How do we defeat the ‘dark side’? Analysing a call to tackle lad culture at a UK university

Owen, Craig (2020) How do we defeat the ‘dark side’? Analysing a call to tackle lad culture at a UK university. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (3). pp. 653-669. ISSN 1469-3518

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Extensive feminist critique of lad culture has raised serious concerns about its role in the sexualisation and objectification of women; its association with ‘pack-like’ boisterous behaviour and pressured heavy drinking of alcohol; and its use of banter, irony and infantile humour to provide a protective shield for sexist and homophobic practices. These concerns have culminated in the National Union of Students calling for lad culture to be tackled on university campuses in the UK. This paper analyses how the call to tackle lad culture was represented in a student newspaper and made sense of by groups of male students at one university in Southern England. The findings identify three interpretative repertoires, one aligned with feminist critiques, with lad culture constructed as a series of harmful and unacceptable social practices; the other two, critical of feminist-aligned critiques, deployed rhetorical strategies to distinguish a ‘light’ side of lad culture from a ‘dark’ side, and disavow the ‘dark’ side by claiming it was performed by individual ‘bad people’. This paper recommends future campaigns address these multiple repertoires together in one, non-judgemental debate space. This will include the acknowledgement of broader definitions of lad culture, and the facilitation of ongoing student debate about the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides of lad culture, and the ‘grey areas’ in-between.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: lad culture, higher education, feminism, interpretative repertoires
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2020 10:44
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 10:04

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