In this era of rapid and unsettling change, boys now more than ever face difficulties in establishing their self-image and status. In this original and challenging study Mike O'Donnell and Sue Sharpe explore how teenage boys from white, African-Caribbean and Asian backgrounds negotiate contemporary uncertainties to construct their gender identities.

Drawing theoretical insights about how class, race and ethnicity critically affect the formulation of masculinities throughout, the authors examine:

* the discrepancies between boys and girls' attitudes and expectations
* the split between boys' formal acceptance of politically correct ideas and their informal behaviour amongst the peer group
* boys' leisure pursuits including involvement in illegal activities and their selective identification with global youth culture.

Uncertain Masculinities is a fascinating account of the complexity of contemporary boys' identities and will be of use to students of the sociology of youth and of gender studies.

chapter |13 pages


chapter |24 pages

Gender, ‘race’ and the peer group

The school and neighbourhood contexts

chapter |51 pages

The social construction of youthful masculinities

Peer group sub-cultures

chapter |36 pages

Marriage, families and relationships

Images and expectations

chapter |29 pages


Changing structures, changing opportunities

chapter |37 pages

Culture, leisure and crime

chapter |6 pages


Boys and men