Department of Sociology and Social Work

News item from CIW - Centre for Inclusion and Welfare

Children’s Adult Friends - A phenomenological study of arranged friendships between young boys and men. Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.

Children’s Adult Friends - A phenomenological study of arranged friendships between young boys and men

Kathrine Vitus and Nathalie Perregaard have authored a research article on man interest and masculine embodiment.

Last modified: 02.02.2022

Text: Niels Krogh Søndergaard, communications officer
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

A new article analyses friendships between 7–10-year-old boys who live with their mothers only and voluntary adults, which are arranged by a Danish volunteer organization called Children’s Adult Friends (CAF).

The article is published in the journal Boyhood Studies and written by Department of Sociology and Social Work’s Kathrine Vitus and former PhD student Nathalie Perregaard. They draw on qualitative empirical material from a two-year period of fieldwork following child–adult friendships.

- We study the ways in which the boys, mothers, and adult friends experience meaning in the friendships. The analysis contributes to the literature on adult–child friendships, particularly between boys and male nonrelative adults, and to that on masculinity and boyhood studies.

Abstract

We explore the experience and meaning of being in an arranged male adult friendship for 7–10-year-old boys from single-mother families; we look at this from the perspective of the boys, their mothers, and their adult friends.

In analyzing empirical material from a two-year fieldwork study, we draw on methodology and concepts from phenomenology. We propose that boy–adult friendships provide boys with a realization of masculine embodiment and reflect hierarchical masculinity, but that the presence of the male body is essential. We discuss how the analysis contributes to the literature on adult–child friendships, particularly between boys and male nonrelative adults, and to that on masculinity and boyhood studies, exploring boys’ embodiment from a phenomenological perspective.

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