Boys will be boys

re-inhabiting the homosocial sphere of Take That


  • David Sanjek formerly University of Salford



homoromance paradigm, homosocial unit, narrative, repetition, reunion


With the expectations of Take That’s fans in mind, as well as those of the band itself, this essay explores the idea of reunion in terms of repetition, change, and evolution. Focusing on temporality and temperament, it explores the role our attachments to culture play in our efforts to make sense of our experiences. The paper examines these issues with reference to three potentially illuminating investigations: first, the consideration of the depiction of homosocial communities in literature pursued by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; second, the distinctions made by Bruce Kawin regarding productive and counterproductive uses of time; and third, Frank Kermode’s examination of end-determined fictions and their influence upon how we construct narratives of human behaviour. Editor’s note: David Sanjek, Professor of Popular Music at the University of Salford, died suddenly on 29 November 2011. He had given the opening address at the conference from which the papers constituting this issue were given. After his death only an unfinished version of his talk was found among his papers. However, because of the circumstances, we have decided to include this version here, lightly edited.

Author Biography

David Sanjek, formerly University of Salford

David Sanjek (3 September 1952 - 29 November 2011) was a Professor of Popular Music and Director of the University of Salford Music Research Centre in Salford, Greater Manchester, UK.


Dennis, Jeffery P. 2007. We Boys Together: Teenagers in Love Before Girl-Craziness. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Kawin, Bruce F. 1989. Telling it Again and Again: Repetition in Literature and Film. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado Press.

Kermode, Frank. 2000. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. 2008. Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Vernon, Polly. 2008. ‘Hats Off!’ The Guardian Music Monthly 63: 40–43, 45, 47. November.



How to Cite

Sanjek, D. (2013). Boys will be boys: re-inhabiting the homosocial sphere of Take That. Popular Music History, 7(2), 121–126.