Bullying and the construction of homophobic masculinity in school

Case Studies & Research
58 p.
Title other languages
Matoneo y construcción de la masculinidad homofóbica en la escuela
Bullying e a construção de la masculinidade homofóbica na escola
Periodical title
Sexualidades, No. 6

Drawing on hermeneutic qualitative research, this article presents the findings of a project on "homoerotic narratives and identity politics," which focuses on the complex social dynamics among peers underlying secondary processes of socialization in schools. It offers a reconstruction and interpretation of bullying: a peer-to-peer social dynamic operating within a hierarchical and status-oriented social system, based on major and minor adjustment to "standards of masculinity." This dynamic includes various forms of confrontation and resistance and involves the behavioral profiles of both the stigmatized and bullies. This dynamic seems highly functional for the reproduction of a modern (compulsive and infantile) model of masculinity, which appears to be no longer adjusted to a new cultural order oriented toward gender equality, “pure relations” (understood, following Giddens, as couples based less on the satisfaction of practical needs), and the proliferation of other identity narratives. The dynamic also legitimizes and reproduces explanations of homosexuality of early modern psychiatry as well as contemporary homophobia, understood as a culturally learned negative reaction to dissident identitarian narratives and homoerotic relationships. This research project posits the existence of a critical period of bullying affecting masculine psychosexual development in schools and offers criteria for interventions to address homophobia in a school culture.

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