The intersection of youth masculinities, decreasing homophobia and class: An ethnography

Mark Mccormack*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the emergence of progressive attitudes toward homosexuality among working-class boys in a sixth form in the south of England to develop an intersectional analysis of class, youth masculinities and decreasing homophobia. Drawing on three months of ethnographic data collection, I find that working-class male youth intellectualize pro-gay attitudes and that homophobic language is almost entirely absent from the setting. I document the presence of homosocial tactility, as well as the valuing of friendship and emotional closeness. However, these behaviours are less pronounced than documented among middle-class boys, and I use these findings to advance understanding of how class influences the development of inclusive attitudes and behaviours. Inclusive masculinity theory is used to understand these findings, refining the theory and extending it to a new demographic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-149
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2014


  • Class
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homophobia
  • Intersectionality
  • Masculinity
  • Youth


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