Laddism and Higher Education

This presentation reports on a research project, funded by the National Union of Students, which sought to explore women students’ experiences of ‘lad culture’ in educational, social and personal spheres. The project consisted of two parts: (1) a thematic literature review covering areas such as gender and education, cultural studies and policy sociology; and (2) in-depth qualitative research using focus groups and semi-structured interviews with a sample of 40 women students, focusing on their experiences of teaching and learning, extra-curricular activities, social life, and sex and relationships. The findings of this research show that although ‘laddism’ is only one of a variety of potential masculinities, there exists at least a significant minority of women students who find ‘lad cultures’ problematic, citing issues such as misogynist ‘banter’, objectification of women and sexual pressure and harassment. This presentation explores some of the key themes to have emerged from the report, including the evolution of ‘laddism’ and its existence as a behaviour; the connection between night economies and the propagation of ‘lad culture’; intersections between gender, race, (dis)ability, sexuality and ‘lad culture’, and more. It will conclude by looking ahead to further research possibilities and actions around the impact of ‘lad culture’ in higher education and more broadly.




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