The Construction of Masculinities under Global Capitalism – A Cross-class, Ethnographic study of Boys-only Secondary Schools in Hong Kong

Project: Other project

Project Details


This is a study of how boys construct their masculinities, or, how they become men, in one of the important sites of their growing-up process, i.e. the school. More specifically, we would research into the different dimensions of school life of teenage boys, and how these impact on their evolving gender and sexual identities. The study of masculinities, and how they are constructed in schools, had begun in English-speaking societies in the 1980s and the 1990s respectively. However, no such studies have been done in Chinese societies, and this study would be among the first. With the understanding that this process in boys-only schools will be different from that in mixed schools, we choose to study the former at this pioneering stage. A class dimension is built into this study by choosing two schools at both ends of the spectrum – an “elite school” with a predominantly upper-middle class intake, and a “Band 3” (i.e., academically poor) school with a working class intake. This cross-class comparison is important because existing literature reveals that there are multiple masculinities, and these are class-specific. Ethnography is adopted for our study because this enables us to observe and document the myriad details of school life experienced by boys, as well as the daily, repeated patterns of behaviour, feelings and thoughts that go into the making of diverse masculinities.Through our cross-class study, we hope to explore the diversely different processes of construction of masculinities. Lastly, our study is also expected to contribute to the understanding of Chinese masculinities in a post-colonial context, and thereby to enrich the comparative study of masculinities and gender construction.

Funding Source: RGC - General Research Fund (GRF)
Effective start/end date01/01/1230/06/14


  • masculinities
  • social class
  • Chinese masculinities
  • school ethnography
  • gender


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