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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Bailey W. Jackson, III

Second Advisor

Joya Misra

Third Advisor

Martha Stassen

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

Abstract

Peer groups are one of those critical social organizations within our cycles of socialization that assist in regulating culturally acceptable practices of masculinity (Connell, 2005; Gilbert & Gilbert, 1998; Mac an Ghaill, 1994). Men's peer groups are viewed as primary social commitments that should not be broken and maintained through performances of masculinity that are influenced by gendered expectations (Migliaccio, 2009). Unfortunately, the regulation that comes with joining such groups often requires collective and individual oppressive practices that result in some men policing other men's attitudes and behaviors (Flood, 2007).

As a response to Harris and Barone's (2011) call for next steps in developing programs and services for men, this study introduces Phallacies, a peer theater dialogue program for traditional-aged college men, a program that challenges male-identified participants to think critically of how they and collegiate male peers outside of this space limit their self-definition and expression of masculinity. Using an action research methodology, I assess my own practice to 1) identify areas of improvement for the program and 2) determine how this all-male space encourages men to think about gender and helps to combat some "men's adherence to unproductive masculine conceptions such as sexism, homophobia, violence and anti-intellectualism which are often requisites for their access to male peer groups" (Harper & Harris, 2010, p. 70).

Findings from this study confirm the existing research that suggests the powerful influence of peer groups in the constructing hegemonic masculinity attitudes and behaviors on a college campus needs to be challenge by dialogic facilitated peer group spaces. The end result is that Phallacies empowers young men to challenge the hegemonic masculinity discourse at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, by re-constructing a sense of gender identity that is their own through dialogue, interactive activities, reflective writing, and becoming change agents through their role as peer theater educators.

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