The Road Home: Masculinity, Vulnerability, And Violence : A Narrative Study Using Music Elicitation With Men Who Had Childhood Experience Of Domestic Violence/Abuse And On-Road/Gang-Involvement

Levell, Jade (2020). The Road Home: Masculinity, Vulnerability, And Violence : A Narrative Study Using Music Elicitation With Men Who Had Childhood Experience Of Domestic Violence/Abuse And On-Road/Gang-Involvement. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0001154f

Abstract

This thesis focuses on the narratives of men who experienced domestic violence and abuse (DVA) in childhood and have been on-road and gang-involved. Narrative interviews were aided by music elicitation. Connell’s (1987, 2005) approach was used to explore the changing ways the participants’ expressed multiple and diverse masculinities. This analytic focus was supported by the application of intersectionality to focus on the impact of race, ethnicity, class on gender performance. The findings illustrated how the participants went through changing constructs of masculinity through the life-course. Initially they inhabited subordinated masculinity at home when experiencing DVA, to emerging protest masculinity on-road. At the point of recovery and desistance both marginalised masculinity and complicit masculinity were identified.

The key thematic areas that emerged in the narratives were; masculinity; vulnerability; violence. These threads interlinked throughout and resulted in new understanding of how they interact. Specifically, I expanded Connell’s notion of protest masculinity, to explore how it was implicated with a shadow-self of vulnerable masculinity. I propose that they are in a symbiotic relationship, always co-existing. Violence was ever-present in the participants’ lives, through victimisation of DVA in childhood, to agentic and instrumental use of violence when on-road and gang-involved. The changing relationship to violence both caused and reflected the changes in masculinities through the life-course. I used Anderson’s (1999) ‘code of the street’ to discuss the changing roles of violence from home to on-road. Ultimately this thesis contributes to wider knowledge around gender theory, gender performance, and gender-based-violence. It also adds to an understanding of the way in which children actively, and reflexively, experience domestic violence and abuse in childhood.

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