American Culture Studies Ph.D. Dissertations


Passing Masculinities at Boy Scout Camp

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Culture Studies/Popular Culture

First Advisor

Joe Austin


This study examines the folklore produced by the Boy Scout summer camp staff members at Camp Lakota during the summers of 2002 and 2003, including songs, skits, and stories performed both in front of campers as well as "behind the scenes." I argue that this particular subgroup within the Boy Scouts of America orders and passes on a particular constellation of masculinities to the younger Scouts through folklore while the staff are simultaneously attempting to pass as masculine themselves. The complexities of this situation—trying to pass on what one has not fully acquired, and thus must only pass as—result in an ordering of masculinities which includes performances of what I call taking a pass on received masculinities. The way that summer camp staff members cope with their precarious situation is by becoming tradition creators and bearers, that is, by acquiescing to their position in the hegemonizing process. It is my contention that hegemonic hetero-patriarchal masculinity is maintained by partially ordered subjects who engage in rather complex passings with various masculinities.