Develop yourself: anxiety and performative masculinity in Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting For Boys

Greening, C. Michael (2009) Develop yourself: anxiety and performative masculinity in Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting For Boys. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Robert Baden-Powell's seminal instructional tract Scouting For Boys has been in print continuously for one century, and is cited as one of the English-speaking world's bestselling books of the twentieth century. The youth movement that Scouting For Boys has spawned is now one of the largest and recognizable of such organizations in the world. Drawing on the sociological and psychoanalytical theories in Erving Goffman's The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life and Judith Butler's Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex,' the theory of performative identity is used to outline the myriad anxieties and contradictions inherent in this text. A performative analysis of Scouting For Boys' various discursive modes-as well as close readings of its key illustrations-allow for an understanding of the ways in which this text seeks to indoctrinate youth while simultaneously immunizing them from unwholesome outside influences. This thesis illustrates that Scouting For Boys' success depends on performativity, even while denying performativity's possibilities, and that the text itself is a crystallized example of the ways in which performance theories work.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8792
Item ID: 8792
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 90-93)
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 2009
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Baden-Powell of Gilwell, Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, Baron, 1857-1941; Boy Scouts in art; Children's literature, English--Themes, motives; Gender identity in literature; Masculinity in literature; Scouting (Youth activity)--Psychological aspects

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