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'A Passion for Football': Dominant Masculinities and Primary Schooling

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christine Skelton


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Football occupies a central place in many of the strategies aimed at counteracting boys' underachievement in Western schools. At the same time, the significance of football in the construction and negotiation of dominant masculinities has been shown in several studies of British primay schooling. This paper provides an overview of the literature which identifies how football in schools is more than 'just a game' but is often inscribed with broader structural issues. It then goes on to illustrate, through data collected in an ethnographic study of a middle-class primary school, how football was central to the gender regime of the school, particularly in relation to the construction of a dominant mode of masculinity. Here, football did not serve solely as a means of generating male camaraderie but defined relationships between males and females in the classroom and took a central place in the classroom management strategies of the male teachers. The paper concludes by considering the options open to schools who wish to draw on football as a means of motivating and enthusing boys.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Skelton C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sport, Education and Society

Year: 2000

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 5-18

ISSN (print): 1357-3322

ISSN (electronic): 1470-1243

Publisher: Routledge

URL: .htp://

DOI: 10.1080/135733200114406


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