'Intersections' of Masculinity and Ethnicity: A study of male Lebanese immigrant youth in western Sydney

Scott Poynting, Greg Noble, Paul Tabar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on an ethnographic study of teenage male secondary school students of Arabic-speaking background in a working-class suburb of Sydney. Interviews with friendship groups of migrant young men explored their identity formation in terms of ethnicity and masculinity. Their 'intersections' of masculinity and ethnicity, along with class relations, exhibit 'contradictory consciousness' characteristic of the 'common sense' of the socially subordinated. Forms of ideological 'inversion' provide ideational 'resolutions ', in various contexts, of contradictions experienced in the lives of the youths. They deploy forms of 'protest masculinity' against injuries of racism, at school and in public spaces. The article examines the relationships of the young men with other groups of male teenagers, as well as with parents and teachers, showing how their masculinities are constructed within social relations of ethnicity and the experience of racism, and conversely how their ethnic identities are powerfully shaped by masculinity. Public, press, political and professional concern about 'boys' education' has tended to overlook or to deal very superficially with complications of ethnicity and racism. Meanwhile, moral panic in the media about 'ethnic gangs' exacerbates stereotyping of immigrant young men, including in educational 'common sense'. It is argued here that 'boys' education' interventions need to be theoretically informed, to grasp the ways in which masculinity is enacted within and incorporating social relations of ethnicity, and how specific forms of 'protest masculinity' are being actively constructed in response to ethnocentrism in and around schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-77
Number of pages19
JournalRace Ethnicity and Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 1999


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