Boy Culture

An Encyclopedia

by Shirley R. Steinberg, Michael Kehler, and Lindsay Cornish, Editors


Boys will be boys … an insight, an explanation, and at times an excuse. But what does it really mean to be a boy today? With more boy-targeted music, television, and movies than ever, a growing national diversity, challenging family dynamics, and a variety of good and bad role models, being a North American boy is a vastly different experience than it was just a few decades ago.

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Cover image for Boy Culture

June 2010


Pages 527
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Popular Culture/General

In this two-volume set, a series of expert contributors look at what it means to be a boy growing up in North America, with entries covering everything from toys and games, friends and family, and psychological and social development.

Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia spans the breadth of the country and the full scope of a pivotal growing-up time to show what "a boy's life" is really like today. With hundreds of entries across two volumes, it offers a series of vivid snapshots of boys of all kinds and ages at home, school, and at play; interacting with family or knocking around with friends, or pursuing interests alone as they begin their journey to adulthood.

Boy Culture shows an uncanny understanding of just how exciting, confusing, and difficult the years between childhood and young adulthood can be. The toys, games, clothes, music, sports, and feelings—they are all a part of this remarkable resource. But most important is the book's focus on the things that shape boyhood identities—the rituals of masculinity among friends, the enduring conflict between fitting in and standing out, the effects of pop culture images, and the influence of role models from parents and teachers to athletes and entertainers to fictional characters.


  • 166 entries on specific aspects of boyhood life in North America today, ranging from boy-centered toys, games, and media to issues of masculinity and confusing notions of manhood
  • Expert contributors from a variety of academic and professional disciplines, providing insight into a range of issues related to the lives of North American boys
  • Bibliographic listings of works cited and further reading in print and online
  • A comprehensive index


  • Captures the essence of boyhood in North America with a carefully selected series of topics and entries spanning two volumes
  • Brings together the insights of a host of experts on a wide range of issues related to the way boys live and grow up in North America today
  • Looks closely at the products of pop consumer culture—the shows, ads, music, movies, and websites—aimed specifically at boys
  • Focuses on the ways boys develop their own notions of masculinity and manhood
  • Covers a wide variety of ethnic groups and sexual orientations
Author Info

Shirley R. Steinberg is the cofounder and director of The Paulo and Nita Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy. She currently teaches at McGill University. She is the author and editor of many books in critical pedagogy, urban and youth culture, and cultural studies. Her published works include 19 Urban Questions: Teaching in the City; Christotainment: Selling Jesus Through Popular Culture; Diversity and Multiculturalism: A Reader; Media Literacy: A Reader; the award winning Contemporary Youth Culture: An International Encyclopedia; Kinderculture: The Corporate Construction of Childhood; and The Miseducation of the West: How Schools and Media Distort Our Understanding of the Islam World. She is currently finishing two books, Writing and Publishing and The Bricolage and Qualitative Research. A regular contributor to CBC Radio One, CTV, The Toronto Globe and Mail, The Montreal Gazette, and Canadian Press, she is an internationally known speaker and teacher. She is also the founding editor of Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, and the managing editor of The International Journal of Critical Pedagogy. The organizer of The Baeza Congress, she is committed to a global community of transformative educators and community workers engaged in radical love, social justice, and the situating of power within social and cultural contexts.

Michael Kehler is associate professor at the Faculty of Education, the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. His published works include Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education and Taboo and his articles have appeared in Canadian Journal of Education. He is currently conducting a national study examining the intersections of adolescent masculinities, health, and body image.

Lindsay Cornish is a freelance editor and writer. She is the coeditor of Taboo: Essays on Culture and Education and she was the editorial assistant for Greenwood's Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia. Her research interests include gender and sexuality studies.



"Recommended for public and academic libraries that seek to develop comprehensive reference collections in gender studies."Booklist

"... Boy Culture would be a useful addition to collections supporting gender studies, masculinity studies, and sociology. ... Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers."Choice

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