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'I feel proud because I made them stop fighting': boys' affective-discursive practices of discouraging physical aggression

NCJ Number
E. M. McMain
Date Published
April 2021

This study considers the affective-discursive practices that both constrain and enable teenage boys to discourage physical fights.


Amidst essentializing discourses that circulate through educational spaces (e.g. that ‘boys will be boys’ or that boys are inherently aggressive), there is a need for more research that explores adolescent identities as complex and relational. Critical discourse analysis techniques, informed by critical affect studies and feminist poststructuralism, were applied to interviews with four young men to illuminate how dynamic ways of ‘doing boy’ are always under creation. The discussion calls for moving beyond an individualistic discourse of ‘good choices’ in response to peer aggression, instead working more collaboratively with youth to examine the affect-laden discourses and relationships that shape themselves and their societies. (Publisher Abstract)