region of their birth, despite the economic difficulties it was experiencing. Mental labor, even if it promised to be easier and more lucrative was seen as a ‘cop-out’ and inauthentic. To engage in such mental labor would be a denial of the boy’s identity, circle of friends, and the pursuits that they had adopted since adolescence. Cultural pressures and the symbolic language of the Geordie subculture caused the boys to take what would seem to be a self-defeating life path.
The research did not specifically state that it attempted to answer the question: ‘why do some men prefer the option of poorer paid and increasingly scarce manual occupations vs. At least aspiring to enter white-collar jobs that require education,’ but the focus of the study and thus its implied results seem to indicate that this concern was a factor in the emphasis of the interviews. Nayak is careful to stress that the boys are not ‘lazy’ in the sense that they do value hard work, however they do not seem to be able to use that value to engage in foresight and planning about the future and instead spend their earnings on “clothes, drink, music, football…living for the weekend” (Nayak 2003:152). Even the boy’s reference to themselves as ‘real Geordies’ — referring to their regional identity, ethnicity, and class — is archaic, since the term was originally a synonym for ‘pit worker.’ The ‘real’ also implies that there are inauthentic people amongst them, and male authenticity is something fragile which must be preserved.
The notion of ‘thick description’ is manifest in Nayak’s analysis of what casual observers might consider ‘laziness.’ Rather than apply the judgments of outsiders which equate success in school with hard work and enterprise, Nayak attempts to understand the boy’s world in their own terms. This also helps to explain seemingly inexplicable behavior, such as one boy’s refusal to go two buses away from his ‘local’ home for an apprenticeship. The transient nature of many technology firms are also a turn-off for locals, who value stability and consistency above all else. Fear of change seemed to keep the boys in a state of a suspended animation: they realized that their father’s ways of life were no longer tenable, but the threat of the ‘new’ in the form of new industries, new loyalties, and new people made them reluctant to give up what had become their identity as ‘Real Geordies.’
Nayak also calls the culture of the young men a ‘culture of the body’ in the degree to which it revolved around physical activities, including manual labor, football, and drinking beer at pubs. In trying to secure money to participate in these activities, many of the young men could be surprisingly resourceful in legal ways to finance their passion. Great weight was given to the symbolic collective affirmation of identity — for example, when watching football games, it was very important that the young men ‘represent’ by attending the games in person, or at very least in pubs even if they could not afford their own tickets.
Defining identity was done in a very stark manner which clearly demarcated ‘insider and outsiders.’ People who watched from their armchairs were derided as lesser fans, or anoraks (bookish). In such an ideological sphere, in which everything that is intellectual is considered ‘bad’ and everything that is physical and visceral is considered ‘good,’ the boy’s dismissive view of attempting to better their educational prospects, despite the prosperity it might offer, becomes more comprehensible. Admitting that another way of being in the world might be tenable that did not valorize working-class manual labor was simply untenable to them. Even some conventional markers of success (a desk job, a nice television) were sneered at.
Manual labor and physicality were defined by symbolically central rituals and artifacts that within the ‘tribal’ context of the men took on much greater symbolic significance. Football is not simply a game but rather a badge of identity and membership in a community. Simply looking at the economics of working to buy tickets for a football game cannot be analyzed purely in terms of the logic of an outsider, who might wonder if the young men might be better off saving their money. This highlights the value of the perspective offered by Nayak, as it does not attempt to judge the young men, as might a social worker, or even members of the community who might see them as ‘good for nothing.’ Instead, Nayak shows how their actions are comprehensible within a specifically socially-contextualized space.
A materialist or Marxist-realist analysis of the boys, however, would not simply state that their views and beliefs were comprehensible given their social situation, but rather see their behavior as a kind of false consciousness — rather than focusing on change a world which offered them few truly meaningful opportunities (given that the white-collar jobs and apprenticeships offered were still far less lucrative than the managerial positions of those who came from the ‘right’ neighborhoods, families and schools) they boys channeled their energies into nonproductive pursuits like football. Localism became stultifying because it meant the boys did not see their struggle mirrored in the difficulties of other working-class youths. Nayak’s analysis, although persuasive, ultimately offers no real, meaningful solutions to a social order in which any methods of self-improvement are automatically viewed as a betrayal. These subcultural values ultimately hurt their adherents. Nayak can merely conclude: “recognising the place of education in the global marketplace may not smooth the jagged dissonance between formal schooling and local masculinities (Nayak 2003: 157).
Nayak, Anoop. 2003. ‘Boyz to Men’: masculinities, schooling and labour transitions in de-
industrial times. Educational Review, 55(2): 147-158.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.
Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.
While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.
Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.
In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.
Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.
We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!
We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.
Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.
We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.
Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.
There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.
Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.
We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.
You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.
We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.
You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.
Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.
You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.
The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!
Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.