University of Limerick
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Definition and characteristic features of a ‘cultural flashpoint’: a case study of Exploring Masculinities, a controversial gender and education programme in Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 07:36 authored by Joan Hanafin, PAUL CONWAYPAUL CONWAY, Cormac O Beaglaoich, Jack Hanafin, Máirtín Mac an Ghaill

The concept ‘cultural flashpoint’ (CF) has not been fully defined or  described. The authors test this concept through the prism of  a controversial gender-focused Irish school programme, Exploring  Masculinities (EM). Adopting an instrumental case study methodology, they use media content analysis to develop a temporal trajectory of the CF, describe its shape, explicit and implied contentious  themes, and its process. They identify characteristic features of  a cultural flashpoint: (i) a focal issue, event and/or object; (ii) conflict; (iii) bounded time period; (iv) the involvement of exo- and  multi-sectoral individuals and groups; (v) randomness, opaqueness  and conflation among its expressions; and (vi) broadly cultural and  not confined to its sector of origin. They offer a definition of a CF  and suggest it as a conceptual device for identifying, analysing and  understanding contestation about educational (and other) change  occurring in the context of wider and more long-standing cultural,  social and political movements. 



Cambridge Journal of Education


Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

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NCCA Ireland

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  • School of Education

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