DFG Project “Caring boys? Alternative research perspectives on the social crisis of reproduction” Expand entry

Duration: 01.02.2019 - 31.01.2022
Director: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz
Project co-workers: Nadine Nebyie Baser, Kevin Leja, Iris Schwarzenbacher

The crisis of social reproduction identified by sociologists forms the starting point of this project. In public discourse this crisis is addressed primarily as a problem that affects women, such as the dilemmas faced by working women when trying to reconcile work and family life or the issue of childlessness among female academics. In the academic context, too, the topics of care and care work are associated primarily with the female gender, whereas the role of the male gender in the crisis of reproduction generally remains underexamined.

The project “Caring boys?” therefore addresses issues of masculinity and care (of others and of oneself). It explores the ideas of male youngsters about care for self and others, as it is during the adolescent phase that responsibility for others, i.e. a generative perspective, is substantially developed and opportunities for changes in gender relations arise. Sociological studies in masculinity describe boys above all as being prepared to take risks and as being drawn toward competitiveness. They appear to show no care for themselves or others. It is possible, nonetheless, to formulate the hypothesis that contemporary images of masculinity lead to a situation in which other, contrasting modes and practices of masculinity are not represented or debated, i.e. that boys and men do not mention care of self and others to other people, even if these are an important factor in their own lives.

The research project focuses on the perspective of boys and uses qualitative methods to examine ways of speaking about experiences of care of self and others. In doing so it draws upon knowledge from youth work by incorporating relevant pedagogical ideas into the methodological setting. The project pursues two goals: first, that of expanding the state of academic knowledge about the care enacted by boys and, second, that of developing theoretical concepts of care, generativity and masculinity in relation to youth as a life phase. This is connected to the question of how care can be integrated into constructions of masculinity over the long term. In this way the project contributes toward society’s efforts to deal with the crisis in social reproduction.


Project-related publications

Ruby, Sophie/ Scholz, Sylk [pdf, 207 kb] dea (2018): Care, Care Work and the Struggle for a Careful World from the Perspective of the Sociology of Masculinities.  [pdf, 207 kb] deIn: Aulenbacher, Brigitte/ Gutiérrez-Rodríguez/ Liebig, Brigitte (Hrsg.): Care and Care Work. Special Issue of Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie ÖZS, Jg. 43, H. 1, S.73-83 [pdf, 207 kb] de [PDF, 207 KB] [pdf, 207 kb] de

Male youths’ choices of study course and profession in the domain of caring occupations. Project within the BMFSFJ funded collaborative project “Boys and Education”: Expand entry

Duration: 01.11.2018 - 30.09.2021
Direction: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz
Project co-worker: Dr. Kevin Stützel

The project looks at how boys’ and young men’s choices of study and profession develop biographically. The data base consists of twenty guided interviews with young men who are already training or on a course of study in Social Work, Health and Nursing Care, Child Development and Education. The project involves reconstructing how the boys’ choices came about and how their decision relates to any previous experience with care activities in their social environment. In addition, the way the boys engage with the gender-related demands of their training or course of study in a caring profession is analysed. The young men surveyed are engaged in training or study at institutions in four regions of Germany that are either urban or rural and are in either the eastern or western German states. With regard to the training and study courses themselves, caring professions are chosen which display a comparatively high or comparatively low proportion of male practitioners.


Property inequality in the private sphere: On the institutional and cultural (re-)structuring of ownership arrangements of couples Expand entry

Duration: 01.01.2021 bis 31.12.2024
Direction: Prof. Dr. Sylka Scholz, Prof. Dr. Kathrin Leuze
Project co-worker: Agnieszka Althaber, Aaron Korn, Ramona Künzel, Dr. Robin K. Saalfeld

The subject of the study is the structural change of and through ownership in cohabiting couples. It explores both the distribution of property among domestic partners and the practices and patterns of interpretation which domestic partners establish in order to facilitate or restrict control over said property. That process of doing property results in individual ownership arrangements that are unique to each couple and reproduce, potentially transform, the hegemonic property and gender structure.

Using a mixed-method study, the project aims to analyse the structural transformation of ownership arrangements empirically. In doing so, it systematically interlinks the micro and macro approaches to ownership as a category of gender studies.