‘Games gone wrong’: Boys, school games and the constructions of violent masculinities
School violence has been increasingly reported by the media as one of the biggest challenges facing young people in South Africa today. Drawing from an ethnographic study which explored the ways in which boys and girls construct their gender and sexuality, this article focuses on the games boys play as an instantiation of violent masculine conduct. The main data source was transcripts of participant observations, focus groups and loose conversations with teenage boys. Framed within feminist paradigm, the article shows how boys use and deploy violent gender relations during the games they play which are masked as games. Such invisible acts of violence are not reported and continue to feature in the everyday life of school under the guise of play. The article argues for interventions that seek to understand the game cultures of schools as important sites for the making of violent masculinities and to address the hidden nature of the violence within it.
Keywords: boys, play, school, violent masculinities