Continuity, change and complexity in the performance of masculinity among elite young footballers in England

Steven Roberts, Eric Anderson, Rory Magrath

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Following recent research evidencing that young men are redefining the essential components of what it is to be a man, this paper draws on qualitative interviews with 22 elite-level, English Premier League academy level football (soccer) players to investigate their performances and understandings of masculinity in relation to decreasing homohysteria. Even in this gender-segregated, near-total institution, these working-class, non-educationally aspiring adolescents evidence an attenuated performance of ‘maleness’ and improved attitudinal disposition toward homosexuality. Congruent with insights developed by inclusive masculinity scholars, respondents maintained emotional closeness and physical tactility with male teammates and friends. These more inclusive attitudes and homosocial behaviours were, however, slightly more conservative than in other recentre search. We close by explaining this variation with reference to theoretical apparatus’ provided by Goffman and Bourdieu to advance theoretical debates about social class and masculinities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-357
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • ‘Masculinities’
  • ‘social change’
  • ‘inclusive masculinity’
  • ‘working class’
  • ‘football’

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