Robin Zenker

zenker robin

Education (2022 cohort)

Having explored cultures of masculinity in Eastern Europe and the UK through the experiences of gay Eastern European men who moved to the UK in my undergraduate thesis, my attention now shifts to researching cultures of masculinities and gendered hierarchies in educational settings.

Building on the theoretical frameworks of hegemonic masculinity and inclusive masculinity theory, I aspire to explore how cultures of masculinity and gender hierarchies more broadly operate in schools.

What does it mean to be a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ throughout one’s journey through the educational system and varying educational contexts? Are young boys in school under pressure to conform to rigid, unexpressive standards of masculinity? Is there a “right” way to be a boy in school and how does this affect those who don't conform to this standard? And how do LGBTQ+ students experience schools’ gendered environments?

These questions underpin and guide my research efforts and aspirations, through which I hope to contribute to the understanding of gendered cultures and hierarchies in educational environments in order to be able to conceptualise and establish practices to make educational environments more inclusive.

Prior to starting my MSc Education at the University of Oxford, I completed my BA in Education Studies at UCL’s Institute of Education in London. During my studies, I was awarded the Faculty Undergraduate Scholarship for Excellence 2021/22 for outstanding academic results. In my final year, I was then awarded the Amaan Raakin prize for the highest-achieving student in the graduating year of the BA Education Studies programme, as well as receiving a nomination for the Institute of Education Faculty Medal.

Although my research interests have gradually narrowed to focus on gendered cultures and hierarchies, all of my work and my passion for research is underpinned by a broader philosophy of social justice and education’s potential in imagining and creating a just, equal, inclusive society.