Arrested emotional development: male college students' experiences with a campus judicial process
Men are often criticized for not knowing or expressing their feelings. Consequences of this lack of emotional awareness and expression for men include loneliness, isolation, alienation, physical illness, aggression and violence. Having an awareness of and the ability to express and manage emotions has been purported to be a foundational developmental tasks for young adult males.;This inquiry focused on men's emotional experience as a part of a campus judicial process. The conceptual framework guiding this qualitative inquiry included critical postmodernism and feminist theory, which were weaved into a praxis-oriented methodology that included a dialectical process of emancipatory theory building (Lather, 1991) with the seven male participants. Prior to engaging with participants, I completed content analyses of several institutional documents and national resources related to judicial affairs, which provided both historical and contextual dimensions for the subsequent interviewing process, and provided insight into and the ability to draw conclusions regarding whether the structures, functions, and common assumptions underlying judicial processes influenced the emotional experience of college men participating in these processes.;It was evident during my interactions with the participants in this study that they were experiencing the effects of hegemonic masculinity. The gender border existing for these men reinforced their restricted emotionality, as did the judicial processes they experienced. It was also evident that the judicial standards, philosophies and principles outlined in the documents examined espoused the significance of a developmental judicial process, but failed to provide strategies to accomplish this mission. Further complicating the judicial venue is the legalistic nature of judicial process, which lends a perception of a process that is adversarial at heart.;The results of the study suggested the importance of an examination of the current judicial standards, philosophies, and structures. We must recognize the power relations we have created through the current practices and reframe our vision of judicial affairs to be more conducive to student development and learning. Particularly for college men, the influences of hegemonic masculinity, gender role conflict, and restricted emotionality must be recognized, and judicial practices must be designed to challenge these existing difficulties for college men.